“ Street Houses, Ponteland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE20 9BT.Tel: 01661 871037 „
My Mam and Sister regularly visit the garden centre next to this pub regularly. They decided on trying out The Badger and most of the family came, all 8 of us. I've now been twice, and unfortunately think that unless I want to go by myself I will be not be visiting again. 'The Badger' is part of the Vintage Inns chain, it is a very large traditional pub near to Newcastle Airport. It is on the same site as a huge garden centre - Dobbies - so after a morning there this makes the perfect place to have lunch afterwards. Unless you want to traipse across fields or live in some of the houses nearby you will have to get there by car. Both Dobbies and The Badger have their own free, large car parks so no problems here.
On to the food, first time I ordered Fish and Chips from the Country Pub Classics menu for £7.95. I was disappointed slightly by this because it was served with the skin on, and when having battered fish I always like it if this is removed. I don't actually know what fish it was, it could have been Cod, Haddock, Pollock or some other similar tasting white fish, the menu didn't actually say. The menu described the portion as a whale of a fish and they didn't disappoint, it was massive. The serving of 'seasoned chips' (ie chips with salt and pepper added) was just the right size and the chips were small and like fries, the kind that you can eat 3 or 4 of at once, good for me as that's how I like them but I suspect most people probably prefer thick cut chips with fish. The skin wasn't really their problem, I should have mentioned it beforehand when ordering as I know it's commonplace in many places. What was disappointing was the small lump of mushy peas, which was dried up and had formed a crust even when it arrived, luckily I didn't want them anyway!
Second time my food was much more enjoyable. I this time opted for the Homemade Fishcakes again from the Country Pub Classics menu. Two were presented and both were very large with delicious flakes of red salmon and chopped up pieces of broccoli head. They could have done with more pieces of salmon though as there was a lot of potato filling, but regardless they still tasted very nice and were very 'salmon-ey' in taste. The batter was the same as that of the Fish and Chips I had the time before so this shows that they do make them themselves. They were accommpanied with a bowl of seasoned chips and a nice dressed salad. The chips were burned and were a let down, but the taste of the fish cakes made up for this in my eyes. As well as the usual the salad had pieces of lemon, lettuce and was dressed with vinagrette.
So although I enjoyed the second meal a lot more, the same can't be said for my family and their meals. The vegetables served with my Dad's pork belly had clearly been re-heated over and over and he said the taste reflected this and left most of them. My Auntie said that her Scampi was cold and the chips were cooked thoroughly, and my cousin's Lancashire Hot Pot appeared to be more grissle than good quality meat. My sister who is vegan for poorly catered for in terms of options and the menus didn't have any markers for this either, only 'V' symbols to highlight the few vegetarian options.
The service was very good and attentive on our first visit, our orders were taken with ease despite us moving the tables around to allow us to all sit together. The waiting-cum-bar staff were all pleasant and made conversation as well as checking if our meals were satisfactory. Dirty plates were also cleared promptly.
Second time around it left a lot to be desired. We had to order at the bar since no one came to take the order. Then again to the bar to order some drinks, these never came and we had to ask for them again when the food arrived. When the drinks did come, the bases of the glasses were boiling hot so they had clearly came straight from the glasswasher to the pumps. A 5 second blast under the tap would easily fix this instead of putting cold drinks into boiling glasses. Once the meals were finished, we asked for some ice cream, which again never materialised. Both times when this happened was when we asked the same blonde waitress, so she must just listen to orders and then not bother to do anything about them. We had to ask for the ice cream again, and it turned out the guy who eventually delivered it was either a supervisor or manager so we explained about the 'imaginary' food orders. He was very young and not wearing anything different so not easy to spot, but then again I'm 24 and a college lecturer so I won't bring age into it! To be fair, he didn't charge us for the hot drinks we ordered at the end as a way of apology.
Saying all of the above, I would still like to go again, but I don't think anyone will want to come with me. My advice is to give it a try, but go with an open mind and don't be prepared for it to be perfect as it looks like it can easily go wrong.
I recently had to make a trip to Newcastle airport to drop my daughter off for a flight, and although the airport is not far from where we live, it does involve a trip on the A1 here in Newcastle, which is a nightmare at the best of times. However, it has recently became a bigger nightmare due to lane closures for bridge strengthening works to be carried out.
Because of this, and with the time approaching rush hour, we decided to leave earlier and go for a meal somewhere.
My partner fancied trying The Badger country pub as it had been recommended to him by friends. We have drove by it many times, and it may be familiar to anyone who has been to Newcastle Airport, but we had never been inside, and so decided to give it a try.
