Denison Arms: Home-style food pulls in the crowds

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A few years back The Denison Arms was a regular haunt for the Bloomfield clan, but when the wife and I sauntered down to East Ayton it was our first visit for several months.

After waiting several minutes for a parking place to become available around the back of the pub, we soon saw it was standing room only apart from the table for two I had booked. This in itself is a great advert for the popularity of this hostelry.

With only one barman on duty it did take a while to get served, but when we eventually gathered up our drinks we were shown to our table in the main dining area.

The sizes of the portions for meals at The Denison are legendary; it is usually wise not to eat much – if anything – for lunch if you are aiming to dine out on an evening in the Ayton pub.

With this in mind we both decided to cut to the chase and order our main courses.

There is plenty of choice on the Denison menu, ranging from their very popular roast dinners to curries, steaks and pies among many other familiar contenders on a pub grub menu.

After much deliberation I opted for one of my favourites, the 8oz gammon steak with the trimmings – and there are plenty of them – for £8.95.

With this meal you also receive rustic chips, peas, a fried egg and a pineapple ring, grilled tomato, battered mushrooms, onion rings and a sausage as well as, with most Denison main meals, the usual slice of melon, homemade coleslaw, and salad.

My better half was unsure whether to choose the small mixed meat roast dinner or the lasagne but eventually decided on the latter, also £8.95.

The pasta dish arrived in its own dish and was also surrounded by the usual suspects, chips, peas, coleslaw, etc.

My main course was very tasty indeed, the gammon was cooked very well and although it was a battle to eat it all I did manage it.

The lasagne was also great home-style fare, and it seemed to be a hit with Mrs Bloomfield.

The only negative factor during the main courses was the side dish of battered parsnips, which were very wooden tasting as opposed to their usual melt-in-the-mouth consistency.

This unfortunately marred what would have been a very good main course.

After swift perusal of the dessert menu, we decided to sample the sweets, something that we rarely attempt due to the size of the main courses.

There is a decent selection of sweets, all of them priced at £3.95 except the special of the day, which on this occasion I went for, the Bailey’s cheesecake at £4.50.

My wife chose the chocolate brownie cheesecake.

Both were tasty, but mine was simply a regular cheesecake with a measure of Bailey’s poured over the top of it; I had expected a more imaginative approach such as the flavour being blended into the mixture.

The chocolate brownie version was superior, in my opinion, with a deep rich flavour throughout.

I imagine we will return to The Denison Arms at some time in the future, probably for a family get-together, as it delivers decent pub grub at a fair price, but I would possibly go elsewhere if it was an evening meal without the children.

Ratings (out of 10)

Food 7

Menu choice 8

Service 8

Decor 7

Ambience 7