The New Inn at Thornton-le-Dale may be one of those pubs you have driven past a hundred times and never ventured into.
Set on the corner of the main square, the pub doesn’t give away much from the outside, but when you do take a look inside, you’re greeted with a welcoming interior that is traditional, but without the claustrophobic feel that can sometimes be a feature of old pub buildings.
We visited on a very warm Friday evening, and were pleasantly surprised at how light and airy it was inside.
The outdoor area to the rear was packed with people enjoying a drink in the summer sunshine.
It was a good job we’d booked a table as the pub was very busy, with lots of holidaymakers in the area for the start of the school break.
I’d looked at the New Inn’s menu before, but never eaten at the pub, and the choice of food seemed better than I remembered. I would say the prices are at the mid to high end of the range as far as pub food goes, but, as we were to find out, it is well worth it.
Nibbles, such as marinated olives and black pudding fritters with sweet chilli dip, are on offer for £2.50.
Starters are around the £6 to £7 mark, with choices including grilled goat’s cheese croute ((£5.95), seafood platter (£6.95) and home-made chicken liver and brandy pate (£6.25).
As tempting as they sounded, we went straight to the main courses – part of our usual plan of leaving room for dessert.
We were spoilt for choice, both on the main menu and specials board.
Pub favourites such as beef and real ale stew (£10.95) and trio of Cumberland sausages and mash (£9.95) sit alongside more summery dishes such as grilled halloumi on a roasted pepper and sun-dried tomato salad (£10.95) and roast pepper stuffed with cous cous and feta cheese (£9.95).
I opted for the halloumi salad and my mum chose the beer battered haddock with chips and peas (£10.95).
The food arrived quickly, even though the pub was busy, and everything was beautifully presented.
My salad was delicious – perfect for the warm day – and the zingy lime dressing was spot-on. The accompanying crispy potatoes were a tasty addition.
The fish and chips were cooked to perfection, with light, crispy batter and fluffy, golden chips. The only scraps left on our plates were a couple of onion rings, which I’d ordered as a side dish and which turned out to be a more sizable portion than expected.
The dessert menu was also a sight to behold, with iced raspberry parfait, lemon posset, white chocolate cheesecake, Eton Mess, sticky toffee pudding and a crumble of the day (all £4.95).
Unable to decide, I opted for a trio of raspberry parfait, lemon posset and cheesecake (£7.95) with my mum choosing the classic Eton Mess.
The desserts were stunning, with the trio so beautifully presented it seemed a shame to tuck into it. But every element was delicious, especially the tangy yet creamy lemon posset with a crumbly, home-made shortbread biscuit.
The meal (£36.80 with two soft drinks) was a delight from start to finish – we will be back.
Menu choice 9