Garden House Inn, Durham

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Garden House Inn, Durham

Garden House Inn, Durham

Posted: 19 Jul 2014

It’s three years since Adrian Grieves launched a new career running a pub at the Garden House Inn in Durham – and he’s clearly loving every minute.


The engineering boss’s attention to detail has been applied with steely precision to his new venture.


He and son Nick, who runs the kitchen with a team of passionate young chefs, serve up fine British pub grub, local and guest hand-pulled ales – including beers such as Black Sheep and Timothy Taylor. There’s also a nice selection of carefully-chosen wines including sensibly-priced Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Malbec.


Adrian loves his music and the tunes playing on the pub’s sound system – what would be described in the States as AOR or adult- oriented rock – are as tasteful as the ambience of the pub. In fact they help define its mood – rustic, down-to-earth and relaxed.


The bar has a wooden-beamed ceiling and old wooden floors, candlelit tables, and – in a raised area in the corner – cosy armchairs and sofas hug a roaring real fire in the winter.


The bar menu is simple and unfussy with tasty main dishes such as minute sirloin steak with tarragon emulsion, watercress and chips at £9, a melt-in-your-mouth beef and ale pie with chive mash and savoy cabbage at £11, or a wonderfully tender 7-hour lamb shank, heritage carrots and celeriac mash, port at £12.


Several dining partners swear by the haddock and chips with crushed garden peas and tartare sauce, and the scampi and chips also go down a treat.


Even Adrian’s pricing is precise – there’s no £8.95s or £11.95s here to trick you into thinking you’re getting a non-existent bargain like other rivals. Lunch is served 12-2.30pm during the week and 12-5.30pm on Sundays, and dinner is 5.30-9.30pm.


In a town-and-gown city, academics and locals frequent the bar, as you would expect. CAMRA enthusiasts can sample up to six hand-pulls and continental lagers. The beer is well-kept and the fonts are sparkling clean.


But the inn also caters for visitors with six guest rooms – doubles are priced at £85 per night and family rooms for three people are £95. And just 10 minutes from Durham train station and less than a mile from the city centre and tourist attractions like the Cathedral, the place is proving popular with out-of-town-and gowners too.


More ambitious tasting menus and an a la carte offering are also to be had in a large conservatory dining area at the back of the inn. The specials changes on a daily basis according to what is in season. I’ll certainly be back in due course to give those a try.

Michael Hamilton

The Garden House Inn

Framwellgate Peth



0191 386 3395 

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