Blyth is well blessed with traditional pubs and other venues to eat for a place of its size.
But one pub which I had never tried before was the Red Hart Hotel, which is located close to the staggered crossroads in the centre of the village.
The pub, an historic 17th Century coaching inn, boasts an attractive red brick front and is a welcoming sight to anyone passing through.
I headed there one weekday lunchtime recently and received a warm welcome from the lady behind the bar, who informed me I could eat either side of the pub and offered me a menu.
There was a good range of alcoholic drinks and plenty of real ale options, as you would expect from a venue which proudly advertises its place in the CAMRA good beer guide.
Among the options was one of my favourite ales, Doombar from Cornwall, as well as beers closer to home from the Welbeck Abbey Brewery.
Unfortunately I was driving, so had to forgo these pleasures and opted for a large Pepsi.
I was feeling hungry so chose a starter as well as a main course, opting for the mushroom and stilton bake to begin with and then the chicken and asparagus tagliatelle to follow.
Both were from the pub’s ‘Quality and Value Daily Menu’ which offers main courses for £7.50 and two courses for £9.50.
My main course was a difficult decision as there are a diverse range of options for just about every taste.
These include medallions of beef fillet, chargrilled chicken, beer battered cod, pan fried salmon and steak and wild mushroom pasta.
I picked a table to the side of the bar, surrounded by traditional photos, brass ornaments and a brick-lined fire place.
The Red Hart is much larger than it appears from the front and also has a decent sized beer garden and car park, presumably to attract traffic off the nearby A1.
My mushroom and stilton bake starter soon arrived and was nicely presented, garnished with some parsley and served with crusty bread and butter.
The sauce was creamy and delicious, while the baby mushrooms were tender.
As soon as I had finished, the waitress appeared to take the plate and asked if the starter had been ok.
The pub had been empty on my arrival but by this time a few other people had arrived and were ordering drinks and meals at the bar.
My main course arrived shortly after and was a sizeable portion of food.
The chicken and asparagus tagliatelle was piping hot and smelled great.
The chicken was tender and there was plenty of asparagus, as well as mushrooms in the dish.
As with my starter the sauce was deliciously creamy and probably the best part of the meal.
It was also served with two large slices of garlic bread which complemented the pasta nicely.
If I had a criticism it would simply be that the portion was far too large - but people with bigger appetites might disagree.
I would recommend the Red Hart to anyone fancying a decent pub lunch in a pleasant old fashioned venue.
Its location so close to the A1 makes it perfect for passing traffic.
And being so close to the spectacular spring displays at nearby Hodsock Priory, there couldn’t be a better time to give any of the traditional pubs in Blyth a go.