This could be the last time in Yorkshire for a while and our trip needs to finish on a high – so we are driving to The Box Tree in Ilkley with my Rolling Stones playlist on the iPod. Some song titles may find their way into this review…
After being led to our table, we are initially surprised by the elegance of the butter that has been shaped into the form of a rose. Rock picks the fillet of sea bream with aubergine purée, while I select the crispy Arlington hen’s egg with celeriac purée and pea shoots to start me up. The bream and the hen’s egg are both cooked perfectly, crisp on the outside but soft where they should be. Indeed, both dishes are so superb that, with the thought of a long journey home on our minds, they act as a form of emotional rescue.
After such great starters, we are really looking forward to the main course – but will we get satisfaction. My slow cooked loin of pork with a cep Madeira jus arrives alongside Rock’s confit leg of duck with braised red cabbage, pomme purée and a red wine sauce. Our high expectations are brought down to earth by the pork and duck – I would be a fool to cry but these dishes are only good, not sensational.
We are still enjoying ourselves and the temptations of dessert and cheese help to ensure that our high spirits do not fade away. Rock has never been under my thumb and not only asks for the sticky toffee pudding with Tahitian vanilla ice cream but also a glass of the Pedro Ximénez San Emilio Jerez to go with it. This fine sherry is unbelievable with almost as many brown sugar notes as the sticky toffee pudding. We share a fabulous cheeseboard – the cheeses individually selected, after a chat with the very helpful Daniel, and we are both happy.
It’s all over now, we are out of time, but wild horses could not stop us from returning to The Box Tree. (if you’re interested there are at least 12 Stones song titles in this review)