Lunch at South Causey Inn, County Durham
Visiting a pub on a weekend and struggling to book a table to dine is definitely perceived as a good thing these days. With so many choices for eating out, somewhere that is packed week in, week out, must know their shallots when it comes to grub. Mr. Canny and I received an invite to South Causey Inn for pub grub, somewhere I myself had only been previously as a wedding guest. The olde-worldly feel of the establishment made for a beautiful day and, as wedding buffets go, I had found the fare pleasing. Whether or not that was attributed to the copious amounts of fizz I’d consumed on that day or not, I was about to find out.
Checking out the extensive menus ahead of time, I was heartened by a wide selection of vegetarian options on offer. Rather helpfully, each dish has the potential allergen issues of listed beneath. There is even a specific gluten-free section marked out. Our dining compatriots on this particular visit had no such stipulations regarding diet, but I obviously was concerned about the Mr being catered for. Putting in a call ahead of time, I was told they would be happy to adapt any of the veggie dishes for the vegan.
Normally it’s very simple to order when dining out now because we often find there’s one suitable dish and that’s it, but not so at South Causey. In fact, we all seemed to dither about what to eat on this particular day. As we were visiting with another food blogger, I’ll allow her the opportunity to write about the dishes she and her husband sampled, while I’ll focus on the Cannys’ experience.
Having not eaten Brazilian favourite Stroganoff in a while, I ordered the Mushroom and Red Pepper version. It came with rice or chips, or both, should you feel so inclined. Mr. Canny’s choice of Vegetable Chilli, minus the cheese and sour cream, was touted as being served in a ‘large tortilla basket’.
At £9.95 for most of the main menu options it seemed like good value for money, and once the dishes arrived this was confirmed. The portion sizes were generous; the chilli came with rice as well as tortilla, making it a food Everest for him climb.
I felt the sauce accompanying mine had probably been slightly overcooked as there was a bitterness to it, but that was my only complaint. Mr. Canny’s Chilli had quite the kick and was in need of the cream to take the edge off, but as he’s dairy-free he had to grin and bear it. It took him such a long time to plough through his main that we had finished our courses long before he did. With the copious amounts of ale needed to deal with the heat, he was also a bit squiffy by the time we made it to dessert. Notable mention goes to the wodge of handmade Corned Beef Pie that arrived for our dining companion, which was served with a jug of gravy. I was definitely envious.
Pud options are always a struggle for vegans when out and about, whereas I had no such trouble. Torn between the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the Creme Brulee, I opted for the latter. With a fair ratio of decent custard to caramelised sugar, my only disappointment came with the slightly lacklustre shortbread biscuits it was served with. After a huge main, he passed on the obligatory sorbet he was offered.
We felt service was on the slow side, but this was because they were so busy. By the time our bill was paid they were on to afternoon teas, which looked the business. The food was decent and good value for money, so we’d definitely return again. With a great selection of local beers and plenty for meat and fish lovers on the menu, it is a canny place for a weekend lunch.
With farm animals outside, and plenty of space for kids to run about, South Causey definitely has a family atmosphere to it. Hearing about their weekly pop-up Food Market, held on a Tuesday between 10:30am and 2pm, I’m keen to return and wander round the food stalls they have. With producers selling speciality pies, cheeses and locally sourced meat, those in the vicinity should visit and ‘support local’.
Thanks for reading,
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