Review: The Plough on the Hill, Allerdean
Following its Â£1.3million transformation and with a MasterChef winner at the helm in the kitchen, expectations are inevitably high at the Plough on the Hill.
We were invited to the reopening of the Allerdean venue on Friday night as curious drinkers and diners had their first chance to see what owners Robert Kingsley and Sarah Carmichael have overseen over the past nine months.
Their goal is to deliver a family-friendly gastropub experience, offering fine local produce in lavish surroundings.
They have brought on board Gary Maclean, winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2016, as executive chef.
The redevelopment is undeniably impressive with beautiful stonework creating a fine first impression, while children’s eyes will light up when they see the new play park built alongside.
There are also lovely outdoor seating areas offering fantastic views towards the Cheviots which will be a popular draw in the summer months.
However, we were here to find out whether the Plough on the Hill delivers on the dining front.
We were warmly welcomed and taken to our table, admiring the Turkish lampshades and African-themed artefacts we saw on the way and noting the live music being played in the corner.
The menu offers something for everyone, including the kids.
Our starters took a little while to arrive but that is perhaps to be expected given how busy the place was on opening night.
I opted for Foreman’s black pudding with runny egg and garlic potatoes which was great. It would make a hearty brunch dish with a strong coffee.
The rest of our party chose: A fresh and tasty spinach and feta with chick peas, pine nuts and Parmesan, which let the ingredients do the talking.
The Inka-grilled prawns with chorizo, peppers, chilli and focaccia were delicious and nicely spiced.
Douglas Flannigan’s handpicked Berwickshire white crab had a lovely citrus tang that didn’t overpower the delicate crab flavour. It was served with avocado and Granny Smith which added a nice texture.
On to the mains, I selected a 10oz sirloin steak served with chips, slow-cooked plum tomato, field mushroom and onion rings. This highlighted the worth of the Inka grill, giving the beef a chargrilled coating while remaining succulent and tender on the inside. Just perfect.
The chunky herb-crusted cod loin was wonderfully cooked, served with crushed pink fir apple potatoes, roasted red pepper coulis and a Mediterranean vegetable ratatouille.
The Moroccan seafood curry consisted of monkfish, king prawns, salmon, chick peas, sumac and coriander yogurt served with grilled flat bread. It was a very well balanced main course with succulent chunky pieces of fish and delicately flavoured flatbread.
The rump of lamb was very tasty and cooked as requested. It was served with tasty homemade chips, plum tomato, field mushroom and onion rings.
There were a selection of mouth-watering desserts to choose from.
There were compliments all round when we tucked into our choices – a rich chocolate and praline tart with raspberry sorbet, sticky toffee pudding with delicious caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream and a light banoffee cheesecake with caramelised banana and rum ice cream – although we swapped ours for vanilla.
Anyone expecting fine dining and silver service will be disappointed. That’s not what the Plough on the Hill is about.
It’s about good quality, well-cooked food, locally produced if possible and when in season, served up in a convivial atmosphere by pleasant staff and in beautiful surroundings.
There was a frenetic feel to proceedings on opening night but we’re sure that will settle down and we firmly believe the Plough on the Hill will prove very popular with diners for a long time to come.