Ye Old Elm Tree is perched atop the idyllic market town of Durham. After an enthralling and deeply moving service at the Cathedral, we headed there for Sunday lunch. St Nick wanted a model, genuine pub and that is exactly what he got.
This is one of Durham’s oldest inns, dating back to at least 1600, and is reputed to have two ghosts. The interior comprises an L-shaped bar and a top room linked by stairs. A friendly pub, it attracts a good mix including locals, students and visitors to the city. Enjoy a good range of ales and home-cooked Sunday carvery, the Wednesday quiz (arrive early), and a folk group on Mondays and Tuesdays. Local CAMRA branch Town Pub of the Year 2015 and 2016. Whatpub
In addition to the wonderful array of hand pulled beer and cider (including my personal favourite, Orchard Thieves), this marvellous pub has a Sunday Carvery. This is what we came for, and after an arduous cycle in and around Durham, this is what we deserved.
We had a choice of beef, pork and turkey. I chose the pork and turkey, while St Nick went for the beef. I won’t purchase beef anymore on account of its unspeakably awful effect on the environment. Arguably I should also give up pork for this very reason but I can’t quite bring myself to do so yet.
The carvery came with unlimited vegetable refills but only one serving of meat. I can tell you that the stuffing was magnificent, the Yorkshire puddings were smashing and the roasties were divine. I loaded my plate up with as much as I could gather. I must say the cauliflower cheese was also a highlight.
This is it, the apex of Sunday lunches. Nothing too fancy, no silliness and no frills. This is honest pub grub, great quality and cheap at the price. For those of you who do not understand this latter British idiom, know that you are not alone. The crackling was delightfully though to begin with and gradually receded under the might of my canines. The pork was cut thick by the chef and tasted beautiful. The turkey, as is the trouble with almost every single portion of turkey I have ever consumed, was dry. Thankfully, I was able to load up a gravy boat with a half gallon of the good stuff to lash over my lunch. Overall I left feeling deeply satisfied and ready to take on the next impossible hill.
If you have time on a Sunday to attend the service at Durham Cathedral, please do so (provided you attend a Catholic church earlier in the day, of course). This place is hallowed ground and almost too beautiful to be true. I was left unable to believe my eyes on several occasions. And while you’re there, do stop by the Old Elm Tree.