The Brook Inn, Cleator

ART was on the menu this week, as I headed up to Egremont to see an exhibition of work by the friend of a friend.

Kevin Weaver is displaying his individual and thought-provoking oils, glasswork and installations at the Florence Arts Centre, which as locals to that area will know, is at the former Florence mine on the outskirts of Egremont - or Egremon' as the artist known as Kevin insists it is pronounced.

After the cultural excitement of the exhibition - and after having been propositioned on the steps of the art centre by a man wanting to know if he could move in with one of us (he wasn't fussed which) while his ex-wife came to stay in his house - we were in sore need of sustenance.

For this outing, my friend was in charge of the dining arrangements, and she had hit upon Cleator as a suitable lunch venue. And why wouldn't you?

We were headed for the Brook Inn, which can be found on Trumpet Terrace and which Sarah assured me is the top rated eating place in Cleator according to TripAdvisor. To which the obvious question is: out of how many? What with Cleator consisting largely of a very long row of houses, segueing into Cleator Moor as it goes, the Brook wasn't difficult to find, occupying a corner plot on Trumpet Terrace, which itself segues into Trumpet Road.

Quite what all these trumpets have to do with the area, I have yet to discover.

Inside we ascertained that lunch was still being served, so we settled in the bar, not wishing to crowd out a couple who were in the dining room part of the pub.

It's a fairly bijou establishment, with two areas of the bar; and while it was quiet on a weekday lunchtime, it obviously gets livelier in the evenings, judging by all the signs which ask customers not to stand on the seating.

These mystified us somewhat but we put it down to some arcane Cleator tradition - or maybe something to do with the trumpets. Sarah ordered a Cumberland sausage and onion baguette for £8.95, while I went for the pie of the day at £7.95.

There were in fact two pies of the day - chicken or meat and potato, and I opted for the latter.

Two not brilliant glasses of pinot grigio lubricated our wait for the food, while we assessed the surroundings.

Unpretentious is the word that springs to mind for the Brook Inn. It's a traditional local pub, clean and unfussy but nothing fancy.

Kevin the artist, who relocated from London to Frizington (in very possibly a world first), later informed us that it's the pub he drinks in, so it clearly attracts a discerning clientele.

Our food was very good: a huge portion of homemade pie for me, stuffed with mince and roasted vegetables, lovely chips (at least twice-cooked, we decided) and a generous jug of gravy. Some greens would have been a bonus but, for the price, this was excellent value. Sarah was equally impressed with her baguette, which was filled with a high quality sausage and freshly-fried chunky onions. A huge mound of chips, coleslaw and a crisp, fresh salad made this dish as good value as my own.

For pudding we decided to share a home-made cheesecake but we were thwarted in our attempts as the kitchen was now closed, the lady behind the bar informed us.

I wouldn't have thought putting a slice of cheesecake onto a plate and anointing it with some cream was the most taxing of culinary tasks but we accepted the lack of pudding with good grace. We didn't exactly need to consume any more calories, it must be said.

Despite the failings on the pudding production front, we had enjoyed our meal at the Brook.

It's not the most exciting of venues (during the daytime, at least) but it's a friendly little place serving wholesome, good value food.

We got the feeling that this is something of a local gem and I can imagine it is packed out for its evening dining service.

It must be popular - why else would they need all those "please don't stand on the seats" signs? This is a pub which clearly doesn't blow its own trumpet - although, given its location on Trumpet Terrace, maybe it should.

Food 4

Service 3

Atmosphere 3

Value 4


Home-cooked, fresh food

Friendly service

Daily specials


Cleator lacks glamour as a dining destination

No puddings after the chef's knocked off