369 Old Durham Road, Gateshead
Tel: (0191) 4781372
Under new management trumpeted the banner outside the new look The Plough, which has been given a much needed makeover.
The garish purple paintwork outside has been obliterated with a coat of modern, clean off white and looks the better for it.
Tubs of flowers and hanging baskets also give this local boozer a more welcoming facade.
Inside as well, there have been many changes, with the most dramatic taking place in the lounge which has been transformed from a dark, dingy room into an intimately lit venue to eat.
White tablecloths and condiments adorn every table in the large lounge area, making it look more like a restaurant than the pub it was before.
On the evening we visited it was quiet with about four other tables taken up. But that said it was early and mid-week, and food has only recently been introduced.
We selected a table and sat down. Immediately a smiling and courteous barman appeared with two menus. The menus are divided into starters, family favourites, grilled and desserts. On top of this there's a selection of burgers, jacket potatoes, baguettes, salads, and vegetarian. There's also a children's menu, which offers sausage, chips and beans for a very reasonable £2.50.
The menu is very much pub grub with the usual suspects lurking. For starters you've got the obligatory soup and garlic mushrooms, while on family favourites there's comfort foods like liver, bacon and onions served with mash and veg, £4.95 and breaded scampi, served with chips, peas and salad, £5.95.
From the grill there's all day breakfast, boasting two sausages, two rashers of bacon, black pudding, hash brown, beans, tomatoes, fried egg, mushrooms and toast, coming in at £3.95 and double pork chop £7.95.
Firstly we ordered the wine which came served in an ice bucket on a stand - a nice touch for a local boozer, I thought.
For starters I went for prawn cocktail served with thin white toast £3.45 while mum went for the chicken goujons served with sour cream and chive dip (there were five choices of dip), £2.95.
These were fine. Nicely presented with salad and generous portions.
The starters were quickly finished and so onto the mains. We'd ordered these from the grill menu. I went for the three lamb chops, served with chips, peas, onion rings and salad at £7.95. Meanwhile over the table the choice was 8oz rump steak with chips, peas, mushrooms, onion rings and a grilled tomato, also £7.95.
The chef came over to our table to personally ask how the meal was going and how would we like our meat cooked - a lovely touch.
I asked for pink, while the preference for the steak was medium.
When the meals came our mouths fell open. The portions were very, very generous. Personally, I found the massive plate of food a bit overwhelming.
My chops were delicious. Pink in the middle and the fat, what there was of it, was nicely crisped. I managed to get through the chops, a few peas and a handful of chunky, crispy chips and that was it. I was stuffed.
My mum's steak was rather chewy but was cooked to her request of medium. She did rather better than me finishing off her giant grilled tomato, mushrooms, peas and onion rings. But again most of the chips got left.
Thanks to the portions we were far too full to take advantage of the dessert choice which included a favourite of mine, lemon meringue (£2.95). Other choices were spotted dick served with custard (2.95). Yum.
My only gripes were the background music, think 60s tunes all night and chips with nearly everything. Mind you, it was my fault, I could have gone for a salad.
And yet another nice touch. When we went to pay at the end of the meal, again the chef came out to see how we'd got on.The new management is taking this well known pub to another level. With a few tweaks here and there I'm sure it's onto a winner.