If there’s one thing that can make the husband happy is the promise of real ale and good food. When I told him I had grabbed a discounted ale tasting session at Sonnet43, you can just imagine his little happy face. Especially as the onsite restaurant Italian Farmhouse Kitchen is steps away from the bar.
As Sonnet43 is a Durham brewery, we thought it was only fitting to hop on over and try out what they had to offer.
I had foolishly bought the ale tasting for 2 people even though I don’t drink it as some places can be a little bit iffy about a non-drinking tagger along. Oh well, i’m sure he could drink it all.
The Sonnet 43 brewery is located in Coxhoe which is a mere 5 minutes from the A1 and is adjoined with an Italian Farmhouse. You may remember our review of our local Italian Farmhouse Kitchen HERE.
With the brew house named after Coxhoe’s most famous former inhabitant – Elizabeth Barret Browning. A noted Victorian poet who was most famous for her Sonnets, hence Sonnet 43
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
The award winning beers can be found in pubs across Durham and the North East so you’ll not have to look far if you want to try one. The service in the bar was a little surly but not enough to make you want to leave.
As Paul’s ale tasting was going so well, our thoughts inevitably turned to food. We weren’t planning on eating out but when we saw the Sunday lunches coming out, we instantly changed our minds and mosied on through to the main restaurant. Having previously been the Clarence Villa Pub, none of the old interior has remained. The bar is all rough wood and casual tables while the restaurant is super chic, light and airy. Certainly not something you’d expect to find hidden in the back rooms of a pub.
With quite a lot of ale to soak up, that the delicious complimentary bread and tapanades couldn’t quite reach, Paul took full advantage of the 666 offer. A choice of 6 starters, 6 pizzas and 6 pastas for £6.66. What a bargain right?
Potato skins followed by a 4 seasons pizza was basic and simple but well cooked and well done. Whilst not the best pizza either of us have had, the hand stretched base was light and crispy and there wasn’t a shortage on toppings. An absolute steal for the price – no doubt about it. Not just cheap but tasty too.
Having drooled over the Sunday lunches and the smell of the gravy, I ordered from the 2 course £9.95 menu. Calamari to start with a beef roast dinner.The squid was lightly dusted in a spicy coating which was delicious and lighter than the expected batter. A generous portion, I had to fight drunken grabby fingers from the other side of the table!
The beef was tender and certainly plenty of it. A side dish of fresh al dente vegetables accompanied the plate and it was a belly buster portion. The gravy was lush, you can’t beat proper thick home made gravy!
So all in all we were thoroughly impressed with our impromptu visit for food and drink and we probably would never have ventured down had it not been for the Groupon. This wasn’t a planned review trip, I hadn’t even thought about taking my camera!
One of us needed a nap after our visit….. I’ll let you decide who…….
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