Review: The Blacksmiths Arms, Station Road, Low Pittington, Tel. 372 0287

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GOOD grub pubs are a rare breed, but The Blacksmiths Arms at Low Pittington is a fine example of how it should be done.

I went along for the first time on a Tuesday evening with two friends.

The pub is under new management – I’d never been before, but one of my friends often goes and was a bit worried in case the food had gone downhill.

The menu seemed promising. It had plenty of choice without being biblical in length – two pages for starters and mains is plenty in my view.

The staff seemed rather jolly which was good and the pub itself was cosy and busy – probably because of the sensible prices and cheerful atmosphere.

I chose deep fried baby potatoes slathered in cheese and bacon. It came in an attractive square tureen and the portion size was just right.

It was very simple and very tasty and something I’d like to try making at home.

I’m told the garlic mushrooms were very nice too and three clean plates were sent back to the kitchen post haste.

For my main course I had cod, chips and mushy peas with lots and lots of tartar sauce, salt and vinegar and lemon.

The cod was very tender and the batter was light and tasty. The chips were very nice too, but not quite crunchy enough for my taste – I still had no trouble eating my plate bare, so they clearly weren’t that bad!

My friends chose the lasagne and chicken with leeks and bacon in a creamy sauce which looked very inviting and came with three types of vegetables that were green and healthy, though not tempting enough for me to regret my chips.

No one had any thought of having pudding until the waitress came and waved the little blackboard at us and we decided it would be very rude not to have something.

So we ordered that evening’s special, blackcurrant and apple crumble with custard which turned out to be a good choice. If I was being incredibly picky I’d say there could have been more crumble topping, but then you have to bear in mind that if left to me, crumble would have no fruit in it whatsoever because I like the crust so much.

We had soft drinks and one glass of wine and the bill for three of us came to £46.35, which I thought was more than reasonable.

Absolutely spot on for a nice happy den to meet friends for tea with no stinging bill at the end.

I’d definitely go back.