IN a financial climate forcing many pubs to pull their last pint and shut up shop, it’s refreshing to find a new kid on the block.
Step forward Oak Tree Farm, a purpose-built family pub/restaurant in the shadow of Doxford International Business Park, bringing jobs and good grub to the city.
Its position on the road to the business park may seem like an odd choice, but it works. There’s oodles of parking and, being so close to the A19, is easy to get to.
I visited in a group of six on a Saturday afternoon. The place was heaving, but as this is a huge pub, there was no problem in accommodating our large group.
We were asked if there were any children in our group as there are two sections to the pub: one for those with children and one for those without.
Personally, I think this is a great idea. For the adults minus children in tow it means they can eat their meal in peace, while those with children don’t have to worry so much about their behaviour bothering fellow diners.
There’s also a distraction area for the rug-rats with games and activities.
In keeping with the family-friendly ethos, the decor is homely. With its use of wood and tartan curtains, it’s kind of Scottish lodge meets country cottage, and there’s even an open fire in a cosy corner of the pub.
We were seated at one of the large dining tables and set about picking our way through the large menu.
As well as menu items and daily specials, there’s a carvery section which smelled utterly delicious.
From the menu, you can choose from meat, fish, chicken, pasta and vegetable dishes and steaks and grills if you’re after something substantial.
For those after lighter options, there’s a good range of salads, burgers, hot and cold sandwiches and jacket potatoes.
I went with the ham, tomato and melted cheese hot sandwich which comes in at £5.45.
It’s a standard choice, but the serving was whopping and went down a treat.
Half the group ordered hot sarnies which, despite the hustle in the pub, were served together.
The other half of our group chose carvery sandwiches. It was £13.20 for three of them and you got more than enough for your money.
The meat was tender and tasty, the only quibble was that it was served in a ciabatta not a bun, which absorbed all the gravy away from the meat.
There’s also a pretty impressive dessert cabinet piled high with lashings of cakes and treats. Our full tummies prevented us from indulging, however.
Drinks-wise, it was not long past midday so we steered clear of the hard stuff, but soft drinks prices were more than reasonable at £1.75 for an orange juice and £1.45 for a white coffee.
Overall, prices are cracking here. Six of us ate and drank for less than £40.
Opening times are Monday to Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday 11am-10.30pm. The carvery is served Monday to Friday 11.30am-2pm and 4pm-8pm and Saturday and Sunday 11.30am-8pm.