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
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
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.
The Garden House Inn
0191 386 3395