The Owl and Otter is a stylish gastropub in Burnopfield and has gained quite a reputation for it’s Sunday roasts.
So on a rainy day, we headed up into the hills to pay a visit. When you walk into the place, the decor is striking and there is a warm welcome. There are two parts to the establishment, one area is what I’d deem the restaurant, and the other is the bar – which also seemingly, at least on our visit, coupled up as the area in which those with dogs and young children are sat.
One note on this, customers can order food for their dogs, and it was slightly strange to be sitting across from a table ordering ‘grilled chicken’ for their pooch to enjoy while we’d be tucking into our Sunday roasts.
We had booked in advance and it seems especially for Sundays, that is something that is a must as the place was packed out. We were sat next to some big windows looking out onto the terrace – it was a nice seat with a lot of light.
We started with a large glass of Pinot Grigio (£5.75) and half a River Catcher from the local GNEB Co. at £2.10. There was a fine selection of drinks on offer so everyone’s taste will undoubtedly be accounted for.
For starters, there was a choice of seven options – including olives, chicken tikka, cod bites, Teriyaki glazed crispy pork belly bites, and spiced corn salad. We however opted for the soup of the day (£5.95) which was mushroom, and tiger prawns (£8.95).
The soup was homely and just perfect for a rainy day. It came with some crusty bread which in truth I would have preferred slightly toasted but nonetheless accompanied the dish nicely. The portion was more than healthy and for some may actually have been too much.
The prawns were cooked in a garlic, chilli, tomato and paprika sauce – and boy could you taste it. There was a real kick with this dish, which thankfully is something I’m a fan of. The prawns were cooked to perfection once you found them nestled amongst the half-chunks of garlic.
On to the mains we went next, and having watched the dishes being served to those around us – quite literally a tower of food – we were excited. We picked the pork belly (£14.95) and the roast chicken (£14.95).
As noted, the presentation of these dishes is quite something. The meat is positioned on top of a bed of mash, roast potatoes, vegetables, and a Yorkshire pudding on top.
The pork belly was a delight – it just fell apart, shredded as you put your fork into it with a melt-in-the-mouth taste. It was rich and hearty – and a real big portion too. The mash was nice too with the roasts crispy yet fluffy. Also a big shout out for the crackling that came with it, a big stick of the stuff – really, really tasty. The stuffing too was a lovely addition.
The chicken – there was an issue, at least one of personal preference. When it arrived it didn’t look all that appetising nor had that sort of crispy finish you’d expect with a roast chicken. We asked for it to be cooked for a bit longer and the staff happily obliged – even giving us, what we think, was a brand-new dish.
Once it arrived, it left the plate just as quickly. It was juicy and packed with a nice bit of flavor. The vegetables and potatoes were cooked nicely, and the gravy was spot on. You have to pay an extra £1 for gravy but it’s well worth it.
We took a peek at the dessert but we were far too stuffed to order one. If there had been room I would have opted for the chocolate brownie with ice cream (£6.95) or the mango and coconut cheesecake at the same price but having been filled up with the first two courses, it would have been a waste.
It’s easy to see why the Owl and Otter is popular – more than decent food for not too bad a price. It’s certainly got all the components to mount a challenge among the better places for Sunday lunch. If they can put it all together, it may well become a must-visit.
The Owl and Otter, Dipton, Mountsett, NE16 6BA.
Phone: 01207 571113