Going out for Sunday lunch around once a month has become a bit of a habit for me and Alex, and what better Sunday to treat ourselves than Easter Sunday? We wanted somewhere that was within a reasonable driving distance of our hut at Hesleyside Huts, Bellingham, and somewhere with a reputation for great Sunday roasts. Suddenly I remembered an occasion a few years ago, where my family and I visited Vallum Farm for ice cream in the Ice Cream Parlour, and were insanely jealous of everyone heading upstairs to delicious smells of roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings! Remembering that made the decision very, very easy.
Vallum Farm is a community of food producers and artisans, passionate about locally-grown food, who have congregated on this family farm to create a really wonderful site dedicated to showcasing the best of Northumberland’s produce. Set within the stunning Hadrian’s Wall country, the Tea Room and Ice Cream Parlour, as well as the Restaurant and Chef’s Table have developed quite the reputation as the foodie gateway to Hadrian’s Wall!
Although Easter Sunday was a bit of a grey and miserable day, I vividly remember my visit to Vallum Farm a few years ago on a beautifully sunny day, and admiring God’s own country in all its glory. Since my last visit, a couple of giant yurts have been added to the surrounding scenery – I’ve since had a look at these Cloudhouse Glamping yurts online and they look really lovely.
We weren’t surprised to see that the Restaurant was busy, it was Easter Sunday after all and everyone was looking forward to a slap up roast dinner! The décor of the Restaurant itself is very understated and rustic, but really in-keeping with the fact that we were actually eating at a restaurant on a farm. The Sunday roast offerings were roast pork, chicken and stuffing, roast beef, a lamb confit special, or a sharing board of all the meats! After a fantastic sharing-style Sunday lunch at the Lord Crewe Arms in February, we were keen to see Vallum Farm’s take on this style.
Our Sunday lunch sharing board came on a long wooden tray, containing two sizeable, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, slices of pink roast beef, succulent cuts of chicken with balls of stuffing, some roast pork with fantastic crackling, a jug of rich gravy and some wonderfully crunchy roast potatoes and parsnips. Absolutely delightful! I am often disappointed by the vegetable selection offered when I go out for a Sunday roast, but Vallum Farm Restaurant really delivered on this front. The swede mash was seasoned just the right amount for me, the roast carrots were sweet and delicious, and the green beans and broccoli were cooked perfectly – just the right amount of crunch.
We were offered a whole array of sauces to accompany our different meats, and as well as apple sauce (my absolute favourite), I decided to ask for a touch of horseradish, which surprisingly I thought went well with the beautiful roast beef. I’m officially a horseradish convert!
In my opinion, a visit to Vallum Farm is not complete without trying some of the ice cream made in the Vallum Dairy! We were quite full after our Sunday lunch platter, so opted just to share a few scoops of ice cream for dessert. We went for vanilla, raspberry ripple and coffee – they were all so creamy and packed full of flavour! The coffee ice cream tasted just like my favourite summery drink: iced coffee. The raspberry ripple ice cream was delicious and took me back to sunny days when I was younger. I’m usually more of a chocolate ice cream kind of girl, but Vallum’s vanilla ice cream may have won me over for once.
The fact that the ingredients that went into our meal were, by and large, produced either on Vallum Farm or in the local area, just made our Sunday lunch experience even better. Home-grown and delicious! This is definitely somewhere to try out one Sunday, especially as we increasingly see sunnier days that can be enjoyed out in the Northumberland countryside with friends and family.