After a very cold start to the day, snow tubing, ice skating and plenty of walking around Kielder’s Winter Wonderland, a hot meal in comfortable surroundings was much-needed.
And we couldn’t have hoped for more from the Boat Inn, which is situated right in the heart of Kielder Waterside, overlooking the lake.
As it was Sunday, the carvery was on offer and it was just the ticket to round off what had been a perfect festive family weekend, with minimal arguing from the children as a bonus!
We were greeted by a member of staff, dressed up as one of Santa’s elves, and shown to a very pleasant table overlooking the water.
I was expecting a menu of some kind, but the carvery was it, which was fine for us.
After ordering drinks, we were handed some plates and were able to help ourselves to what was on offer.
We were very impressed to find a mini children’s buffet as part of the main carvery, offering pizza, chicken nuggets, fish fingers and chips for youngsters who may not have wanted a Sunday roast.
Neither of our two opted for the children’s section and instead went straight for the Yorkshire puddings which were almost the size of their heads.
Meat was carved in front of you and there was a decent selection of beef, ham and turkey on offer.
Little Miss M opted for beef, while Master M went for turkey, I decided to have a mix and went for both of them, as did Mr M.
The kids were delighted when the chef said they could have two Yorkshires, as was Mr M.
Once meat had been sliced, it was on to the vegetable selection, and what a selection it was.
There were roast potatoes as well as mash, peas, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower cheese, Brussels sprouts and swede (or turnip as they like to call it up north).
Stuffing and sauces were next in line, alongside a vat of proper gravy, and it was away back to the table.
I am always concerned that meat at a carvery is going to be dry and unpalatable. You often don’t know how long it has been out, waiting to be carved.
But the meat we were served was beautiful. Granted, the beef could have been rarer for our liking, but it was delicious all the same.
The turkey was the winner for me. There was a thick slice and it was lovely and moist, soft and melt-in-the-mouth delicious.
The vegetables were cooked to perfection, with the exception of the sprouts which were a bit soggy.
And the Yorkshires were the star of the mains. Crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.
The cauliflower cheese was a little watery, but other than those few foibles, the Sunday dinner was a delight.
Clean plates from the little ones were a clear indicator of satisfaction.
The price of the carvery includes dessert, with a selection of sweets on offer in the other part of the restaurant.
After waiting a few minutes for our main to go down, we headed in to see what was on offer.
And once again the children’s eyes lit up as they saw the selection.
There was chocolate log, chocolate fudge cake, black forest gateaux and, my personal favourite, mince pie cheesecake.
The kids headed straight for the chocolate fudge cake while I decided to try the cheesecake and the chocolate log (for review purposes only of course).
The cakes were another big hit.
The chocolate log was gooey and moist with a nice rich cake inside and covered in a lovely ganache.
But the star of the entire meal for me was the mince pie cheesecake. It was divine. Creamy, full of Christmas flavour and a lovely, crunchy biscuit base. You could taste the hint of alcohol and it was just sublime.
The carvery was £13.95 per adult and £7.95 per child, which we felt was very reasonable for the amount of food on offer. Drinks were a little on the high side, but you don’t mind so much when the food isn’t as expensive.
The Boat Inn is definitely worth a visit.
A GREAT SETTING FOR A BITE TO EAT
The Boat Inn is in a brilliant location for Kielder’s Winter Wonderland extravaganza.
And while that only happens once a year, it is also in a great location for anyone visiting Kielder for the day, or staying in the lodges at Kielder Waterside.
The restaurant overlooks the lake and is open daily from noon. It opens until 10pm Monday to Saturday but closes at 6pm on a Sunday.
If you are a guest at the lodges, it also offers takeaway pizzas.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Soup of the day......£4
Ultimate potato skins......£3.95
Field mushrooms in garlic butter...... £6
Trio of pork sausages......£9.95
Pepper and courgette lasagne......£7.50
Grilled gammon steak......£11.50
The Boat Inn burger......£10
Vegan vegetable bake......£9.50
Hearty beef stew......£9.50
Quality of food......8
Use of local food......7
Value for money......8
Access for the disabled......10
Toilet for the disabled......Yes
Verdict: Lovely food in a beautiful setting.
See www.kielderwaterside.com for more.