A journey home from shopping wouldn’t be complete without a screaming toddler.
So when we stumbled across the Widdrington Inn, I couldn’t have been happier.
It was a beautiful Saturday and despite only being just after noon, the pub was already starting to get busy.
It is clearly a popular eatery, which caters for all, with a couple of big parties as well as families and couples arriving while we were there.
The welcoming sign that greets you at the door is a nice touch from the owners and the decor is like many traditional pubs.
It felt a little dark, but big windows did let in some light from the sun, which was shining for a change.
There is also a nice beer garden at the front and I could well imagine sitting outside on a summer’s day, supping an ice-cold drink.
The pub also has a sort of Wetherspoon’s feel to it.
You take a seat and order food at the bar, using the number on your table.
But choosing what you want is a difficult task.
The pub serves food all day from 11.30am onwards and Sunday lunches from noon.
And their menu reflects the fact that they cater for lunch and dinner-time crowds.
But there isn’t just the main menu, there is a specials board as well.
Being lunch-time, we decided to have just a main course, with puddings tempting us for after if we could fit them in.
I chose the pulled pork baguette with barbecue sauce and cheese (£7.25) while my husband went for The Widdy Ploughman’s (£8.50).
And as we had the little one in tow, we chose the fish fingers, chips and peas (£3.99) for her.
Those with a bigger appetite could have chosen from mains such as minted lamb casserole with herb dumplings (£8.95), homemade lasagne, chips, salad and coleslaw (£7.25 for small and £8.25 for large) or Widdy mixed grill (£16.95). There are also paninis and salads on offer alongside other light bites.
There was also a selection of starters such as prawn and cucumber salad (£4.49), cheese and garlic dough balls (£3.95) or tempura chicken strips (£4.25).
The food is clearly made to order and not just zapped in the microwave, as it took more than a few minutes to arrive – which is much more preferable in my opinion.
Portions at the Widdy Inn are big. My baguette was in the light-bites section, but it was a fair size.
Not only was there a baguette, packed with deliciously-soft pulled pork, smothered in sauce and topped with a decent amount of melted cheese, it also came with chips, coleslaw and salad.
And the ploughman’s was even bigger. A huge scotch egg was teamed with thick slices of proper ham, salad, pickles, bread and a pile of grated cheese.
The only downside was the cheese, which was clearly from a packet and quite bland.
It could have done with a nice piece of cheddar.
There were no complaints from the littlest member of the family who tried to eat her peas one-by-one.
Other children’s meals, all at £3.99, included chicken nuggets, chips and peas or beans, homemade pasta bolognaise and cheese and kids’ roast of the day.
Despite the big portions, we couldn’t resist the sweet options.
The salted caramel brownie took my fancy while Belgian waffles with toffee sauce were the favourite opposite (both £4.15).
Other options were Eton mess, sticky toffee pudding and New York style cheesecake (all £4.15).
My brownie did the job, it was coated in a caramel sauce, but the ice-cream accompanying it was tasteless.
The same kind of opinion was formed across the way.
The waffles were thick and fluffy, but probably not home-made, and the toffee sauce seemed similar to mine, but the ice-cream let it down.
All in all, they were alright, but we weren’t overly impressed with them.
It was a decent meal, filled our tummies, wasn’t too expensive and fitted the bill.
It wasn’t haute cuisine, and didn’t try to be, it was just traditional pub grub.
But there were two things lacking.
Firstly there is no mention of local food and producers, despite the wealth of them in the area.
And secondly, its vegetarian selection was poor compared to that for meat-eaters.
AS A STOP-OFF POINT, IT’S PRETTY HANDY
Located on the coast road, on the corner of a roundabout, the Widdrington Inn is good stop-off point between Alnwick and Ashington.
It serves food from 11.30am to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm, Monday to Saturday, and Sunday lunches from 11.30am to 3pm.
It is extremely disabled-friendly with ramp access and a disabled toilet at the back entrance.
Despite the extensive menu, there are only a handful of choices for vegetarians.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Soup of the day £3.45
Garlic & tarragon mushrooms £4.49
BBQ chilli beef con carne £7.25/£8.30
Homemade steak pie £7.30/£8.35
Deep-fried cod, chips and peas £8.85
Prawn Marie Rose baguette £6.65
Breaded chicken burger, chips £5.95
FROM THE GRILL
10oz sirloin steak, mushrooms, tomato, chips and onion rings £14.95
Handmade beef burger, chips and onion rings £6.65
Hand-carved ham salad, pickles and boiled egg £7.50
Homemade rum-and-raisin bread-and-butter pudding £4.25
STAR RATINGS (out of 10)
Quality of food 7
Vegetarian choice 5
Value for money 7
Local food 5
Children catered for 7
Access for disabled 8
Toilet for disabled Yes
OVERALL RATING 7
VERDICT: Traditional pub food, in a nice environment with friendly staff and an extensive menu.
CONTACT: 01670 760260 or search for the Widdrington Inn at www.facebook.com