A passionate young team who are spearheading the recently relaunched Huntsman Pub and Kitchen in Woodham Village, Newton Aycliffe, are doing all they can to extend a warm welcome, good food and even a ‘Golden Ticket’ surprise this Christmas.
Owner Elliot McKee (24) and Headchef Nathanial Tomlinson (29) supported by Front of House Supervisor Nadia Abed-Ali are pulling out all the stops to get the Restaurant / Pub on the local culinary map.
After years of being avoided or overlooked by local residents, the team took over the pub in the summer following a facelift of the building, its gardens and the establishing of a new professional kitchen. Since then they have been steadily wowing customers by delivering a blend of exceptional home cooked food combined with a vibrant modern decor and fantastic hospitality which has seen the business go from strength to strength. Elliot said: “We get people coming in who say they haven’t been here for 10 years or more, and even a couple who said that they didn’t dare venture in before. The response of everyone is overwhelmingly positive.”
Certainly, the first months have seen the team breaking down the barriers that once stopped the local residents wanting to use the Huntsman and have created a loyal group of customers coming back week after week. Building on the teams plans to grow their customer experience is a novel promotion this Christmas. Elliot explains: “All guests dining with us over the Christmas period are given a ‘Golden Envelope’, which when presented unopened at a booking in January will award them with a discount of 25, 50 or 100% of the meal price.”
Elliot is following in the family tradition of owning and managing pubs/hotels. Originally started by his father, his sister and brother also own pubs in the region. But Elliot is no stranger to the trade, he started helping his father who then owned the Croft Hotel nr Darlington when he was only 13. He said: “I started at the bottom working in the kitchen first as a pot washer then progressing through to chef and then front-of-house hospitality.”
In a similar vein, son of Shildon Vicar David Tomlinson, Nathanial is equally experienced having been a chef at Bannatyne Hotel in Darlington and later head chef at the Honest Lawyer in Durham. He said: “I‘m all about using the best ingredients, sourced locally and presenting people with good food and decent portions.
“I have worked in rosette kitchens, but here we are more interested in good honest food, at a good price, designed to wow our customers and keep them coming back for more. One customer loved our Christmas menu so much he asked if we could prepare the Spicy Parsnip Soup for his home Christmas Dinner and other asked if we could do their Turkey; we are happy to oblige.”
Front of house Supervisor Nadia who previously worked at Woodham Golf and Country Club said: “We just want people to come and give us a try, we know they won’t be disappointed.”
The Huntsman Pub & Kitchen – 5 St Elizabeth’s Close, Newton Aycliffe DL5 4UE, Open 12 noon – 11 pm Daily.