It may near prime tourist attractions such as Hadrian’s Wall, but chef Shaun Hurrell’s sensational food turns St Mary’s into a destination in its own right
Sitting on a comfortably busy commuter train out of Newcastle, heading to a rural inn where you can get a pint for £3.20 and a spruce room for just £80, I imagined that this review could become a passionate encomium for the north. Basically, I wanted to make Londoners cry at how civilised life is up here.
But the new St Mary’s Inn refuses to fit into a neat, cosy parable about the northern good life. For a start, its team is led in its easy-going efficiency by a Chilean, Victor Castro. The chef, Shaun Hurrell, grew up in the US, but sharpened his skills working for Marcus Wareing and Fergus Henderson in that there London, as is evident on a menu where trendy banoffee doughnuts and salt beef sarnies rub bearded, hipster shoulders with the pub classics. This is a modern, cosmopolitan operation.