I have become something of a home bird in recent years.
Which means a trip to a restaurant is a rare but hugely enjoyable treat – as long as the restaurant itself delivers the goods.
Broomside Park certainly did.
This is a modern pub-cum-restaurant-cum-hotel on the edge of a business park. You’ll find it right next to numerous car dealerships, and not far from the nearby communities of Belmont and Gilesgate.
But once you park up, this is a lovely little insular and welcoming world hidden away from a bustling Durham.
The restaurant itself is quaintly divided into atmospherically-lit alcoves which makes for a much more personal experience.
That suited my wife and I down to the ground as we settled into an afternoon of rare culinary indulgence.
As for the food offering, the menu was a lovely mix of traditional favourites and new dishes.
Margaret opted for a starter of pork pâté with plum and apple chutney with toasted brown bloomer (£4.99). It was the best starter she’d had this millennium, she said, which is quite some claim as she is a bit of a pâté afficionado. I’m a disbelieving sort and decided to nick a bit of her meal just to make sure. She wasn’t wrong with her assessment.
This was an indulgently rich kick of plum, which made it a very wintery dish and full of flavour. The pâté was deliciously creamy.
My own starter was wasabi king prawns with a pea and mint mayo dip (£5.49).
It was one of those meals which grows on you. The more you ate, the spicier the wasabi kick became and it was superb. A real mouth-watering winner which had you ready for the main course to follow.
Margaret stayed on the traditional path for her main, which was gammon steak with fried egg and all the usual gammon trimmings (£8.79).
It was a lovely, juicy piece of gammon and the only downside for her was the chips, which she felt were too dry.
My main was chicken forestiere (£9.99) which smacked of earthy smokiness.
It was a chicken breast topped with sautéed mushrooms, diane sauce, crispy fried onions and bacon, served on a bed of mash.
The flavouring was rich with the sauce providing a creamy and yet not too overpowering main flavour. The onions, mushrooms and bacon made this a fantastic flavour for a suitably winter dish.
And while the mash was wholesome, I felt it did not quite hit the heights of the rest of the dish.
I wasn’t finished. I was being a greedy so and so when I ordered salted toffee apple crumble with custard (£4.49). It was the sort of cinnamon and apple hit which had you wishing you weren’t so full, otherwise you definitely would clear the substantial portion.
Still, I had a pretty good go at it and almost finished the lot, despite already being pretty much full from two previous courses
Margaret pushed herself at a plate of cheese and biscuits for £2.99 and, again, left very little of it.
And with a large Americano at £2.25 and a large Pepsi at £2.70 for me, and a bottle of pinot rose for Margaret at £10.38, this was a definite winner at a respectable £52.07.
The Broomside Park may have been a rare excursion for us, but it certainly did not disappoint.
And I doubt it will be the last time we call there.