‘Perfect’, as a conversational adjective, seems to have become ubiquitous and overused recently, most commonly found in trendy eateries that pride themselves on high culinary standards.

Everything is ‘perfect’ at The Joiners Arms in Newton-by-the Sea including where we choose to sit, our drinks, questions about the menu, and our food orders.

This faddy phrase is deployed liberally by our waitress in the same way ‘no worries, ‘awesome’ and now ‘too easy’ are used endlessly in Australian cafés.

It seems to be the way of things.

And while it sometimes may seem overstated or empty, here maybe it relates to the quality of the visit staff would like you to have because, as far I can tell, if ever there was a place that lends itself to our image conscious, Instagrammable culture then this is it.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

That is not to say it is superficial, although it is true great care is taken with presentation, there was also genuine warmth in the welcome we received on a  quiet Thursday lunchtime during the summer holidays after a breath-taking but bracing dip in the briney.

The Joiners is a ten-minute walk from the glorious beach at Low Newton in north Northumberland, increasing beloved by the V-Dub camper set and growing hoardes of holidaymakers from around the country enticed by (entirely justified) gushing travel pieces in national newspapers.

Owned by the Apartment Group, which also has Whitworth Hall in Spennymoor, Lartington Hall and Runa Farm (formerly the Jersey Farm) both near Barnard Castle, and Newton Hall in Alnwick, this five-star venue offers luxury rooms, top notch takeaway fish and chips and an impressive looking menu for diners.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The bar area of The Joiners' ArmsThe bar area of The Joiners' Arms (Image: Northern Echo)

Upon entering we were immediately seduced by the quirky but classy interior, low hanging kitsch lightshades along the wooden bar standing out especially.

The dark wood panels give the impression of being inside a ship, the walls are adorned with random objects such old bottles, plants and books as well as old fashioned lamps and scales.

One long comfortable bench stretches up the side of the dining room and leather-clad school style seats complete the tables in the main hall making for comfortable chic surroundings.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The dining roomThe dining room (Image: Northern Echo)

The Joiners has a consciously laid-back, almost surfer cool friendly vibe, Lads and Lasses signs direct you to your convenience of choice, and dog are positively encouraged, making it ideal for vittles after a walk, or swim, on a long sandy beach.

There is even a special three-course menu for our four-legged friends, which includes rump steak at an eye-watering £12 and more pocket-friendly ice cream sprinkled with crushed dog biscuits for £2.

A pupaccino will cost 75p and I was almost tempted myself to try to try the smirk-inducing Bottom Sniffer doggy beer at £4 but instead went for the St Mary’s Blonde Star for £4.90.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The doggy menu in full The doggy menu in full (Image: Northern Echo)

This refreshing ale from the Anarchy Brewery has flavours of lemon, grapefruit and passionfruit and proved to be the ideal thirst-quencher.

Starters range from £8.50 to £12 and include tempting plates such as chorizo and parmesan scotch egg, caramelised onion and thyme sausage roll and pan fried tiger prawns with tomatoes, garlic chilli and parsley.

My daughter, who is 12, opted for the crunchy Thai Noodle salad (£8.50) which came with Asian ‘slaw, rice noodles, Chinese leaf, peanut, sesame dressing with chilli coriander and lime.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The crunchy Thai noodle salad certainly packs a punch The crunchy Thai noodle salad certainly packs a punch (Image: Northern Echo)

Colourful and eye-catching, it was packed with texture and flavour although it was probably a bit too spicy for her palate.

The kids’ menu offers a starter of garlic bread or soup and a main course, such as burger, pasta, cod bites, or chicken escalope, for £8.95.

My son, who is 11, was delighted with his crispy breaded chicken breast and chips, happily munching away while carefully guarding his chips from a slightly envious sister, who regretted her healthier option.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Breaded chicken breast and chips for an 11-year-old. Salad removed. Beige food only thanks.Breaded chicken breast and chips for an 11-year-old. Salad removed. Beige food only thanks. (Image: Northern Echo)

Darlington and Stockton Times: The fish and chips went down well The fish and chips went down well (Image: Northern Echo)

Darlington and Stockton Times: The steaks frites was great but left me wanting The steaks frites was great but left me wanting (Image: Northern Echo)

My wife chose small fish and chips (£12.95) and enjoyed delicious fluffy golden fat chips with a decent portion light beer-battered cod with big hunk of lemon for flavour.

I went for the steak frites (£22.50) which comes with a confit plum tomato and watercress salad, adding a peppercorn sauce. (£2.50)

While I enjoyed it, I did think the steak had been tenderised a little too thinly and, for the price, a few extras like garlic mushrooms and a couple of battered onion rings would not be amiss.

Also, the sauce was runny and lacked creaminess or any real substance.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Mini Joiners' hot chocolateMini Joiners' hot chocolate (Image: Northern Echo)

To finish off we tried a couple of the mini Joiners hot chocolates (£2.95), sumptuous ice cream with whipped and marshmallows topped in rich and warm chocolate sauce.

They were amazing.

The Joiners is definitely somewhere I would go back to and recommend it highly as  a destination venue during a day our on our wonderful coast or if you’re having a short break in the area.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Joiners Arms in High Newton-by-the-SeaThe Joiners Arms in High Newton-by-the-Sea (Image: Gavin Havery)

Special mention must also be made of the service we received during our visit, not only from our wonderful waitress, who genuinely could not do enough to help, but also other friendly staff who worked together as a team to ensure we were well looked after.

Without exaggeration, they were flawless.

They were, to coin a phrase, ‘perfect’.


Food: 7/10

Service: 10/10

Surroundings: 9/10

Value: 7/10

The Joiners’ Arms

High Newton-by-the-Sea, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 3EA

01665 576239



Monday - Friday