Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Wellwood, Amble - Best Sunday Lunch Campaign Review

That's it, we've visited and experienced a lunch at each of the four finalists in our Campaign to find Northumberland's Best Sunday Lunch. The finalists came top in our nomination process that consisted of well over a thousand votes and recommendations from Your Northumberland Guide visitors. I won't be scoring the finalists in the usual style of my reviews as I wouldn't like to give away the winner until the big announcement on Saturday 26th November. All four finalists offer a spectacular lunch and come extremely highly recommended. Lets get the reviews underway with:

The Wellwood in Amble
Located in the Harbour Town of Amble, famous for being 'The Friendliest Port' The Wellwood, sister restaurant to the award winning Zecca, is a relatively new addition to Northumberland's eating establishments. It's just a short distance from the harbour area, with it's wonderful views of the Coquet Estuary and out to sea towards the Coquet Island. This makes a lovely pre or post lunch walk and the beaches of Amble Links and Warkworth are easily within striking distance. It's a stunning part of Northumberland's heritage coastline, so The Wellwood has a big job on it's hands if it is going to live up to it's fantastic location. The nomination process revealed just how much community support The Wellwood has already managed to gather and we arrived to a buzzing restaurant and bar area.

We received a warm welcome from the staff behind the bar and were shown to our reserved table in the restaurant area. The lady who seated us was extremely friendly and gave us our menus, what a lovely introduction to the Wellwood it was. The Sunday lunch menu is diverse and we were pleased to see that the provenance of the meats were clearly marked and there is an obvious commitment to sourcing ingredients locally. The starters that our group went for included the home-made mushroom soup and a smoked salmon roulade, both of which were excellent. The salmon roulade in particular was a highlight of the meal with generous portion sizes and a beautiful, plentiful dressing.

Moving on to the main event, it's what we have come for, the roast itself. We chose to sample both the beef and the pork from the main menu and were frankly gob-smacked when it arrived. One of the largest Yorkshire Puddings I have ever seen adorned a huge amount of meat, which was itself sat on potatoes and crushed carrot and swede. Roast potatoes surrounded the tower in the centre of the plate and a shard of crispy crackling stood proudly in the centre of the pork dish. Then the vegetables arrived, served in three separate bowls along with a jug of gravy. There was barely enough room on the table for everything and I can honestly say I have never seen as much food served for a single course in a restaurant! It was very nice to see extra gravy brought out as a matter of course, getting these little things right means you can just get on with your meal and not have to keep asking for things. This goes for the service as well, which was discrete, friendly and efficient throughout our meal.

The beef was plentiful and tender and the pork was a sliced tenderloin, which is rather unusual for a Sunday roast. The vegetables were cooked well and extremely tasty, the only slight disappointment for me were the parsnips which had an unusual herby perfume that I couldn't quite identify. I'd love to know what it was as I certainly haven't tasted that flavour combination before. The amount of food provided was just a little too much for this rather large appetite, there were a tiny few vegetables left over after we had all had our fill. What an experience this main course was, an assault on both the senses and the appetite in equal measures. There is just no way that any of us could have eaten a dessert after such a generous main course so we are unable to comment on them. I didn't actually see another dessert brought out to any of the tables around us, so maybe we weren't the only ones that were full to bursting point! The cost for this two course Sunday lunch was £12.95 and had we dared to brave a pudding it would have been £15.95, with extremely reasonably priced drinks.

Highlight: The wonderful smoked salmon roulade starter and the magnificent portion sizes throughout.
Lowlight: My dad moaning that he was too full to do up his coat when we left!

It is clear that The Wellwood has quickly become established as the place to go for a great meal in the area. The staff seemed to know almost of all of the people that came through the door, a sure sign of popularity and a good, regular, and most importantly loyal customer base. This restaurant is just what Amble has been waiting for!

Contact Details
The Wellwood
High Street
NE65 0LD

TEL 01665 714646
WEB www.thewellwood.co.uk
EMAIL info@thewellwood.co.uk

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