The first thing you'll want to know about St Mary's is that it's not, despite what the website says, in Morpeth, or not quite, anyhow. The second is that merely boshing the postcode into your sat nav may, depending on your model and how recently you have updated it, result in disaster. Kasia is from this neck of the Northumbrian woods so we had a head start. When the Garmin wanted to send us down a one-track lane in entirely the wrong direction we knew better. Pro tip: locate the place on your choice of mapping application and guide yourself in using that.
St Mary's Inn is set in what was the administrative building of a former lunatic asylum which closed in 1995. This is a open goal for anyone writing about the place because you can say things like "and you'd have to be mad not to order the foie gras!!", but I'm above that sort of thing, thankfully. Actually: is it still ok to say lunatic asylum? Was it ever? I don't want to offend any lunatics among my loyal readership, that's for sure. Tell you what, let's just say that the place where we had some Sunday lunch recently is housed in what used to be a psychiatric institution and move on shall we? Great. Phew!
Regardless of its heritage St Mary's is really quite nice inside, as you'd expect from the same crew that operate Jesmond Dene House. There's a bar/pub bit, and then what seemed like endless small dining rooms. The chalk-tone painted walls of the one we were sat in were puctuated with an interesting array of pictures. Some of bees and honey, some of vegetables, and some, if I remember correctly, of gorillas. I didn't see any gorilla on the menu, so their inclusion was a puzzle.
This meal marked the denouement of a weekend of fairly serious gluttony, so we limited ourselves to but two courses. I had my eye on the English onion soup, but other people wanted puddings, so I gave way. I'm so thoughtful!
Pork or beef? Beef or pork? Beef is the safer choice of Sunday roast, as bad beef is better than bad pork. However, great roast pork is better (and I understand that this is a contentious subject, but I'm right, so it's fine) than great roast beef, making it the gambler's choice. When the meat is dense and dark, the fat creamy and the crackling glassy, pig is very much where shit is at. I decided I was feeling lucky, so rolled the dice, and came up smelling of roses. And roast pork.
|Steamed orange and treacle pudding, vanilla ice cream|
|Apple and dark forest fruit crumble, vanilla custard|
We agreed afterwards that two courses had been enough, and jolly enjoyable they had been too. I can vouch for the Sunday afternoon performance at St Mary's, although as this was the first time we'd been, I can't comment on anything else they do. I've heard wildly varying reports, so let me know what you thought in the comments if you've been lately. Certainly they've had a bit of a to-do about retaining chefs. Shaun Hurrell was, if I remember right, installed as head chef here when it opened, before leaving quick sharp in order to do his Mexican thing (Barrio Comida opens
Anyway, if you fancy a Sunday roast you can rely on in comfortable surroundings, St Mary's seems a good choice. You'd have to be mad...no, not worth it.
St Mary's Inn
St Mary's Lane
St Mary's Park
01670 293 293