Hardly the Ritz, but as close to it as I would like to get!
Those of you who read my blog may remember that, back in July, I discovered a grand rambling pub called The Ridley Arms whilst walking in the countryside around Newcastle Airport.
I remarked at the time that, with its calm relaxed atmosphere and understated but upmarket decor, it seemed an ideal place for businessmen to meet and conduct their affairs over lunch.
Lo and behold, I was invited there for lunch yesterday by two "business class" friends of mine. The food was excellent, well-prepared and beautifully presented and they had a selection of real ales on tap, so I was able to wash it all down with a couple of pints of Black Sheep Bitter, well-kept and as reliable as ever. There were many exotic fish dishes on the menu (the chef must specialise in fish) but, being of a plebeian disposition, I had bangers and mash with onion sauce. The prices were slightly higher than you'd expect to pay for pub fare in our neck of the woods, but nowhere near restaurant prices and certainly only half of what you'd pay for similar quality in London.
What particularly amused me was watching the serving staff. They were all lovely blonde girls, curvaceous and smiling and fetchingly attired in black tight uniforms. Where does the manager get them from? Does he clone them, I wonder? If so, I'd like to buy in on the enterprise, that's for sure!
Yes, I'd recommend The Ridley Arms to anyone who would like to take people out for a meal and impress them.