[Bamburgh, Northumberland] Brasserie at the Victoria Hotel

We ate here some years back. It was a disappointing experience – no better than basic pub grub even though this is a hotel restaurant. Things have changed since then and, whilst the menu still includes some pub classics, there’s now more 21st century bistro/brasserie dishes as well. But pub classics were fine with us on this visit.

There was a decent burger, topped with lettuce, bacon and cheese – none of which tasted of much so added nothing to the burger. And, inevitably, the bun fell apart after a couple of bites, so you had to use the cutlery. But it was fine, in the way that burger and fries will usually be fine. Gammon steak is one of those pub dishes that are often done badly – overcooked to the point of becoming shoe leather. I don’t know what possessed me to order it. But it surprised me that it was fine. And it was a very generous piece –a full 16oz covering half the plate – and it was lightly cooked so still juicy and flavoursome. There were classic accompaniments – chips, tomato, mushroom and a watercress garnish. And a choice between egg and pineapple. That’ll be the pineapple please. And it was a proper slice, cut from a real pineapple – no opening of tins of pineapple rings here.

For “afters”, there was a plate of four cheeses from the Doddington Dairy, just down the road in Wooler. But, unfortunately, this really could have been so much better, if only they’d taken the cheese out of the fridge when they opened for dinner. As it was, the cheeses were so cold that there was little flavour. There were biscuits, celery, grapes and chutney to accompany. Disappointing that the chutney was the best tasting thing on the plate.