THE Badger pub in Ponteland – part of the Vintage Inns chain – has a fresh new look following a £150,000 revamp.
It is one of those pubs that is very much food-driven, and this is even more apparent following its recent refurb.
The bar has been shortened, which has opened up the space more, and full table service means meals and drinks are now served at your table. So no long waits at the bar.
It has always been a family-friendly pub, somewhere we’ve felt comfortable bringing our teen daughters, but not too noisy either.
We have always liked the cosy country look and feel of The Badger. The building is Grade II listed and parts of it date back to the 1700s.
We bagged a table right by a roaring log fire – a sight for sore eyes on a wintry day – before having a nosy around to check out the changes.
The refurb, I’m pleased to report, was a hit with us all – and works well with the setting, giving it a more upmarket look. The wooden panelling, exposed brickwork, sisal and checked carpets, smart new seating and luxe soft furnishings, looked good with the warm mushroom and grey colour scheme.
There’s also a cosy area for drinkers and diners, with comfy leather sofas and chairs, which looked inviting.
Our server that Saturday lunchtime was Jack, who was friendly and professional. Like many of the staff we encountered, a credit to the pub, briskly going about their business.
He was quick to bring across our drinks order of Pinot Grigio, £4.35, Diet Pepsis, £1.90, and a drop of Ossian ale for the man about the house.
The winter menu seemed to offer dishes we were familiar with from the old menus, with everything from sharing plates, nibbles and sandwiches, to meat, game and poultry dishes plus country pub classics. A children’s menu, with eight mains, offers two courses and a Fruit Shoot for £6.95.
My goat’s cheese crostini, £4.95, grilled goat’s cheese on three slices of toasted walnut bread with a delicious tangy caramelised onion marmalade, served alongside dressed baby spinach and walnuts, was a tasty start to proceedings.
As was the other half’s giant beer battered mushrooms, £3.99, served with caramelised garlic and parsley dip.
Hearty fish pie, £9.99, ticked all the right winter warmer boxes for me, the rustic pie dish packed full of cod fillet chunks, smoked haddock and prawns in a rich smoked salmon, white wine and coriander cream.