REVIEW: The Lambton Worm, North Road, Chester-le-Street

The Lambton Worm
The Lambton Worm
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It’s fitting that you walk through a Union Flag-painted door to enter this venue.

Inside, the bar area is a tasteful tribute to the English countryside: dark wood panelling and nods to country pursuits. It feels very much like one of those great pubs you stumble across quite by accident on a country walk.

The restaurant area of The Lambton Worm

The restaurant area of The Lambton Worm

You can choose to eat from the bar food menu here, which is an informal offering of country pub classics such as a Ploughman’s plate and steak and ale pie to burgers and cod and chips.

We chose to dine in the restaurant area. Though still relaxed, it has a more traditional restaurant layout and its own decor. It’s lighter and airier than the cosy snugs of the bar, with a red and gold theme and signed celebrity memorabilia on the walls.

Even the place mats have a quirky touch and are made from wooden slabs of wine crates.

The menu is as British as the front door. And if you want to know just how British, it tells you. The menu proudly shouts about its local suppliers. You can’t get much fresher than meat that’s reared less than 20 miles from your plate, as is the case with the Dropswell Farm sharing platter. For £13.95, you get a selection of cured, dried and smoked meats from the Dropswell Farm shop in Trimdon Village.

One of the burgers at Lambton Worm

One of the burgers at Lambton Worm

Elsewhere on the starters menu, there are some more unusual offerings than most, such as pigeon breast and poached pear (£6.95) and Macsween’s haggis en croute (£6.95).

A great touch for beer lovers is the accompanying suggestion for ales and beers alongside each dish, which are also locally sourced, at the venue’s own Sonnet 43 brewery to be precise.

As a non-beer drinker – yes, some of us exist – I had to take the menu’s word for it that my starter of crab risotto would be complemented by an Indian pale ale.

But, as this restaurant is housed under the same roof as a pub, there’s a vast range of other tipples to wet your whistle.

Back to the food, my starter was at the pricier end of the list at £7.45, but it was large enough to serve as a light main meal. A generous portion of creamy, dense rice punctuated with the lighter nuances of crab meat was topped off with a satisfying dollop of mascarpone cheese.

Mains choices are also a filling affair with options such as lamb shank (£16.95), wild mushroom tagliatelle (£10.95) and smoked haddock florentine (£14.95).

I chose the 8oz grand reserve fillet of beef, which is priced £20.95. It’s served with tomato, mushrooms and double dipped chips.

I’d opted for it rare and as I sliced into the thick chunk of meat, it was perfectly pink. I’d chosen a peppercorn sauce, but the meat was so tender and tasty, it didn’t need any additional flavouring.

Though I had zero complaints about my dish, I couldn’t help eyeing up my friend’s burger, a toppling tower of beef burger, mozzarella, cheddar and bacon that she had to grapple with both hands to sink her teeth into.

This meal was certainly the best of British.