Have you ever had Sunday lunch in a 12th-century Abbot’s dining room? If not, then there are plenty of reasons why you should visit The Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland for a Sunday roast! Set at the heart of a lovely village on the Northumberland/County Durham boundary, The Lord Crewe Arms is a quaint building that was once home to the pious Canons of Blanchland, but now offers hospitality and great food to all those visiting the area.
We could not think of a better way of celebrating my Dad’s 50th birthday than by having a banquet-style Sunday lunch at The Good Pub Guide’s ‘Inn of the Year 2018’. After exploring the lovely little village of Blanchland, which has been built with the stones taken from the original Blanchland Abbey, we went through to the ‘The Crypt’ bar, which was full of character and good booze! Armed with tankards of ‘Lord Crewe’s Brew’ and glasses of prosecco, our party of 9 were led through to the downstairs dining room and seated at our fireside table.
The way Sunday lunch is served at The Lord Crewe Arms is quite unique, and I really think it will be the way forward for groups gathering for a proper roast. You can choose whether to go for the option of two courses, or three courses, and each course is served to the table on large platters or plates from which you help yourself! I really enjoyed this communal style of dining, as it was a real talking point around the table and we all just had a really good laugh. The starter course consisted of three dishes: a warming shot of spiced soup (very tasty), a mixed carrot salad (pleasant but not altogether my cup of tea), and a haggis sausage roll with a lovely glaze (the star of the show!)
Now, the part we had all been looking forward to – the main course! Although we were already feeling pretty jolly after a fair few celebration drinks and tankards of house brew, you could not wipe the smiles off our faces as the Sunday roast platters were presented to us by the attentive waiting staff. Dishes full of good-sized, golden Yorkshire puddings, buttery cabbage, root vegetable mash, parsnips and fluffy roast potatoes – what’s not to like? Each platter is served with a trio of meats, and I am quite honestly struggling to pick a favourite. The pork was tender with crispy crackling, the beef was served pink and had a beautiful BBQ flavour to it, and the chicken was described by many at the table as, ‘how chicken used to taste’! The teapots full of gravy were a fantastic touch, and very soon there were clean plates all round.
People who have read my previous Sunday lunch reviews will know that I don’t do these occasions by halves, so of course we ordered dessert. I was feeling rather full by this point, but made sure I had a little try of each dish. The sea buckthorn posset was unusual but nice and creamy, the chocolate mousse with fruit and nut granola was yummy, but the sticky toffee pudding definitely pipped the other desserts to the post!
After indulging in a couple of espresso martinis and other after-dinner drinks back in ‘The Crypt’, we decided to try and walk off a bit of our feast in the gardens of the Lord Crewe. It was a beautiful, wintery day, and we all enjoyed taking in the countryside air and the beautiful gardens just as much as Lottie the cockapoo did!
I have written a fair few reviews about Sunday lunches over recent months, but I think The Lord Crewe Arms have created something quite special. The history of the building and its décor adds a warmth to the whole experience, and the little touches like the priest’s hide hole in the fireplace went a long way with me. This, on top of the friendly hospitality and great food, make The Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland my ultimate Sunday lunch recommendation for 2018! After reading New Girl in Toon’s post about her staycation at the Lord Crewe, I cannot wait to return in the Summer to stay at the hotel and to enjoy all the delights Blanchland, the North Pennines and The Lord Crewe have to offer once again.