What we thought of the new look and menu at landmark Mill House pub
The Mill House has certainly been through the mill in the past couple of years, with a fire that tore through the roadside landmark and a pandemic to contend with.
But this well-known pub on the border between Washington and Gateshead – it’s the one on the roundabout just before the A1 turn off on the A1231 – has risen from the ashes to create a country pub feel that you’d think had been there for decades.
The new owners, the same team behind The Woodmans Arms in Whickham, reopened the pub in December after a full refurbishment and were open just four months before lockdown hit and the hospitality industry ground to a halt.
It was able to pull pints once more from July 4, with the necessary social distancing measures in place – and it’s a rebirth that’s proved popular judging by the capacity number of diners on our visit.
We visited on a wet and windy Thursday night when its outdoor lighting like strings of pearls, gave off a warm glow whilst guiding you to plenty of free parking – a bonus in an area which most people won’t be travelling to on foot.
Much like its sister site in Whickham, the interiors have been designed with Instagram in mind, think flower walls, hanging faux foliage and neon signs, but it strikes a good balance with more traditional features, such as exposed brick, wooden beams and cosy corners, that help to create a traditional country pub feel despite the whirr of the A1231 being just seconds away.
The menu is better than your average pub grub offering, with a broad selection of dishes, including charcuterie boards, camembert, log fire pizzas, burgers, grill dishes and pub classics such as fish and chips and gammon, egg and chips.
People with dietary requirements are well catered for also, with plenty of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.
We both had the haggis scotch egg to start, which is one of the pricier starters at £7.95. It was better than I expected, with a satisfying egg yolk ooze while the earthy haggis provided an extra depth of flavour.
For mains, I had the parma special pizza, which is £10.95 and comes topped with plenty of proscuitto ham, fresh tomatoes, olives and peppery rocket.
Pizzas can be a hit and miss affair in pubs, but this version had a base with just the right amount of bubble and bite. Despite being happy with my choice, I still had some plate envy of my friend’s venison burger £11.95 which was really well executed and pink enough inside to retain its distinctive gamey taste. For drinks, you can expect to pay between £6-7 for a large glass of wine.
Social distancing-wise, we were a table of two seated enough of a distance away from other groups and provided our details for track and trace. However, we did notice staff weren’t wearing clear visors as they have in other places I’ve eaten post-lockdown. It was our only quibble, however, as the service itself was friendly and informative as we ‘ummed and ‘ahhed our way through the menu.