Award-winning Feathers Inn, near Stocksfield
Posted: 11 Oct 2009
Awards galore for the Feathers Inn, Stocksfield
My friend Diane is not going to thank me for this, but journalistic duty requires me to tell you about the Feathers Inn in Hedley-on-the-Hill, Stocksfield.
This gem of a place is far too good to stick under the Ďgastropubí label Ė itís an absolutely top-notch restaurant within a pub.
Long-standing aficionados like Diane want to keep it under their hats Ė not least because itís already hard to get a table despite its off-the-beaten-path location Ė but really the secret is already out.
The Feathers has a string of awards under its belt and it recently featured in a double-page spread in the Sun, so any semblance of anonymity is well and truly blown.
Itís big on local sourcing, going further than most places by providing a list of suppliers and a map on the back of the menu. Animal welfare is also a big part of the restaurantís policy and it has just won an innovation award by the RSPCA.
Six of us (including Diane) went recently on a sunny Wednesday evening and the place was fully booked.
The menu changes daily, but as a flavour of the kind of food on offer, our tableís starter choices included home-made black pudding with poached free range egg and devilled gravy, potted North Sea brown shrimps and local mushrooms on toast with garlic and cider. All scrumptious, but the black pudding was the biggest hit, with everyone plunging in their forks for a try.
Main courses included North Sea turbot with baby artichokes (my choice: freshest fish, proper artichokes, plenty of it, truly lovely). Others chose roast grouse with cabbage and bacon, braised beef in local Wylam stout (melting) and slow-cooked lamb shank (likewise).
Everything comes with its own veg and the portions are generous so thereís not much need to order extra sides.
For dessert I had marmalade suet pudding with vanilla custard Ė a fantastic grown-up version of schooldays comfort puds which won our vote as the best of the night Ė poached pear and almond tart and damson cream with meringue.
The cheeses here are local, varied and delightful.
Four bottles of wine, two red at about £15 and two white at £17 and the bill came to around £190 for six.
The Feathersí many awards (as well as the most recent one from the RSPCA) include Northumbria dining pub of 2008 and 2009.
All deserved. Itís a bit remote from most places but itís well worth the detour. Try it Ė you wonít be disappointed. Just donít tell Diane you read about it here.
Main road, Hedley-on-the-hill, Stocksfield, Northumberland, NE42 7SW.
Tel 01661 843607