The Italian Farmhouse is based in West Rainton which is a small village a mere 5 minute drive outside of Durham City centre, just off the A690 with access to both the A1 and A19.
We rocked up at 1.55 on a Saturday lunch time and lunch is stopped at 2.30. We weren’t hopeful as it was a spur of the moment visit but we were welcomed in and seated by the very pleasant, chatty staff.
The inside of the restaurant had a very rustic décor and did indeed have the feel of an Italian farmhouse. The table settings and tableware were visually appealing and had the right balance between rustic and modern and there is a large conservatory seating area which was lovely and airy.
As we perused the menu we were presented with fresh breads and a selection of oils and dips, along with red pepper butter. Chilli oil dip, Pesto and Garlic oil dip were all delicious and very well made. The chilli had a nice kick to it and the garlic, that was just straight up perfection. I wish all my meals started with it!
We opted for the lunch time special and picked 2 courses each from the lunch time set menu.
Mr Tramp had soup of the day – Zuppa del giorno (£2.85) which was Minestrone. Served with a slice of toasted home made ciabatta, the rich tomato broth was full of vegetables and pasta and was seasoned perfectly.
I had the Bruschetta el pomodoro (£3.60). On first appearances, the presentation made it too good to eat but I jumped in to the plate and I wasn’t disappointed. Juicy fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs tossed together in and oil and vinegar mix were piled high on a generous wedge of ciabatta and salad leaves. The balsamic vinegar reduction used to decorate added a sweet flavour.
For mains we chose the Contandino (£5.95) Cream, wild mushrooms and garlic tossed with chicken and pancetta served with our choice of penne. Very flavourful and unique. Not as sickly or heavy as a carbonara, the garlic and wild mushrooms added depth.
The sauce for my Spaghetti Bolognese (£5.95) was rich and generous with the meat. The thick sauce clung to the pasta well and provided a hit of red wine and garlic with every bite.
Our only complaint is we would have loved some extra bread to mop up all those left over juices at the bottom of our pasta bowls! Greed us eh!
We skipped dessert but for the 2 starters, 2 mains, a pint of draught Moretti and a pint of coke, the total bill was £25.05 which I think is very reasonable considering the brilliant quality. The Italian Farmhouse is aiming high and hits that mark well. Impeccable service, classy presentation, high quality food and tasteful setting. It is well worth a visit.