Northumberland gastropub reopens

St Mary's Inn, at Stannington, has reopened. Picture by Peter Atkinson
St Mary's Inn, at Stannington, has reopened. Picture by Peter Atkinson

A Northumberland inn has reopened with the aim of becoming a destination gastropub, as well as a friendly local.

St Mary’s Inn, at Stannington, near Morpeth, a conversion of former administration offices of an Edwardian hospital, closed for a year in 2017 to allow work on the surrounding housing development to be completed.

Now, the independently-owned pub with guest bedrooms has a new team, which is striving to make St Mary’s a place worth driving to.

The pub’s new head chef Chris Cheek, 30, has worked in fine-dining restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Northcote Manor in Lancashire and the two-AA-rosette Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle.

He aims to offer more creative dishes as well as much-loved pub staples.

“A gammon steak might come with a pineapple salsa and a poached egg, for example,” he said, adding: “But it will still be honest, good-value food. Above all, I’ll be focussing on flavour.”

Chris and his team will source locally as much as possible with many of the herbs coming from the pub’s own garden.

Running the show out front as general manager is 41-year-old Robin Freer, who comes with a wealth of experience and, in his own words, knows how to keep a good beer.

While offering food and bedrooms, St Mary’s sees itself as a community pub, with a weekly quiz night, regular live music and even its own cycling club.

For more information about St Mary’s, including menu details and bed and breakfast options, visit stmarysinn.co.uk