PICTURE this: a country pub surrounded by rolling fields of grazing sheep, and sun-kissed, freshly-harvested swathes of wheat and barley. With a south-facing beer garden and quoits pitches, it is quintessentially bucolic English scene.

There’s a few houses in the village too but not enough, surely, to sustain what is a quite a large hostelry. Its saviour is probably the A684 Northallerton-Bedale road just over a mile away – one of the busiest in the county.

But then that same road passes through villages with pubs of their own – included the well-regarded Wellington Heifer. Even though a few have disappeared over the years, there’s still a lot of pubs round here.

If you haven’t worked it out yet, we are in the village of Thrintoft, three miles from the county town of Northallerton , and the pub is the New Inn.

Back in 2011 we had called by on a Saturday lunchtime not long after it had reopened after being closed for 15 months. We liked what we found and noted that in the kitchen there was a chef called Carl Tinkler.

Seven years on he’s still there and running the show. With skills honed in the kitchens of the Black Bull at Moulton and Bishopton’s Talbot and Middlesbrough’s Purple Onion in their heydays, he’s clearly capable of some high-end cheffy cooking and while there are hints of that on the menus, I suspect it’s his pub classics that pull the diners in off the beaten track.

There’s seems to be plenty of them. Very early doors (5.30pm) on a Saturday evening, we found we really should have booked. The dining room was filling up fast with customers who had reserved tables and our table in the bar was one of the last.

Over the years I’ve wondered about the absence of a night-time economy in Northallerton. It struck me that it does exist, but not in the town centre - just in places like the New Inn.

We were a party of four on this occasion, with daughter Laura and granddaughter Maggie, four, joining us. Clearly a budding bar fly, Maggie very much enjoyed climbing on to a bar stool and helping with the food order – particularly her own. The bar staff were happy to indulge her.

With a four-year-old’s bedtime not far away, we skipped starters and settled for mains and desserts. Before 7pm there is an early-bird two courses for £13.95 restricted choice menu but we picked from the a la carte with 16 dishes to select from.

Laura, an occasional veggie, fancied the mushroom and roast pepper Stroganoff finished with wine, cream and paprika, and served with light Basmati rice, two slab of garlic ciabatta and salad (£10.50).

It didn’t disappoint. The Stroganoff and rice were served separately in two filled-to-the-brim Balti dishes which, along with the garlic ciabatta, made it an exceedingly substantial plateful. Laura thought it first class, I thought a little more paprika in the sauce wouldn’t have gone a miss.

That might have been something to with the substantial kick in my pork and chorizo burger (£11.95) which was served with a spicy chipotle sauce – a pretty hot combo.

The moist, crispy-edged burger was sandwiched in a toasted brioche bun with a slice of bacon, a slice of smoked cheese, the sauce and accompanied by some sweet potato fries which I’m not a big fan of generally but complimented the spiciness. As burgers in a bun go, it had all the right attributes - juiciness, a salty, sticky heat from the bacon, sauce and cheese, and doughy texture from the soft bun.

Sylvia’s gammon (£12.50), served with pineapple, two fried eggs, chips and salad, was judged well grilled and not dried out. The chips were chunky, dry and crisp.

Maggie wasn’t overly forthcoming about her child’s bangers and mash (£5.95) but she had a very good attempt at was a pretty generous serving for a four-year-old. The piece of pork sausage I managed to sneak off her plate was perfectly acceptable.

She was probably already distracted by the prospect of dessert – free ice cream was included in her meal price.

Laura enjoyed a nicely chewy hazelnut meringue with chocolate brownie ice cream and salted butterscotch sauce (£5.50) and I had a warm Bakewell tart with custard and vanilla bean ice cream (also £5.50) which was just OK – the tart being a little on the dry side.

Service was good and our waiter certainly entertained Maggie – and she him.

With an assortment of soft drinks, not-so-soft drinks and a rhubarb and ginger pink gin (excellent), the bill came to £72.90.


The New Inn, Thrintoft, Northallerton DL7 0PN

Tel: 01609 771961 Web: www:newinn-thrintoft.co.uk

Food serving hours: noon-2pm, 5.30-9pm Tues-Fri; noon-9pm Sat; noon-4pm and 5.30-8pm Sunday.

Vegetarian options.

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 7, Service 7, Surroundings 6, Value 7