REVIEW: Oldfields, Claypath, Durham City

Oldfields, Claypath, Durham.
Oldfields, Claypath, Durham.
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Local pride abounds in the ethos at Oldfields. As we looked over the menu, we know where almost every item on it came from.

“This is seriously devotion to food” was on the wall of the Durham restaurant, where a food map takes a gastronomical tour of the UK.

Our trip was confined to the North East of England, with a host of local suppliers.

Eating from the early-bird menu, we chose two courses for a paltry £9.95.

I started with two tiny smoky fish cakes and a lemon mayo – origins unknown.

With a fantastic coastline just a few short miles away, I was disappointed not to find out more about my dish – which needed more fish and less potato.

My boyfriend’s Teesdale curried mutton was definitely the tastier of the two dishes, which were both served lukewarm.

Slow-cooked until it was falling apart, mutton is a meat that needs flavour and a heavier hand with the curry spices.

An accompanying flatbread by Seaham’s Artful Baker was a satisfying addition.

It’s always a pleasure to see regional dishes on the menu, so my boyfriend went for pan haggerty – which never fails to spark a debate among northerners.

Deviating from the traditional ingredients – and the name, some would argue – the smoked haddock dish was topped with a poached egg.

There was a good hunk of fish and the egg was great – there really is no better sauce than runny egg yolk, he said.

My Raby Castle venison and spiced sausage casserole packed in the taste my starter lacked, with chunky sausages in a rich tomato sauce.

Puddings include a traditional selection of British bests – sticky toffee, lemon and ginger mess and more – which we didn’t sample.

All told, Oldfields is a great place, showcasing local fare and passionate about food.

We watched would-be diners leaving disappointed, so it’s worth booking ahead.

My boyfriend praised an interesting menu and liked how they served craft beers, rather than the usual lager selection.

The menu changes every month and there’s also an a la carte supper option, with some inventive, but more expensive options.

Oldfields is also a popular spot for Sunday dinner, I’m told, with a hearty selection of meat from local suppliers and a selection of Bloody Marys, which promise to banish the hangover blues.

But it’s lost somewhere between being a bistro and a fine-dining restaurant, with the staff and service quite formal.

Small quibbles include the early evening menu suggesting a side order for each main course, which cost an extra £2.

An automatic 12.5 per cent service charge was a sting in the tail, a pet hate of mine, as a former waitress.

With one beer and a soft drink, our meal for two came to £25.20. We were happy to tip, but in cash.

Jane O’Neill

“This is seriously devotion to food” was on the wall of the Durham restaurant, where a food map takes a gastronomical tour of the UK.

Our trip was confined to the North East of England, with a host of local suppliers.

Eating from the early-bird menu, we chose two courses for a paltry £9.95.

I started with two tiny smoky fish cakes and a lemon mayo – origins unknown.

With a fantastic coastline just a few short miles away, I was disappointed not to find out more about my dish – which needed more fish and less potato.

My boyfriend’s Teesdale curried mutton was definitely the tastier of the two dishes, which were both served lukewarm.

Slow-cooked until it was falling apart, mutton is a meat that needs flavour and a heavier hand with the curry spices.

An accompanying flatbread by Seaham’s Artful Baker was a satisfying addition.

It’s always a pleasure to see regional dishes on the menu, so my boyfriend went for pan haggerty – which never fails to spark a debate among northerners.

Deviating from the traditional ingredients – and the name, some would argue – the smoked haddock dish was topped with a poached egg.

There was a good hunk of fish and the egg was great – there really is no better sauce than runny egg yolk, he said.

My Raby Castle venison and spiced sausage casserole packed in the taste my starter lacked, with chunky sausages in a rich tomato sauce.

Puddings include a traditional selection of British bests – sticky toffee, lemon and ginger mess and more – which we didn’t sample.

All told, Oldfields is a great place, showcasing local fare and passionate about food.

We watched would-be diners leaving disappointed, so it’s worth booking ahead.

My boyfriend praised an interesting menu and liked how they served craft beers, rather than the usual lager selection.

The menu changes every month and there’s also an a la carte supper option, with some inventive, but more expensive options.

Oldfields is also a popular spot for Sunday dinner, I’m told, with a hearty selection of meat from local suppliers and a selection of Bloody Marys, which promise to banish the hangover blues.

But it’s lost somewhere between being a bistro and a fine-dining restaurant, with the staff and service quite formal.

Small quibbles include the early evening menu suggesting a side order for each main course, which cost an extra £2.

An automatic 12.5 per cent service charge was a sting in the tail, a pet hate of mine, as a former waitress.

With one beer and a soft drink, our meal for two came to £25.20. We were happy to tip, but in cash.

Jane O’Neill