Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time Passes Slowly Here

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Time Passes Slowly Here

Article excerpt

Byline: By Geoff Laws

Durham, with its cathedral rising majestically above staggered rooftops, is a picturesque city.

We slipped into Claypath, looking for the Age Bar and Kitchen restaurant, but the winding road apparently prevented slowing down and we drove straight past everything and into the multi-storey. The walk back was calmer and, without much help from the pale sign, we eventually found it.

Once inside we wound our way up and through an intriguing labyrinth to our table in the attic.

Seated and settled, I was pleased to see a restricted menu, by which I mean seven of everything, not a 101 ways to do chicken that instantly raises concerns about the ingredients' freshness. Each dish was described in simple terms and choosing was equally straightforward.

We ordered and waited. Nothing came except a bizarre bowl of sliced teacake until, 20 minutes later, our starters arrived.

Seared tuna carpaccio with lime sauce mousseline for her and, the irresistibly named, pork and Elsdon goat faggots with toasted pinenuts for me. It's years since I've seen faggots on a menu and these reminded me how good this humble dish can be. A fresh tomato sauce gave a great range of sweet, herby flavours that complemented the meaty faggots.

The tuna was just as it should be, softly seared with the flesh au naturel. The mousseline could have been more citric, but well-dressed salad leaves added colour and texture to this accomplished dish.

Another l-o-n-g wait followed, during which most of the wine disappeared, before our main courses arrived. My sautAed pigeon breast with black pudding and baby turnip was very good. The livery meat, pink and soft hearted, came with a dark sauce enriched with the meaty pudding. The turnips were too bitter, but a dish of steamed, glazed vegetables gave plenty of other choices.

My companion's marble pasta with clams, pancetta and broad beans with Noilly Pratt was not going so well. The egg and spinach tagliatelli was distinctly undercooked. A bland cream sauce covered soft lardons, pale green beans and clams. The lack of savour in the sauce and the chewy pasta didn't appeal and most of it was left ( at pounds 15. …

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