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“Eating Out” Northumberland Gazette April 2008

Gazette editor Paul Larking and his family were tempted to dine at Topsey Turveys restaurant in Warkworth by a dazzling array of desserts in the window.

“SUNDAY LUNCH” You can’t beat a bit of nostalgia – it brings back such happy memories! I was whisked back 30-odd years, when I saw the lunch menu at Topsey Turveys restaurant in the centre of Warkworth.

One of the last home-made steak and kidney puddings I’d had was the one my grandmother used to make when I was a lad…. I had a plate piled higher than me with suet pudding and meat that had been cooked the night before and left to stand to tenderise and infuse the gravy with a most wonderful flavour. … So when I spied homemade steak and kidney pudding among the choices, my head was sent in a spin of delightful recollections.

Topsey Turveys is attractive from the street for a different reason – a chiller unit crammed with deliciously –naughty desserts, all creamy and homemade. They dare you to walk past. Judging by the popularity of the place on Sunday, few could resist.

We had decided to book to avoid disappointment but could not get a table until 3.30pm. It was a modern version of the Old Curiosity Shop, although maybe “modern” is stretching a bit. There was a cornucopia of prints, paintings, framed Newcastle United cigarette cards and knick-knacks aplenty. A sideboard was adorned with an eclectic mix of items for sale – tumblers, a dipping set, a Pink Lady jacket. The whole place was like a large tombola stall.

Plastic flowers graced the bright yellow and orange plastic tablecloths. Tables were crammed in – it was cosy, quaint and homely, with some appropriately soothing music playing.

No sooner had the children sat down that they were presented with a basket of Play-Doh (hence the plastic tablecloths – clever!) and egg containing a fruity surprise. They felt immediately at ease.

Three roast dinners were available – beer with Yorkshire pudding, pore with stuffing or lamb with mint sauce – but with a full menu, overflowing to a specials sheet, from which to choose, we decided to have a change.

We all started with leek and potato soup .. It came with a hot, crusty roll and butter. The soup was very good – tasty without being overpoweringly peppery for the children. All bowls were licked clean!

My steak and kidney pudding landed with a familiar, unmistakeable and delicious aroma. I was instantly transported back decades. My grandma made the best pudding in the world, of course, but I have to say this came a very close second – some accolade. It was agreeably stodgy and packed with meat. The steak and gravy that didn’t fit inside the pudding was spread over the rest of the plate – I couldn’t have asked for more.

The vegetables (carrots, swede, mash, boiled potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower) too were plentiful and nicely-cooked .. It was a meal fit for someone with a colossal appetite.

My wife’s quest to find the top lasagne in north Northumberland almost reached a conclusion on Sunday. She chose her favourite dish and was bowled over by the whole experience. The lasagne and salad was equally homely and filling. It had just the right balance of meat and cheese, and was just what the doctor ordered after a heavy Saturday night (if you see what I mean!). The salad was an interesting mix of bright peppers, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and onions.. The children both had small portions of the roast beef. They enjoyed their meals.

Verdict : Quaint and truly scrumptious.

Topsey Turvey, Dial Place, Northumberland, Morpeth NE65 0UG     Tel : 01665 711338