The Kings Head Inn is the pub people refer to as ‘the one at the bottom of Roseberry Topping’. It’s the one which, after a rigorous hike up and down the North East’s famous hill you fall into for a well-deserved alcoholic refreshment. I had done this on many occasions, often sitting in the pretty garden from which you can admire the view. However, I hadn’t previously eaten there so I was intrigued to discover whether the dining experience matched up to its prime position and pretty exterior.
We make our way through the garden to the entrance, and once inside we’re greeted with a cosy and traditional interior – all oak, tartan, exposed brick, wooden beams and armchairs. The pub itself was created from two 17th century cottages so it has a quaint and rustic feel – very appropriate for a relaxing Saturday.
We are soon shown to our table which, located next to a huge Christmas tree and featuring cosy armchairs as the seating, has me feeling very festive. We order a bottle of refreshing house white and browse the menus while sipping. The standard menu features pub classics including pies, grills and chicken dishes, but what we are taken by is the delicious-sounding Chef’s Specials.
We both opt for the Chef’s Special Potato and Leak Soup to start. When it arrives, along with a good-sized roll of white bread, I notice that the portion size is generous. The bowl is deceptively large and the soup itself, despite being delicious, thick and richly-flavoured, is difficult to finish. In the end we tactically leave half our bread rolls. Even my friend who doesn’t usually stray from tomato soup, announces that despite her initial skepticism, she’s a fan.
When it comes to mains, I order the Lamb Jenny while my friend opts for the Pork Belly. Once again, the portions are on the generous side. A bed of seasonal vegetables (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower) form the base of what can only be described as a food tower. Atop the veg lies large, fluffy roast potatoes, atop the roasties is the perfectly cooked lamb and finally, atop the lamb is one of the largest Yorkshire puddings I have seen. Oh and there’s a boat of mint gravy on the side too, which I am not embarrassed to admit I left empty. My friend is equally as pleased with her Pork Belly which is a similar looking dish but the roasties are swapped for mash and the mint gravy swapped for plain.
Despite the amount of food we have so far consumed, we aren’t any less enthusiastic about dessert. Rather than opt for something light, I go for the hot chocolate brownie with ice cream. It’s perfectly baked, soft in the centre – it’s a chocolate lovers dream. Meanwhile, my friend’s sticky toffee pudding is also being consumed at quite the pace.
We realise we have been here over three hours. Despite the fact that it has been busy, the noise levels were never too high and the cosy atmosphere has made time pass almost unnoticed. By this point, I feel I could sit back in my armchair and take a nap. We struggle, but we finally find the motivation to stand up and leave our spot. I’ll certainly be back.
The King’s Head Inn,
The Green, Newton under Roseberry, Great Ayton,
Cleveland TS9 6QR