REVIEW: The Court Inn, Court Lane, Durham City

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WITH exotic choices such as zebra meatballs and whole

With exotic choices such as zebra meatballs and whole roasted squirrel, I thought this unusually adventurous menu sounded familiar.

A quick check with the waitress confirmed that it was from the pen of Lord Trevor Davis, the flamboyant former chef at Copt Hill in Houghton who’s whipped up dishes for the likes of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and Princess Anne in the past.

Never afraid to walk on the culinary wild side, his trademark dishes are stamped firmly on the menu at Court Inn, which he runs with his family.

It’s not a menu you expect from a pub that’s traditional in its approach to decor: all tartan carpet, clashing curtains and nick nacks on the walls.

I visited with my friend on a lazy Sunday afternoon and we were welcomed by a warm, laid-back atmosphere.

It seemed particularly popular with students who were tucking into plates piled high with Sunday dinner. They weren’t too lairy, thankfully, probably still hungover from the night before.

Back to the menu, there’s reams of choice that you’d be hard-pushed to find elsewhere, such as snails, but also more classic pub grub such as hunters chicken.

We chose to share a baked camembert board (£8.95).

I’d forgotten about Lord Trevor’s belly-buster portions and the waitress was soon heading our way with a slab of wood laden with a huge round of

creamy cheese and wedge upon wedge of crusty bread to slather it with.

We tore into the paper to reveal the warm, gooey cheese which was so big it threatened to seep off the edge of the board.

It was great value for money and could have been a starter for three.

For mains, I chose the mini seafood platter (£14.50). Again, I really should have worn an elasticated waistband – it was huge. I didn’t know where to start with this fishy feast.

There were oysters, mussels, cockles, razor clams, langoustine, crayfish and more. I couldn’t finish it all.

Drinks prices are fair, especially for the centre of Durham, with a small glass of house white setting you back just £2.75 and cocktails starting from £4.50.

When it comes to providing hearty grub at good prices the Court Inn is guilty as charged.