Situated just half a mile from the airport, on Street Houses road, Ponteland, The Badger Country Pub, which is part of the Vintage Inns chain, looks quite large and welcoming from the outside.
Built in the 1700's, The Badger was at first a gentleman's residence, which was later split into three houses occupied by various farmers, until it became The Badger Country Pub.
THE BADGER COUNTRY PUB
We parked the car in the large car park and went inside. Just before the entrance there is a raised decking area under the trees, with tables and chairs which I presumed was the beer garden, However, on entering the pub we noticed another larger beer garden at the rear of the pub, with a patio area and garden area. There were plenty of tables and chairs, with canopies, lights and heaters.
The inside of the pub has a cosy feel to it with low ceilings and dark wood beams. Candles were lit on the tables and there is real log fire, though being August it was not lit of course. It seems quite large inside, but sectioned off into smaller areas and alcoves which enhance its cosy feel.
We were given a warm welcome by whom I presumed was the manageress, and chose our table. There was only a handful of people in the pub, but it was late afternoon at the beginning of the week. I would expect it is very popular at weekends and evenings, as it seemed a lovely place and has a nice atmosphere about it.
The pub itself, and access to it is suitable for disabled people, however, I did notice the toilets are located upstairs. I did not see all areas of the pub downstairs, and they may well have a downstairs toilet for disabled customers which I have overlooked. So it may be best to check with the pub about this if it is important to you.
The menu is quite extensive, with plenty of choice. I would defy anyone to say there was nothing they liked! It was divided into sections of classic pub meals such as Beer battered fish & chips, Toad In The Hole, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagne, Gammon Steak, Burgers, Steaks, Chicken Open Pie, Salads, and a variety of chicken or fish dishes.
Prices ranged from around £6.95 to £8.50 for most of the meals, however it was obviously more expensive for a fillet steak for example.
Starters were priced around £2.95 - £ 5.00 and included soup of the day, prawn cocktail pate' etc.
Side orders of onion rings, chips, garlic bread etc were all priced at around £2.00.
There was a nice selction of puddings available from profiteroles, chocolate brownie and eve's pudding to a selection of cheeses, all priced at around £3.95.
A lighter menu is available such as sandwiches served with chips, and also a Sunday lunch menu, and children's menu, which looked like smaller portions of the main menu, with starters from £2.00 , mains around £4.00 and puddings from £1.00.
Offers are available throughout the day such as a selection of meals priced at £5.95 for one course, £7.95 for 2 courses and £9.95 for 3 courses, which is a great price if you can eat that much!
There is a good selection of beers and real ales, which change on a regular basis. A wide variety of alcoholic and soft drinks were available.
When you have chosen your meals, you then order your food at the bar and are given a wooden spoon with a number on it to place on your table.
I ordered chicken open pie with chips and peas, my partner had beer battered fish and chips, and my daughter had gammon steak, which was served with chips, peas, 2 eggs and pineapple.
We also ordered 'summer breeze' drinks which consisted of orange and cranberry juice, priced at a reasonable £1.25 for a tall glass.
The meals were brought to our table after a short wait, and they were delicious. My chicken open pie consisted of a puff pastry crust in a dish with a chicken breast, ham and leeks in a creamy sauce, it looked lovely and tasted even better!
My daughter and partner both thoroughly enjoyed their meals too. The portions were large and very filling.
I had been tempted by the Eve's pudding for dessert, but none of us had room, so we ordered tea and coffee and went outside to sit in the beer garden. It was lovely and relaxing.
Our bill for the three meals and 'summer breeze' drinks came to £25, which I think is very good value. The coffee and teas came to £5.00 and were served in pots which provided a couple of cups each, so again good value.
The welcome and service at The Badger was first class! We were served our meals by a lovely woman who chatted to us, brought sauces etc and was very friendly and welcoming throughout. Nothing seemed too much trouble.
When we went outside, we offered to wait and carry our tea & coffee through to the garden, but were told it was no trouble and they were brought out to our table.
I know we will return here again soon, and wish we had visited sooner! I can highly recommend The Badger to everyone.
When we came out of the pub, the airport itself is only a few minutes walk up the road, so if you were staying overnight at one of the airport hotels then The Badger would be a nice alternative to visit for a meal.
The Badger is open everyday from 12pm until 11pm (10.30pm on Sundays) and food is served all day. There is no need to book. The pub also opens earlier depending on public demand, and you are invited to ring them if you would like to visit earlier.
I understand you can also hire parts of the pub for private functions etc.
NE20 9BT Tel - 01661 871037