ON about the eleventh billion day of January I was just about ready to curl up in a ball and try to hibernate for the rest of the month. Having been convinced that it probably wasn’t the best plan of action, instead we decided the tonic to sooth our bruised spirits was a weekend pub lunch.

For what could be a better way to spend a cold afternoon, when the sun sets far too early, than a plate of warming pub grub, washed down with a few glasses of a hearty red (all those Dry January converts look away now).

We plumped for Sedgefield’s Impeccable Pig, which opened in 2018 following a £1.5m refurbishment.

Since then, I’ve largely heard positive things about it but had never been in to see it myself.

Right in the middle of the village, it is the former Hope Inn, a grade-II listed building, and has been turned into a 'high-end' hotel with about ten rooms and restaurant.

Upon entering, there was a smashing little fire burning which immediately endeared me to the place, though a less than warm welcome from the bar did give us a less good first impression.

After a brief period of awkward hovering while we tried to catch the eye of the server we were referred to the restaurant to be seated.

Much of the inside of the pub has been turned over to eating and there are a number of different areas.

We were seated under a (presumably fake) olive tree, which gave us the slightly unexpected, though not unpleasant, of dining on a kind of faux-Mediterranean terrace.

Though money has clearly been lavished on the rather stylish décor, the interior of the grade II-listed building has retained a cosy element, though has its fair share of in vogue botanicals and quirky pig-themed ornamentation.

The Northern Echo: The pig themed decor of the Sedgefield pubThe pig themed decor of the Sedgefield pub

The menu itself is fairly standard 'posh pub food' with a selection of crowd-pleasing dishes, including venison burgers, brisket and duck confit.

Luckily I’d already been for a run on the Saturday in question so I had few qualms about tucking into a three course lunch – and even better, my excellent husband Carlo had agreed to drive home.

A huge positive for me was the fact they serve wine, as well as by the glass and the bottle, by 500ml carafe – in my view the perfect amount for dinner.

The lunch menu was particularly good value at three courses for £19.50 (or two for £16.50), with a choice of three or four options for each course.

We decided to order three dishes on the set lunch and three from the a la carte menu.

To start I had the set lunch duck parfait, chutney and toasted brioche, which was good, if not particularly memorable. I have a bit of a gripe with many restaurants that the amount of meat on these sorts of dishes always far outweighs the amount of bread on which to spread it (or maybe I just like carbs too much). In this case I could definitely hae done with a third piece of bread, not least because I didn't manage to eat all of my very tasty chutney.

The Northern Echo: A starter of duck parfait and briocheA starter of duck parfait and brioche

Carlo's leek and potato soup (£6), which was the vegetarian/vegan option on the menu, was excellent. Not as creamy as some, it still maintained a silky smooth texture that was a delight to sup on.

The Northern Echo: A starter of leek and potato soupA starter of leek and potato soup

We both had pork dishes for our main. Mine was the a la carte, and slightly more extravagant, option of pork tenderloin, confit short rib and glazed pork cheek, served up with some winter root vegetables, including beetroot, carrot and parsnip, a mustard sauce and some indulgent dauphinoise potatoes (£22.50).

The Northern Echo: A trio of porkA trio of pork

The set lunch pork was just the pork tenderloin option, but served with a black pudding hash.

Both were very good. Though the pork tenderloin was, in my view, the least flavoursome of the three, it's hard to deny the value to the set lunch main. But for me, the star of the whole meal was the glazed pork cheek, closely followed by the satisfyingly fatty pork rib.

To finish I had the chocolate torte from the set menu - and incredibly dense, sticky lump of chocolate. I like rich food and it just about stayed on the right side of the mark.

The Northern Echo: Chocolate torteChocolate torte

Carlo's cherry Bakewell pudding (£6) was a pretty solid attempt, though as one of his all time favourites he has fairly high standards. This one was almost as good as the one I make myself so he went home happy.

The Northern Echo: Bakewell puddingBakewell pudding

Apart from our initial welcome, service was reasonably good, being both swift and friendly.

While the a la carte menu is slightly pricey, the pub has both lunch and early evening menus which are very good value and definitely worth having a look at if you're on a budget.

Food: 8

Surroundings: 9

Service: 7

Value: 7

The Impeccable Pig, Front Street, Sedgefield, TS21 3AT

Tel: 01740 582580


Opening: Restaurant: Monday to Thursday: 12 noon till 2.30pm | 5.30pm till 9.30pm, Fridays/Saturdays: 12 noon till 10pm, Sundays: 12 noon till 8pm

Bar: Daily from 12 noon till late. Food served 12 noon till 5pm.