MEAL REVIEW: The Fleece Inn, Bondgate Without, Alnwick

Turnbull's Cumberland ring at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.
Turnbull's Cumberland ring at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

With the Sunday night feeling of going back to work after a long Bank Holiday weekend, a hearty meal out was just the ticket to ease the pain.

The Fleece Inn looks like a traditional pub from the outside and when you go in, that’s exactly what you get.

Homemade lasagne at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

Homemade lasagne at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

The pub itself is split up into two main areas.

The section to the right of the bar, where we sat for our meals, is bigger, has a roaring log fire and appeared to be the main dining area, while the smaller area on the left was more of a drinking area with a TV screen.

The Fleece looks just like my idea of a traditional pub.

The tables are nicely spaced out with sofa-style bench seating and the log fire makes it feel quite homely - although with the sunshine outside it made it rather warm.

Vegetable and lentil soup at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

Vegetable and lentil soup at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

Arriving just after noon the pub was quite quiet and we did wonder if it was the right choice or not.

However, it soon got very busy and the friendly and welcoming barmaid said it had been chaotic all weekend – which is good news for the town and businesses.

We took a seat near the bar and then realised that the menu was up on a big blackboard, while the starters and specials were on boards at the bar.

As it was just lunchtime (and I had seen the dessert menu) we decided not to go for starters and went straight for the mains.

Homemade apple crumble at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

Homemade apple crumble at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

But the small selection looked enticing as it was being delivered to other diners, with substantial portions.

The choice was from soup of the day (vegetable and lentil) at £3.95, prawn cocktail (£5.25), potato wedges (£4.95) and the combo platter of chicken wings, spiral fries, wedges and more (£7.50).

Having perused the main and specials menu, I opted for the homemade lasagne with chips and salad (£7.95), while Mr M chose the Turnbull’s Cumberland ring with chips and vegetables (£8.45).

With the little one in tow, we asked for a small soup and roll for her (£3.95), however they do have a number of children’s meals available.

Millionaire's chocolate crunch at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

Millionaire's chocolate crunch at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

Other options were roast of the day (£7.25), wholetail scampi (£8.95) or battered cod (£7.95), all with vegetables and either chips or potatoes.

You could also have a hot stottie with chips and gravy, with a choice of beef, lamb, chicken or pork (£6.95), a variety of salads (from £7.95), soup and a sandwich (£5.95) and sweet-and-sour chicken with chips and rice (£7.95), to name just a few.

There were very few vegetarian options on the list, apart from salads, sandwiches and jacket potatoes with various fillings (£5.25).

After not too long a wait, but long enough to know they hadn’t just been pinged in a microwave, the meals arrived and I was pleasantly surprised.

My lasagne was delicious. There was just the right amount of creamy, cheesy topping to meaty filling. The chips were good and the salad plentiful - with one of the best coleslaws I have ever tasted.

The quietness opposite confirmed that the Cumberland sausage was going down well. It came with a lake of gravy, and nicely-cooked cabbage, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

Children's ice cream at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

Children's ice cream at the Fleece Inn, Alnwick.

And the little one enjoyed her soup which was served with a nice, warm roll, perfect for little hands to dunk.

My only criticism is that they need bigger plates as they piled so much on.

After a short break, to let our meals go down, we decided to go for desserts.

The main dessert menu had three options – sticky toffee pudding, syrup sponge or hot chocolate fudge cake, all at £3.95.

The specials caught our eyes and I went for the millionaire’s chocolate crunch with cream, while my husband chose the homemade apple pie and ice-cream.

Not wanting to leave out our daughter, she had a single scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Again the plates could have been bigger for the amount of food being served, but the puddings were brilliant.

Mine was like a cheesecake with a brownie-like base, chocolate filling and a crunchy caramel topping. It was served with a lake of cream that almost spilled off the plate. It was rich and creamy and really hit the spot.

The apple pie was thick with a nice chunky apple filling and a thick pastry case and two scoops of proper vanilla ice-cream.

All in all, a good pub lunch, reasonably priced with good traditional grub.

MORE THAN JUST A PUB FOR FOOD AND DRINKS

The Fleece might seem unassuming but it is a good all-rounder, and the staff were very happy and friendly towards children, which is always a bonus.

One of the only annoyances is that it doesn’t accept credit or debit cards, but cash points are not far away.

While it serves food all day, until around 7pm, the pub then turns into a popular drinking establishment.

Numerous music acts perform there at weekends and it also hosts karaoke on a Friday night as well as a quiz night on Sundays.

SELECTION FROM THE MENU

STARTERS

Soup of the day......£3.95

Prawn cocktail......£5.25

Potato wedges......£4.95

MAINS

Lamb shank in minted gravy......£9.95

Mince and dumplings w/mash......£7.95

¼lb beefburger w/chips......£6.95

Chicken curry w/rice and chips......£7.95

Sausage, chips and beans......£6.95

specials

Homemade steak pie......£8.95

Gammon steak, egg and chips......£8.95

kids’ menu (All at £4.95)

Roast of the day; chicken nuggets, cheese and tomato pizza, sausage; burger in a bun; sweet-and-sour chicken; chicken curry; mini stottie

Desserts (All at £3.95)

Sticky toffee pudding; syrup sponge; hot chocolate fudge cake.

STAR RATINGS (out of 10)

Quality of food......7

Choice......8

Vegetarian choice......2

Value for money......7½

Atmosphere......7

Use of local food......7½

Service......7½

Children catered for......8

Access for disabled (no disabled toilets and steps up to the inside)......4

Overall score......7½

Verdict: Good pub grub in nice surroundings.

Contact: Call 01665 603036 or visit www.fleecealnwick.co.uk

The Fleece Inn, Alnwick

The Fleece Inn, Alnwick