/ Scotland2017

Review: The Cottage Inn, Dunstan, nr Craster, Northumberland

Rating: Good

Firstly, believe the signs! Yes, you do turn into the small woodland gravel road that seems to head into a forest. 50m later you will turn into a clearing that is the large pub car park. Gravel/clinker but pot-hole free and fairly flat. Some bits of tall hedging separate parts of the car park and campervans are encouraged to park towards the rear.

There's a large garden and adventure playground for kids but the pub itself is huge. The very name "Cottage Inn" conjurors up a vision of a small building with roses climbing up the walls and maybe a small cramped bar within. Not so this Cottage Inn, a large bar with integrated lounge, complete with TV is flanked by a large restaurant, whilst to the side of the "cottage" are several holiday apartments.

We had phoned ahead; no problem in staying over, so we settled into the bar. The 3 real ales all from Hadrian's Wall Brewery were in good condition. The food was excellent. I had fish and chips and Liz had a crab salad with a side of the excellent home-cooked chips. I have to say my haddock was as good as it gets, excellent fish in thin crispy batter. I've probably only had better fish and chips one or twice in my life!

So why the ”Good ” rating. Surely beer and food this food merits "Very Good" or even "Excellent". The pub caters for locals, walkers and itinerants such as ourselves; one local was very drunk, one dog got very loudly agitated when another entered the pub, two guests had to play their YouTube video so loud over the background (admittedly fairly quiet) TV that it became annoying. At 9:30ish there was an influx of locals and the bar became very rowdy.

Hey, I hear you say, it's a locals pub, you're the incomer, stop being so critical. I agree, the late evening crowd were fine and it was good to see the pub so full of life. But the drunk and barking dogs, no excuse if you want to attract itinerant revenue.

The car park was very quiet and no niose from the late night revelers. The pub was open early on a Sunday morning so the essential access to the toilets were no hassle.

Bottom line: a nice pub with excellent food but Saturday nights can be a bit loud so find a quiet corner if you just want to sit and read.