Review: Oldfields, Claypath, Durham

editorial image
Have your say

OLDFIELDS was a meal of two halves.

Situated in the shadow of Durham Gala Theatre, this eaterie’s got a cracking reputation and is always bustling with pre-theatre diners.

Its evening menu is pretty impressive, boasting British dishes such as rabbit and black pudding casserole (£16.95); beef, carlingford oyster and ale pie (£16.75) and starters which sound like little culinary gems, such as Hodgsons smokehouse kipper pate on toast (£6.75).

It all sounded very delicious and different, but I think I chose badly.

On a rare lieu day from Echo Towers, I took Ma Wheeler along for a Tuesday afternoon lunch.

We were two of only a sprinkling of diners, so we had no problems getting a seat and the service was attentive and friendly.

After all the hype I’d heard about Oldfields, however, my meal proved a bit of a damp squib.

We chose from the lunch and earlybird menu which is purse-friendly with two courses for £11 or three courses for £14.

As it was a lunchtime, I didn’t fancy anything heavy and feeling distinctly unadventurous I ordered one of the sandwiches – Keen’s mature cheddar and pickle, served with chips and salad for £5.50.

The salad was fresh and zingy, but the bread was tough, chewy and contained a scraping of pickle and a mere sprinkling of cheddar.

Granted, a sandwich is an uninspired choice, but it’s still important to get the basics right.

My mother’s more adventurous choice, however, was a success.

She’d chosen the smoked haddock Pan Haggerty which oozed flavour.

Her pudding too was just divine. If I went back, I’d definitely order the rhubarb fool so I could have one to myself.

With drinks our bill came to £23.15 with a service charge of £2.89 added to it.

Personally, I hate these discretionary charges, it’s embarrassing to ask for them to be removed and I’d much rather decide for myself if I want to leave a tip.

Despite my meal fail, the excellent meal chosen by my mum would be enough to lure me back.