Quality local pubs are like buses – you wait ages for a good one and then three come along at once.
The Grange, Blue Bell and Royal Marine are right on my doorstep after me and my other half's recent move to Fulwell.
The area fulfilled our property checklist to a tee – nice neighbours, close to the beach and it has some great watering holes.
Unfortunately, our furniture checklist doesn't fare so well and – still minus a sofa or dining suite – we decided to try out one of our new locals for a meal so we could at least sit at a table to eat.
With large adverts promoting its range of food, The Grange was the first to face scrutiny.
It's some years since I've been to this Newcastle Road landmark and it's undergone some big changes.
Wooden slats, dining booths and fancy wallpaper give it a loft apartment feel, which makes a nice change from the football paraphernalia decor that many local pubs opt for.
The pub is also compartmentalised, meaning drinkers can enjoy their tipples in the bar area while diners eat their meal in the seating area, without having beer spilled over their food by passers-by.
The menu also adds to the restaurant feel of the venue. For a pub, its menu is extensive ranging from Salads (5.19) to Vegetable Dopiaza Curry (5.89) and Cajun and Stilton burger (3.49).
But, as part of the Sizzling Pub Co brand, it is sizzling dishes which take up a large section of the menu.
In this section you can choose from sizzling seafood dishes, chicken or steak.
My boyfriend went for the sirloin steak topped with chilli (7.29).
He enjoyed his meal but his only quibble was that he couldn't taste much chilli and would prefer more heat with his meat.
I chose from the lighter meals section of the menu and ordered an Italian chicken linguini (5.69).
It wasn't light, in fact I struggled to finish it, but it was delicious all the same.
Service was prompt and there was even a Rat Pack crooner belting out classics to keep you entertained while you waited.
Drinks were also reasonably priced and came to just under 5 for a pint of Stella and a vodka and diet coke.