Sunday dinner at The Forge in Washington - featuring Giant Yorkshire puddings and extra gravy

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The marker of a good Sunday dinner? The proof is in the (Yorkshire) pudding.

Down at The Forge in Washington Village, the puds are whoppers that tower over the plates – always satisfying to see on a Sunday.

I’d booked ahead for last Sunday’s dinner, which is served 12pm to 6pm, and you’re advised to do so at this historical gem which is one of the most popular places in the area for a proper roast.

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As well as the food itself, there’s much to draw you to this restaurant, which is teeming with historical features and charm.

Sunday dinner at The Forge, WashingtonSunday dinner at The Forge, Washington
Sunday dinner at The Forge, Washington

Its hearth has been burning at the heart of the village for 400 years as the former blacksmiths’ forge.

And, with its thick stone walls, rustic beams, cosy corners and real fire burning in the original hearth, it still provides a warm and atmospheric welcome today.

It’s Sunday lunch menu only on the most-relaxed day of the week, but there’s more variation than most on there, with five small plates or starters, ranging from sourdough with farmhouse butter(£3.50) to Cumberland scotch egg with smoked bacon, pickled apple, celeriac remoulade and brown sauce (£8).

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Roasts, meanwhile, are all priced £15.95 with a choice of either topside of Aberdeen angus dry aged beef, leg of Northumbrian hill lamb, slow roast local pork loin, breast of chicken with sage and onion stuffing and a vegetarian option of the day. Half portions are also available. Granted, there’s cheaper roasts out there, but this is all top quality stuff.

Goats cheese salad starterGoats cheese salad starter
Goats cheese salad starter

Desserts are also available with choices such as baked vanilla and lime cheesecake with mango sorbet (£7.50) and Valrhona chocolate brownie with Cornish sea salt caramel vanilla ice cream (£7.50) – though being able to shoehorn in three courses of their generous portions would be a feat indeed.

I had the goat’s cheese salad to start, which was the most expensive at £10, but you get plenty for your pounds – two satisfyingly chunky rounds of rich and earthy cheese served with a tart beetroot and apple relish punctuated with the sweet flavour notes of a walnut and Northumbrian honey granola.

It was a great medley of flavours and texture.

Next up, we'd been looking forward to the aforementioned Yorkshire puddings, eyeing them up as they were delivered to fellow diners – and they didn’t disappoint.

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Topside of beef mainsTopside of beef mains
Topside of beef mains

Striking just the right balance of crisp on the outside and fluffy inside, they’re the kind you just can’t master at home no matter how hard you try.

I went with the beef, served beautifully pink, its moist slivers draped over mounds of broccoli and crushed swede and glazed carrots. Carbs are represented well with a velvety mash and crisp roasties – your hangover will be well and truly cured here. Great, too, to receive a gravy boat with your mains so you can lather your dinner to your heart’s content.

We couldn’t resist the side of the cauliflower cheese to share (£5) where they certainly don’t skimp on the cheese, even though it defeated our waistbands.

Drinks-wise, there’s a broad range available with a varied wine list available from £21 a bottle and cocktails priced £7.95.

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The Forge at The Avenue, Washington.The Forge at The Avenue, Washington.
The Forge at The Avenue, Washington.

Service is swift and friendly at this popular spot which seems well versed in turning tables.

Our only quibble, and it’s a slight one, was that our table was next to the entrance to the bar so staff had to squeeze past us, but space is at a premium at this restaurant, which makes great use of the space that the confines of the old forge affords.

Parking-wise, the village does get pretty full on weekends, but you can usually find free street parking.

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