There are a number of pubs in Rothbury that always seem friendly and enticing, so for a sunny Sunday drive we decided to head to Coquetdale.
Knowing that the Turks Head had recently had a big revamp, and a lot of money spent on it, we thought it would be a good option.
Situated at the top of the High Street, the Turks is a popular local for residents, but also has rooms, and cottages, for visitors and therefore caters for everyone.
The pub itself is split into two main rooms and has a big beer garden with a children’s play area, but sadly it was a bit too chilly for us.
The bar section has a few tables and a lovely coal fire, which was just the ticket on a sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon.
And the dining section is set out with tables and another fire (although this wasn’t lit).
Children and dogs are also welcomed with dogs allowed to sit in the bar area. There’s a big box of toys for youngsters to enjoy.
It was quite quiet when we visited with a big group just leaving and another family finishing up their food. But there was a steady stream of diners while we were there.
As it was a Sunday the main options for lunch were, you guessed it, Sunday dinners with a choice of beef, ham or lamb with all the trimmings and gravy.
However, being awkward as I like to be sometimes, I didn’t fancy a big dinner and was pleased to find that there was also a selection of alternatives on offer for those wanting something less filling.
Having perused the menu I decided to opt for the lasagne with salad and garlic bread while my husband went for the scampi and chips.
With the toddler in tow as usual, we ordered a bowl of soup of the day, which was homemade tomato and basil.
Other options included a veggie version of my lasagne, sausage and mash, pie of the day and a selection of sandwiches.
Food was clearly cooked to order with a short delay before it arrived, despite the quietness of the pub – but that can only be a good sign.
When it arrived I was pleased with my choice.
The presentation may not have been the best in the world, but the food was good.
The lasagne was clearly homemade and very, very meaty – just the way I like it.
There were decent layers of bolognese and pasta with a nice creamy, cheesy topping that rounded it off perfectly.
It came with two big pieces of garlic bread, which were dripping with a delicious garlic and herb butter.
The only let down was the salad. It was nice enough, but I’m not a big fan of salad dressings, and this one had quite a lot drizzled over it.
Across the table there was a resounding quietness which is always a good sign.
The scampi, I am told, was well cooked and as I was the reviewer I had to try the homemade chips, which were perfectly crispy on the outside and nice and soft in the middle.
And next to me a considerable mess was being made with soup and its accompanying warm and crusty baguette and the bowl was almost licked clean – another sure fire way to show that it was a good choice.
The soup was really good, thick and full of fresh ingredients.
With the dessert board giving us the eye from the corner of the room, we thought it would be rude to ignore it.
But in some ways we wished we had.
The selection was caramel apple pie, choco fudge cake, syrup sponge and sticky toffee sponge, all served with either cream, custard or ice cream.
I went for the sticky toffee while the caramel apple pie was ordered opposite.
We also asked for a bowl of ice-cream for the little one, although we were charged the same price, £3.50, which I thought was a bit steep.
The puddings were not the highlight of the meal.
I can’t say for sure but I don’t think they were homemade, and mine resembled the tinned sponges my grandma used to serve.
The pie went down well but we were both left wishing we had stopped while the going was good.
The Turks does pub grub and it does it well. Presentation may not be high on the agenda, for the price you pay it doesn’t need to be. It’s not haute cuisine but it isn’t trying to be.
It is good value food, in a nice environment with friendly staff, you can’t say fairer than that.
CATERING FOR EVERYONE IN ALL SEASONS
The Turks Head has recently undergone a big refurbishment and this shows in the decor of the pub. Bright fresh colours are used to make it welcoming with the dining room having a lovely addition of old pictures of the village all along one wall.
The Turks is a decent all-rounder of a pub. Its roaring fire and cosy bar is perfect for cold wintry days and nights while the revamped outdoor area is great for the summer.
It also offers rooms and cottages for visitors to the area to come and stay in.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Choice of beef, lamb or ham with veg and gravy......large £7.95 small £4.95
Soup of the day......£2.95
Pie of the day......£6.95
Sausage and mash......£6.45
Scampi and chips......£8.45
Lasagne w/salad & garlic bread......£7.50
MAIN MENU - SANDWICHES
Chicken and blue cheese melt......£4.50
Hot beef and gravy......£4.95
Three cheese omelette......£6.45
Turks head burgers......£4.75 to £5.75
Homemade bread pizza......£2.50-£2.95
Ham, cheese and meatballs......£3.25
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Quality of food......7
Value for money......8
Local food (no mention)......5
Access for disabled......yes
Toilet for disabled......yes
Verdict: Decent food in a good pub with good service.
Contact: 01669 620434 or visit www.turksheadrothbury.co.uk.