The Lindisfarne Inn, Beal

THE Lindisfarne Inn opened next to the A1 at Beal in May in what was formally The Plough Hotel.

I had been past a few times when it was being refurbished and recently when the revamp was complete so I was keen to see what they had made of it.

My auntie and uncle had already visited and were full of praise so my mum, dad and I decided to make a detour on a trip to visit family in Berwick.

And what a transformation.

We had all been to The Plough and what greeted us in the Lindisfarne bore no resemblance to what had been there before.

It was light, airy and extremely modern and bustling with couples and families.

The website says it has been developed with a "substantial spend" and they've certainly made a good job of it. There's also a bar, restaurant and 21 en-suite bedrooms.

We arrived at 12.30pm, keen to get there before the hordes came off Holy Island before the end of the safe crossing time at 1.20pm.

There were a couple of spare tables so we were in luck. But by the time we were finishing our meal the place was packed with people waiting for tables.

As it was a Sunday, the Sunday lunch menu was being served.

The starters were cream of onion soup, 3.95; tempura king prawns, 6.45; Caesar salad starter, 4.95 (main course, 8.95); Greenland prawn cocktail, 4.95; black pudding and crisp bacon, 4.65; and sauteed garlic mushrooms, 4.95.

The main courses featured traditional favourites: Roast topside of beef; roasted rare-breed pork loin served with crackling and roast chicken breast served with sage and onion stuffing, all with seasonal vegetables, rich pan gravy and Yorkshire pudding, each at 7.95.

Other dishes were 21-day hung rump steak (10oz) served with grilled tomato, chips and salad; steamed salmon steak served on a bed of Mediterranean vegetables, both 10.95, and the vegetarian option of oven-roasted Mediterranean vegetables served with garlic bread, 7.95.

We didn't want a starter so my dad and I chose the roast beef and my mum the pork. There was also a Sunday version of the sandwich menu from which to choose – including roast beef and pork, crab and cucumber or ham and cheese.

There is a Wetherspoons-style system of ordering food at the counter and the table numbers are written on a wooden spoon in a bucket on the table with cutlery.

I had just returned to the table with the drinks – but not yet sat down – when our main courses arrived – talk about fast service! On each plate we got three thick slices of meat with roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

The vegetables, especially the roast potatoes, were delicious and the meat was nice-tasting, although a little thick for my liking.

We took up the offer of extra gravy – a nice touch – and apple sauce for the pork – an added bonus as it wasn't mentioned on the menu and my mum said it was lovely. Horseradish sauce was available in sachets on the table.

Clean plates all round and we decided to look at the sweet menu.

The waitress brought over the little blackboard which detailed black cherry cheesecake with coulis; French apple tart with creme fraiche; cranachan filled with raspberries, all 4.45, and rhubarb crumble with custard, 4.75.

Two scoops of ice-cream in the range of flavours would set you back 2.65, three scoops 3.95.

I'm sure it would have suited other people but my mum and I were disappointed with what was on offer and they were a little bit more pricey than some places.

There wasn't a lot of choice or anything that jumped out. My mum declined and I chose the apple tart and asked for ice cream rather than creme fraiche and my dad the rhubarb crumble and custard.

My tart tasted nice and had plenty of apples but it could have been bigger. It was dwarfed by the enormous plate on which it was served. The rhubarb crumble went down very well.

We had to wait a lot longer for our sweets, a far cry from the earlier service.

Children can get half portions of the roast lunches for 4.95 or choose something from the kids' menu of fish fingers; Northumbrian sausage; chicken goujons; tomato and mozzarella pizza; or ploughman's lunch, all 3.95.

During the week, on Saturdays and later on a Sunday, dishes include gammon steak, 9.95, home-made steak and stout pie, 7.95, home-baked beef lasagne, 8.95, and chicken tikka massala, 8.95.

The website says the chef sources fresh local produce, which is good.

With a pint of lager shandy, a J20 and a Coke the bill came to 38.90.

The Lindisfarne Inn is an ideal place to enjoy Sunday lunch and is great news for those travelling up and down the A1 – it should do very well out of its location.

Its slogan is A Perfect Inn in a Perfect Place – I would go along with that but would request a better choice of puds!