Posted: 02 Sep 2013
provenance is the buzzword of the foodie world these days, then the buzz at
Battlesteads in Wark must be deafening.
the restaurant sources its herbs, salads and most of its vegetables literally
from its own backyard where over an acre of the garden has been turned over to
the cultivation of fruit and veg. Food miles – zero.
fish and other foodstuffs also come from as nearby as possible.
insistence on local sourcing along with a range of other environmentally-sound
policies at this enterprising and award-winning establishment – also a pub and
small hotel – puts a huge tick in the ‘green’ box which many visitors seek.
their website (below) for details: I’m here to write about the food!
last-minute visit on a warm late summer evening saw us enjoy a glass of real
ale in the bar of this lovely old stone building before heading for a table in
the large, airy conservatory looking out onto the beautifully-tended walled garden
which was dappled in sunshine.
opted for two starters – Thai beef salad followed by whole baby lemon sole with
a side of garden salad. My husband chose from the set menu of £23.50 for two
courses, starting with lentil soup with ribeye steak to follow.
a sucker for Thai food, but it’s a difficult road for chefs to tread in
traditional eateries where most of the cuisine is British: too authentic and
you risk alienating your more conservative customers, but too anglicised and
you lose the distinctive blend of flavours that made you choose it in the first
place. The chef at Battlesteads struck a happy middle ground with the tastes of
several ingredients including basil and lemongrass that you’d expect in such a
dish (fresh from the polytunnel a few yards away: I know – I saw it with my own
eyes), but not too much chilli (also grown here) and fabulously fresh leaves
with a tangy dressing. Yum.
husband’s soup was equally well-appreciated: a rustic, not too smooth soup
packed with a smoked bacon flavor and served with crusty bread.
baby lemon sole was absolutely correctly done – a classic rendering of the
whole fish on a buttery sauce with a sprinkling of capers. The ribeye steak was
tasty and juicy and came with a Caesar salad and frites with a dash of
very good – but I haven’t mentioned the salad yet. It’s not often you coo over
a handful of leaves in a bowl but coo I did over this lovely mix topped with
edible flowers, all fresh from the garden (I have mentioned this before) and a
serving of mustard dressing in a little jug, so you could dress the salad according
to taste (I’m not sure why more places don’t do this).
was no room for pudding afterwards – a shame as I’m told they’re home-made by
the co-owner and have had good reviews in the past. Next time.
with this kind of quality on offer, there will be a next time.
our meal came to £60 which included a meaty bottle of Malbec and a tip.
Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant
Wark on Tyne
TEL: +44 (0)1434 230 209