It isn’t often that we go out for a meal in the evening these days, two children and all the things that go along with them make it a bit of a rarity.
But after going to Berwick Maltings theatre to see an early-evening performance of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, we knew that our two would need feeding before we drove home.
Our first port of call was going to be the Maltings Kitchen, but sadly it wasn’t open at the time we were there.
A friend had told me that the Meadow House was good, and child-friendly, so we decided to give it a go.
Arriving at about 5.30pm, it was quite quiet, but while we dined there was a steady flow of comings and goings.
The Meadow House calls itself the first and last – the first pub you reach as you enter England from the borders and the last before you leave England from Berwick.
It is decked out with all manner of artefacts from giant wooden cart wheels to brass ornaments and various knick-knacks.
After choosing where we wanted to sit, the children were given a colouring book and pencils each, a nice touch and great for us to get five minutes’ peace to decide what we fancied to eat.
The Meadow House has an extensive menu covering everything from steaks and burgers to pasta, salads, baked potatoes and more.
Having looked through the menu and being tempted by lots of different options, I settled on the sirloin steak (£17) while Mr M went for the Highland burger (£10).
Our four-year-old daughter was adamant that she was having pasta, and with there not being any on the children’s menu, we ordered an adult’s lasagne for the kids to share.
We waited a short while for the food to arrive at our table, but long enough to know it was being cooked from scratch and not put in a microwave.
My steak came just how I like it – medium rare – and topped with grilled mushroom and tomato and huge onion rings. I opted for a baked potato instead of chips but I wish I hadn’t.
The steak was lovely and so were all the accompaniments apart from the potato. It was still hard in the middle and I left most of it.
Opposite me, the burger seemed to go down very well.
A thick beef patty was topped with haggis and then grilled Cheddar and it was that big it needed a stick in it to keep it upright. It came with twice-baked chips which looked divine.
The lasagne was more than enough for our two.
It came in an individual dish and was served with two slices of garlic bread.
We shared it between the kids and they devoured the lot. It had a lovely cheesy layer on top and plenty of meaty sauce with a good proportion of sauce to pasta.
Everyone in our family seems to have a sweet tooth so we couldn’t miss the opportunity for a dessert.
Despite not ordering from the children’s menu, they each got a scoop of ice-cream – and there was a special toppings bar for them to go to, to add their own sauces and sprinkles, which was a nice touch.
I originally opted for the baked figs with honey from the specials board but after a five-minute wait was told it was no longer available so I had banoffee pie instead.
Mr M went for the banana fritters from the specials.
The banoffee pie was lovely. It had a thick buttery base topped with a thick layer of caramel sauce and fresh bananas. It would have been better if it was served with proper cream instead of the squirty variety.
The banana fritters were served without any accompaniment, despite stating they came with ice-cream. But once we asked, a scoop arrived.
The ice-cream was nothing to write home about and lacked flavour – but with the amount of toppings our children added it wasn’t an issue.
All in all, we had mixed opinions on the place.
Most of the food was lovely but there were little things, like the hard potato and tasteless ice cream that made it less appealing.
However, the staff were brilliant, and even with two children making a bit of a din, we felt welcome – and were even told they were well-behaved!
FAMILY-RUN WITH TRADITIONAL FEEL
The Meadow House is a family-run pub and has recently celebrated its 36th birthday of being run by the same family. There are no pretences with the place and it has a very traditional feel to it.
There is a nice outside area, which we couldn’t use as it was dark, cold and wet, but would be perfect in summer time with a variety of children’s garden toys, slides and swings to keep youngsters entertained.
And with Christmas coming up, they could be on to a winner. They are doing take-away Christmas dinners for people to pick up on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, they can be put in the oven.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Starters And Sharers
Soup and roll......£3/£4
Smoked salmon and asparagus......£6
Bucket of onion rings......£4
Chicken and bacon Caesar......£9
Classics And Favourites
Homemade steak and kidney pie or stew......£10
Thai red vegetable curry......£9
Slow-cooked beef ciabatta......£8
Homemade chicken, bacon and brie risotto......£10
Burgers And Grills
The Meadow House......£10
Homemade cherry meringue......£5
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Quality of food......7
Use of local food......8
Access for the disabled......10
Toilet for the disabled......Yes
Verdict: Decent food and good staff.
Contact: 01289 304173; website http://www.meadow-house.co.uk/