REVIEW: The Coach & Horses, Butchers Race, Croxdale, Durham

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IT’S not often that quality, quantity and friendly service are all provided at the same venue.

But it’s pretty much a guarantee on every visit to the Coach and Horses at Croxdale in County Durham - little more than a 30-minute drive from Hartlepool.

I am always impressed by its homely feel and bright and welcoming conservatory area.

Jus as impressive is its links to history (Scottish and French soldiers were chased to the site of the pub during the Battle of Nevilles Cross in Durham City in 1346).

Despite the historical connections, this is a modern pub with a choice of great food. I opted for a starter of deep fried potato skins with chilli and garlic mayonnaise dips at £3.25. The platter was almost the size of a main course and worth every penny.

I loved it. The chilli dip was especially tangy. My wife Margaret opted for soup of the day (£2.75) - a vegetable broth. The best she’d ever tasted, she said, with huge chunks of carrot, potato and other veg.

Neither of us could resist the carvery for mains, at £10.98 for two people if ordered between 12pm and 9pm from Monday to Saturday.

I chose turkey as well as an enormous Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, carrots, cabbage and a delicious leek and onion gravy. Margaret had the beef with the same accompaniments and loved it as well. The great thing about the meal was, despite it being a carvery, each aspect was tasty.

I opted for orange and water to wash it all down. Margaret, in the absence of her favourite Irn Bru WKD, plumped for two halves of Woodpecker cider.

At £18.73, it was an absolute winner.