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If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years of Sunday pub roast-guzzling, it’s that a beautiful exterior is no indicator of the quality of grub that lies within.
The General Havelock is a boozer that reminded me not to judge too much on appearances; the place might not please the eye, but its Sunday dinners certainly please the stomach.
The pub has neither a spectacular location, situated as it is close to the A189 Spine Road near Blyth, nor, it has to be said, a well-kept air, with its peeling paintwork on the windows, rather battered furniture and visible mould in one corner of its restaurant. A slight smoky haze, presumably from the kitchen, pervaded both the pub and restaurant section, and I even discovered the lock in the cubicle in the gents’ toilets wasn’t working.
However, if you don’t mind your pubs being a bit rough around the edges, the General Havelock’s food will more than make up for what it lacks in the way of refinement.
You’ll have to be happy to launch straight into your roast, as there are no starters served – and no other choice of main course. A standard-size pork, chicken or beef meal is £7, or you can opt for a small one for £6. Choosing lamb adds £1 to the bill.
I was unsurprised when Mrs E ordered beef, having noticed that particularly wanton look that she gets in her eyes when she hasn’t had any of the stuff for a while. I, on the other hand, struggled to make a decision, so appreciated being offered the option of a bit of all the meats by our friendly server.