Situated on one of Morpeth’s main streets – Bridge Street, looking towards the River Wansbeck, The ancient Chantry Building and Carlisle Park, The Shambles is a large building boasting a bar, restaurant, gallery, and private room hire which are all accommodated over three floors.
The restaurant is on the first floor and their evening meals and Sunday lunches in the restaurant are well advertised, but we visited midweek at lunchtime, so when we entered the ground floor bar area we asked if they were serving food. They said yes, we were given a menu and advised that food at lunchtime through the week was served in the ground floor bar
We asked if there were any daily specials but were told the chef had yet to decide (we had arrived a little before midday and the premises was very quiet, indicating to me that it was evenings and weekends which were perhaps more popular for food). We perused the menu and noticed it was quite different to the sample menu on their website but presumed this was because The Shambles pride themselves on using as much locally produced ingredients as possible for their meals so there would be seasonal differences.
The menu had a good choice, offering some very tasty sounding fine meals, as well as simpler, plainer meals, vegetarian options were also available.
We were only looking for a main course but noticed the first courses such as olives with crusty bread £2.95, Smoked Salmon Tart £5.95, seemed reasonably priced.
My selection for a main course Spinach, Pea and Goats Cheese Risotto (£8;95) turned out to be a good choice, it was very tasty, nicely presented, filling, but light enough for a lunch time. My husband enjoyed a simpler meal of sausage and mash at £7.95.
There was a good choice of mouth watering deserts priced around £4.95 such as Lime and Lemon cheesecake with Berry coulis, Nectarine and Summer Berry Tart with mint crème fraiche.
The ground floor bar area where had had our lunch was a spacious area, divided into separate sections create privacy whilst retaining a spacious feel because open arches provided the access between rooms. Subdued, but sufficient lighting provided a relaxed feel. Tables are wooden, wooden cabinets and shelving display china tableware and ornaments, creating a homely feel. There is a lot of wood panelling and the walls are adorned with local artwork which where we were was mainly landscapes and equestrian. Nautical and seascape artwork being displayed on the first and second floors.
The service was relaxed and friendly, the location good – shops, the tourist information centre, attractions such as Carlisle Park, the Riverside, The Bagpipe museum being in the immediate area.