“IS it wrong I crave more pie and mash?” came the query as my friend and I made plans to eat before a gig.
Confession time – it was all I could think of too.
We had eaten at The Redhouse on the Quayside a couple of weekends earlier.
I’d heard of it via Twitter, luring punters in with a promise of butcher-made pies, mash, ale and puddings by the Pet Lamb Patisserie.
Add in a coal fire, welcoming staff, a bar with plenty of alcoves and a canny selection of music and it couldn’t fail.
Its success is bolstered by keeping things simple.
Pick your pie from a choice of steak; chicken, gammon and leek; spiced mutton and apricot; ale, mince and onion; Cheddar, onion and potato; sausage, apple, onion and cider or the guest option, with recent offerings including haggis and goats cheese and sweet potato.
Then select Parmesan, creamy or herby mash, add your serving, minted peas, mushy peas or pease pudding, and finally chose a gravy, from meaty, red wine and thyme or parsley liquor, with condiments including chilli-spiked vinegar readily to hand.
Each is £6.95, with offers of pie and a pint for £7.99 on Monday night and two pies for £10 on Wednesday evening.
I opted for the sausage with Parmesan mash, while my mate ordered the mince.
They were delivered on white and blue metal plates and both were soon cleared of our meals.
While the menu is streamlined, beer lovers will struggle with so much choice.
We decided we could easily spend a long evening holed up in here with our mates in one of the crannies.
The puddings, apple crumble with custard, cream or Doddington’s ice cream, and a guest on this occasion, Mississippi Mud Pie, are each £4.50.
My friend is allergic to nuts, but the staff couldn’t be sure the sweets were free of them because they were made off-site.
It would have been mean to tuck into one in front of him, but with little space after our hearty pie, it was probably just as well.
Browse the menu for yourself via theredhousencl.co.uk and follow it on Twitter via @theredhousencl