Valley views to die for but food fails to compete

Three Wheat Heads, Thropton. Easting Out.

Three Wheat Heads, Thropton. Easting Out.

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With views across the Coquet Valley, no one could say that the Three Wheat Heads isn’t in a fantastic location.

But it is a pity that the beautiful views aren’t matched by its food.

Three Wheat Heads, Thropton. Easting Out.

Three Wheat Heads, Thropton. Easting Out.

I’ve been to the pub a number of times and know that it has recently changed ownership. After hearing good things, I thought it was worth a try, but I have to say I left a little disappointed.

We’d booked, as I thought it might be busy on a Saturday night, and I wasn’t wrong.

But not long after being seated we found we were sharing our table ... with an insect.

A woodlouse, dead I presumed, was joining us for the night. Sat proudly, in full view on a paper napkin that was tucked into a wine glass, it spooked me a little and certainly put me off a bit.

After twice being visited at the table by waiters, I had to point it out before it was removed and a clean glass brought along - needless to say it didn’t fill me with confidence for the rest of the evening.

The Three Wheat Heads is quite a large pub with a restaurant section, as well as a separate lounge bar for those who just want a drink.

The restaurant is decorated in light and airy colours, with chunky dark wood furniture, but a carpet which has clearly seen better days.

However, the views across the beer garden are sublime.

Having worked up an apetite for a nice meal out – one of our last before becoming a family – we were looking forward to having something that tickled the tastebuds.

And it would be fair to say that the Three Wheat Heads offers a lot of choice in that department.

In fact I was a little bamboozled about the number of dishes on offer.

On one piece of paper was a selection of ‘specials’ starters and mains, which was followed by another laminated selection with the same, as well as a fish menu and vegetarian choices, and a bar menu.

It seemed as though there wasn’t any real theme to the menu. It wasn’t just pub grub, there were Greek and Cypriot dishes alongside Chinese and Moroccan, as well as the usual grills.

After finally wading through the vast selection, I plumped for the spare ribs Peking style (£5.50) from the specials menu, followed by the Barbary duck in cherry and Grand Marnier sauce with sauteed new potatoes (£13.50).

Both were nice but not the best I have ever had.

The ribs, one of my favourite things, were nice and saucy and there was a good portion, but the sauce was incredibly salty. And, as they are supposed to be eaten with fingers, and are notoriously messy, it would have been good to include a wet-wipe.

The duck, another of my favourite things, was okay. I was pleased to be asked how I wanted it cooked, however, I asked for medium, but to me it was a little overdone.

The sauce was a bit bland but still added something to the dish.

My husband went for the black pudding magic (£5.25) followed by steak and ale pie with winter vegetables (£9.95).

His starter was black pudding with bacon and a poached egg on top surrounded by what he described as a ‘mass’ of salad.

His pie looked good, although the actual pie part was hidden under the meat. The winter vegetables were non-existent – it came with thick chips.

Both mains were accompanied by a small dish of carrots, peas, cauliflower and green beans, and again they were all a bit overdone.

We managed to fit in a pudding and while there was a good choice it didn’t overwhelm me like the other menus. All were priced at £4.75 and I opted for the Greek galakatobureko, filo pastry wrapped around a creme brulee filling and covered with honey. It was probably the best part of the meal and the ice-cream it came with was delicious.

My husband’s chocolate fudge cake came with cream and ice cream, and although presentation wasn’t great the taste apparently was.

We both agreed that the sweets were the best part of the meal.

The real ale was also a hit with the other half - served at £3.30 a pint.

The pub has a lot of potential but it seems like they are trying a little bit too hard.

Having an insect on a table is a no-no and while they were apologetic it shouldn’t have been there.

All-in-all a nice place, but the food could be better.