A rainy Sunday called for a trip out for lunch. And having dropped one child off with grandparents for a couple of days, we needed somewhere that could help us entertain our two-and-a-half-year-old.
We have visited the Old Ash Dene once before and knew it was very family friendly and cheap.
The pub is part of the Generous George chain and is situated at the entrance to Wansbeck Business Park, just on the outskirts of Ashington town centre.
There is a huge bar in the centre of the room, as well as a pool-table area at one end, with TV screens dotted around. At the other end, there is an indoor children’s play area with interactive screens and toys. There is even a large booth with its own TV for families to use.
Outside, there is a beer garden at the front while around the side is a big seating area as well as another play area.
Like I said, it’s definitely family and child friendly.
A lot of eateries have a limited menu on Sundays, with roasts the norm.
The Old Ash Dene has a dedicated Sunday menu but the rest of their extensive offerings are also available – which is a refreshing change.
And there is a huge choice – from burgers to pizzas, pub favourites, smokehouse and frills, salads, sandwiches and more – it’s a very good option if you have lots of diners with different palates!
Children are well catered for on the menu, as you would expect. There are two menus for older (£4.99) and younger children (£3.99) with a selection of items as mains as well as sides, and a choice of roasts or pizza.
As it was Sunday, we decided to opt for the roast dinners. And with a choice of three starters at just £1.99 and mains under £10, we decided to push the boat out.
For a starter I chose the garlic dough sticks and for the main, to make it more interesting, I opted for the Sunday roast burger – a 6oz steak burger with cauliflower cheese and a choice of toppings – I went for pulled pork and apple sauce (£7.99) – sandwiched between two Yorkshire puddings.
Being more traditional, Mr M went for mushroom poppers to start and a roast beef dinner (£8.49) for his main.
The little man said he wanted a roast too, so he also had garlic dough sticks to start and a roast turkey dinner for his main course.
It didn’t take long for the starters to arrive – 10 minutes after ordering, if that.
The dough sticks were good – four big sticks of warm ciabatta with a garlic and herb butter to dip. A nice start to the meal.
Opposite the mushroom poppers were well received – battered and deep fried with a garlic dip.
No sooner had our starter plates been taken away than our main courses arrived.
I have to admit I was disappointed when I saw mine. Mr M and the little one were happy, they had plates filled with meat and vegetables.
While my Sunday roast burger was substantial, I expected there to be some kind of vegetables with it.
The menu stated it would have roast potatoes and gravy, but I thought there would be some form of veg – there was a big space on the plate (as you can see in the picture), which was crying out for veg.
Nevertheless, the burger was good, succulent and full of flavour, plenty of meat and nice crispy Yorkshires, although it was missing the apple sauce.
The roast dinners went down well, with a good selection of veg and stuffing, however the beef was a little tough and didn’t come with the creamy horseradish sauce it said it would – maybe they were lacking condiments. Another bugbear was the gravy – it was almost certainly from granules.
There were no complaints from Mini M though!
We also had puddings – at £1.99, it would be rude not to.
My apple crumble and custard was lovely, but could have been a bit warmer. Mr M’s fudge cake was demolished quickly and the little man’s honeycomb sundae was given the thumbs up.
The Old Ash Dene is good value for money, great for families and has decent food. It isn’t a la carte but it doesn’t try to be either. It’s just good, cheap, pub food.
A WINNER FOR CHEAP EATS
Part of the attraction of the Old Ash Dene is that it caters for every taste. It is also a definite winner for families and those wanting a decent meal on a budget. For three of us, including a toddler who eats like a horse, it cost just under £38 for three courses, including two children’s drinks and a pint of real ale.
One of my criticisms would be that diners seem to be rushed. And staff could be a little bit more friendly. But all in all, it was a good meal and it was great to be able to let the little one play while we sat and had a drink.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Mini hotbed salad......£3.99
Born to Brie Wild......£8.99
10oz gammon steak......£7.49
The Big Breakfast......£8.49
Baked Mac ’n’ Cheese......£6.99
Very berry pizza......£3.79/£5.79
Caramel cheesecake sandwich......£3.79
Pina colada sundae......£3.99/£6.49
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Quality of food......7
Use of local food......5
Value for money......9
Cater for children......Yes (own menu)
Access for disabled......9
Toilet for disabled......Yes
Verdict: Perfect for families and definitely value for money
Contact: 01670 432161; www.oldashdenepub.com