Monday 17 November 2014

St Marys Inn, Stannington

My favourite place in the North East to rest and relax is, without a doubt, Jesmond Dene House.  Simon and I are a little obsessed with their afternoon teas, love their luxurious accommodation and enjoy unwinding by the fire with a coffee after a walk in the Dene.  So when Jesmond Dene House announced they were working on a new project I was more than a little excited.

St Mary's Inn is a Gastro Pub just off the A1 in Stannington and is Jesmond Dene House's first ever stand alone project.

So you can imagine how happy I was to be invited to St Mary's to take a look round and try out the menu. 

I took fellow food fan Shivani with me and, after finding ourselves slightly lost in the fog, we were very pleased when we turned a corner to see the happy glow of lights at the Inn welcoming us out of the cold.


We were greeted warmly at the bar and began our visit with a little look round the bedrooms. There are a total of 11 rooms and each one is individually furnished.  

The rooms are beautiful with comfortable looking beds, ornate wardrobes and huge bathrooms. Simple and homely, there's no doubt that a stay at St Mary's Inn would be a bit of a treat. 

One of the things I love most about the Inn is its celebration of the region. The upstairs halls are decorated with colourful paintings of Northumbrian landscapes painted by Judy Appleby.  The walls of the bar proudly display Norman Cornish artwork from the Northumbria University Gallery and comic strips created especially for St Mary's by David Haldane, a Morpeth resident whose work you may already know from The Times.  If you're a regular to Jesmond Dene House you may also recognise the work of Gary Tiplady, whose gorgeous wire dogs are positioned by the fires round the property.


The bar at St Mary's is spread across a few areas, each one with a roaring fire and plenty of space for a drink with family and friends.   You can also bring along your dog, and on our visit we were welcomed by a friendly Labrador, and drink custom-made "St Mary's Ale" from the Wylam Brewery.  

They also boast a private dining room, plenty of outside space for drinks in the Summer time and a large restaurant area. 

After all that exploring we were ready for some food so settled ourselves down in the restaurant.

Despite having only been open for a week there were plenty of people sitting down for some dinner so I can only imagine how popular it's going to get!

We were very excited to finally get our hands on the menu having seen so many teaser photos of delicious food on social media.

The menu had an ideal amount of choice with some really delicious sounding dishes to appeal to everyone.  

Keeping it in the family, Chef, Shaun Hurrell is a former Sous Chef of Jesmond Dene House so I was expecting the food to be fantastic. 

I went vegetarian for the evening and ordered Ricotta Dumplings, Winter Squash and Brown Butter. I don't even know where to begin in telling you how amazing my meal was.  The flavours were beautiful and I was trying desperately hard not to eat too quickly because I wanted it to last forever. 

Shivani chose the Cumberland Sausage, Mash and Roast Onions and really enjoyed her meal too. My clever friend also ordered some cauliflower cheese on the side which she kindly shared with me. It was a very generous serving, thick with the most creamy cheese. I think I'll have to order this as a side each time I go.    

Dessert was an easy decision, having seen many photos on Twitter, I'd been desperate to get my hands on a Banoffee Doughnut so was very happy it was on the menu. It also comes on the bar snack menu which is amazing. I love the idea of curling up by a fire in the bar with a glass of wine and a doughnut.

Having dreamt about this dessert for weeks it obviously had a lot to live up to.   Luckily it exceeded my expectations and was absolutely amazing.

Shivani opted for the Brewers Malt Profiteroles which were slightly different to the traditional with crunchy shells and ice-cream filling.  I particularly enjoyed the jug of hot chocolate sauce that was served with it and may have cheekily poured some of it onto my donut.

All of the food at St Mary's is locally sourced with some even being grown in the garden and orchard at the Inn.  Staff at the Inn have spent time meeting with the food producers and photos from their excursion are displayed on the walls of the restaurant - a happy reminder of the care and quality of each dish. 

We had the most amazing time at St Mary's Inn and I'm so excited about the future of this little gem in the countryside, I can't wait to return.

St Mary's Inn kindly treated us to a free dinner but I promise you this is a truthful review .. I have been banging on about that Banoffee Doughnut to anyone who will listen ever since my visit. 


  1. The food looks amazing and always check twitter and blogger reviews for photos to help me decide what to have too!!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

  2. That Banoffee Doughnut sounds like my perfect dessert. In fact everything you ordered looks amazing! I love places like these which are so traditional, local and cosy, but have the most amazing, well presented food on offer!

    Imogen // imogenscribbles

  3. Ahh so quaint and cosy! The food looks delicious too! x

    Under Blue Lights

  4. Those wire dogs are cute and the profiteroles look amazing

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

  5. Wow - that food looks amazing. As do the rooms to be fair.

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

  6. I always rely on reviews to work out if somewhere is worth bothering about. My love locally sourced food that is supporting the area. Your main looks delicious good choice. What can I say about that doughnut wowee Lucy x

  7. The whole place looks brilliant, food and rooms! I've always wanted to visit Newcastle, and posts like this are convincing me that I need to go soon!

    Rachel x
    The Inelegant Wench

  8. Oh this looks fantastic! A banoffee doughnut - bloody amazing! The rooms look charming too, what a great place to stay and eat.


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