MEAL REVIEW: The Market Tavern, Fenkle Street, Alnwick
A family celebration led to us trying out a venue I have wanted to go to for ages – and it didn’t disappoint.
The Market Tavern has changed hands a few times over the years, but it’s current steakhouse restaurant has a good reputation in the area and, as a steak lover, I wanted to see if the rumours were true.
And I can confirm they are.
Eating as a family, with two young children in tow, is no mean feat, especially on a Friday night, but the Tavern was the perfect choice.
The restaurant is located at the back of the venue up a small staircase, although there are tables by the bar as well.
There is a lovely cosy pub feel about the bar area, while the restaurant is decked out with chunky wooden tables and chairs, as well as leather booths and adds something a bit extra to the dining experience.
Judging by the number of diners when we were in, it is definitely a popular choice.
We arrived at 6.30pm and were the first party to be seated, but half-an-hour later, nearly all the tables were full – so booking ahead, as we did, is definitely advised.
Drinks orders were taken and we spent some time perusing the menu.
As we were celebrating, we decided to go the whole hog and ordered starters.
Mr M went for the loaded mushroom, which was topped with goat’s cheese and cranberry (£5.50), while myself, the children and my mother-in-law decided to share the friends platter (£12.50), which was a selection of fish goujons, pork belly and sausage tasties, prawns, chicken wings, bread and dips.
Service was fantastic and the dishes were delivered swiftly, presented well and tasted delicious.
The platter was perfect for sharing with a few people and even the kids enjoyed trying the different bits.
The mushroom also went down well – it was cooked well, but not overdone, and loaded with cheese and sauce.
And then it was on to the mains.
Famed for its steak, I opted for the surf and turf, a rib-eye steak with buttery prawns (£24.90), Mr M went for a rump steak (£17.80) and our guest opted for the Geordie chop (£17.50).
Children’s meals were all £5.50, which included an ice-cream for pudding and our two went for mac and cheese and homemade fish goujons with mash and peas.
Our mains were delivered after just the right amount of time to let the starters settle, and we were very impressed.
The table fell silent as the food was consumed.
My steak was perfectly cooked, I asked for rare, something I can never achieve myself, and it was just beautiful. The meat melted in the mouth and the prawns were fried in a garlicky butter, which complemented the dish.
Mr M was also impressed with his steak and we both commented on the chips – I’m not a fan of skinny fries normally, but these were delicious.
My only qualm is with the salad. Nice enough, but looked like it was straight out of a bag and dumped on the plate which let the meal down in terms of presentation.
The Geordie chop, a double lamb chop, was devoured and cooked beautifully and the children were also happy with their food. It was nice to see homemade fish fingers rather than those out of the freezer, which is often the case at many places.
After a short break, and another glass of wine for me, we figured it would be rude not to have a pudding.
The children were given the choice of vanilla, strawberry or chocolate ice-cream, while I decided to have one of my favourites, banoffee pie with cream, Mr M went for the same and his mother chose the chocolate fudge cake with custard (all £4.95)
The banoffee pie was delicious. A thick biscuity base was topped with a rich caramel sauce and fresh bananas with a thick layer of cream on top.
The chocolate cake was rich and gooey and came with a huge pail of custard.
The service was second to none and the staff were brilliant with children, which was nice to see.
It is pricey, but worth it, and the steak is formidable!
BEDS AS WELL AS GOOD STEAKS
The Market Tavern and Steakhouse isn’t just a pub in the town centre.
It also doubles up as a handy lodge for visitors to the area.
There are six bedrooms, five are en-suite, on the first and second floors of the building. The pub is also dog friendly, and we saw at least two when we were there. Dogs are allowed in the bedrooms as well as in the bar. And it is, of course, child friendly.
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Steak is its speciality, but there are numerous options to suit all diets, budgets and requirements. Sunday lunches are served every week with a choice of meats on offer.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
King prawn cocktail......£7
Craster kipper pâté......£5.50
Loaded pimento (vegan)......£6.50/£12
Steakhouse homemade soup......£4.50
Tavern baked ham and eggs......£10.80
Fish & chips feast......£11.90
Tavern burger platter......£11.90
Pan-fried seabass fillets......£16.50
Fresh wild mushroom pasta......£11.95
Northumbrian ultimate shepherd’s pie......£12.90
10oz rib eye......£19.90
The one kilo T-bone......£55
Farm mixed grill......£17
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Quality of food......8½
Value for money......8
Access for disabled......9
Toilet for disabled......Yes
Verdict: Beautiful steak, fantastic service and great with children.
Contact: 01665 602759 or visit http://www.thetavernalnwick.co.uk