Dinner@The Fox & Hounds, Carthorpe

The second stop on this culinary road trip is at The Fox & Hounds, Carthorpe. We have been told that the hospitality here is second to none and I started to understand why the moment we walked through the door. The landlord, Vincent, who was already engaged in a lively conversation with some of his regulars, greets us as though we are old friends.

I decide to revisit my past by having a pint of Theakston’s Peculier IPA. This was a favourite of mine when I was at University. Vincent starts to tell me that the Fox & Hounds’ latest new beer on tap is Timothy Taylor’s blonde, Knowle Spring and I should try it. He immediately pours me a generous taster glass. While the Old Peculier is very smooth, the Knowle Spring is full of zingy grapefruit notes. Very different beers, but both very good.

Rock has the pan fried fillet of sea trout with ginger, spring onions, side salad and coleslaw. The fish is beautifully cooked, with crispy skin, and the flavours of ginger and spring onion are well balanced. I have the guinea fowl with smoked bacon, stuffing and chips. A little dry but generally good. The main courses are far better than you get in most pubs but suffer slightly from the outdated idea that it’s fine to serve the same vegetables or salad with every dish on the menu. I’ve now moved on to the Knowle Spring and we prepare to share the pear and almond tart with vanilla custard.

Overall, decent quality food….but I would really go back anytime to enjoy the beer and the excellent hospitality.

2016 Food Awards – part 3

WadeandRockandFood Awards 2016

Awards part 1 focused on our top restaurants, part 2 focused on our favourite pubs and now part 3 focuses on four small independent food providers that gave us something special during 2016.

Eastward House, Orkney – best breakfast

You choose in advance from a range of three course gourmet breakfasts with each course designed to deliver either vitamins, fibre or protein. It is a breakfast experience like no other! East review

Jolly Nice, Frampton Mansell – best burger & beer

To create the fabulous Jolly Nice burger they use rare breed shorthorn beef and other high quality local produce. It can be enjoyed with any one of a range of bottled craft ales. Jolly review

Toast House, Ilkley – best coffee & cake

Great place to relax with fabulous coffee. But it is the cake that puts Toast House at the top of the pile! Every cake has been home-made with skill and love. Toast review

Severn & Wye Smokery, Chaxhill – best fish

Suppliers to some of the finest chefs and foodstores in the UK. Their small restaurant has a menu of fresh fish, smoked fish and shellfish which they cook beautifully. A must for fish lovers! Severn review – Jan 16 Severn review – Jul 16

Here’s hoping that 2017 gives us as much food joy as 2016!

Dinner@The Craven Heifer, Addingham

The Fleece in Addingham has been on our list of potential eating places to visit for a while now. However, after a major fire in 2015 the pub is still being rebuilt and redecorated. So instead we are having dinner at their sister pub, also in Addingham, The Craven Heifer.

It is always a good idea to try the local beer and today I’m going to try Saltaire Blonde, a handcrafted light ale from the Saltaire Brewery. It is delicate – not too hoppy – with some hints of spice, malt and bitterness. It suits me very well!

Rock chooses the cumin rubbed cod loin with a curry spiced jus and sea vegetables. The fish and the sea vegetables are both fine, the skin on the cod looked as though it would be crispy but for some reason it was disappointingly limp. The star of the dish was the beautifully spiced jus.

I have the Thirsk lamb wellington with carrot puree, dauphinoise potato, buttered leeks, crushed peas and a madeira jus. I had several stars on my plate – the lamb wellington was superb and all the accompaniments were well-cooked and worked well together.

Another Saltaire Blonde has found its way onto our table and it is time to consider dessert. We decide to share the rhubarb parfait with poached rhubarb, Yorkshire parkin and ginger beer jelly – sounds like a mix of my favourite things. The parkin is fabulous, the ginger beer jelly is fun, the parfait tastes good but it should have been taken out of the freezer earlier!

Overall we had good service and very good food. I can see us coming back here before too long….

Coffee&Cake@Toast House

It is not often that you walk into a café, ask about the cakes, and find that you are holding a three way conversation with the owners of the café and the bakers of all the cakes on display. At Toast House in Ilkley, Natasha & Lisa know what every cake contains – hugely useful if you have particular dietary requirements and also fantastically interesting to other bakers – like Rock.

After listening to detailed descriptions of all the cakes – we choose to have the apple & almond with our coffee. As always, the coffee is fabulous (see previous visit), and one of the bakers has pulled off the trick of creating a cake that is both beautifully moist and yet still really light. Clever!

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2015 Awards – Part I

WadeandRockandFoodAwards 2015

Over the past year we have visited almost 200 places looking for the very best eating experiences. Almost all of these places have been carefully hand-picked based on recommendations or reviews.  However, we only made posts about those experiences that were, in some way, truly interesting or exciting.

The WadeandRockandFoodAwards 2015 (part I) are made to three outstanding pubs that delivered superb food and great service – listed in alphabetical order.

The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote – great beer brewed specially for them but their food is the highlight – it consistently looks and tastes beautiful. Nest Review

The Pipe & Glass Inn, South Dalton – a place to go if you want to be spoilt. Great ambience, excellent service and sensational food. Glass Review

The Red Lion, East Chisenbury – a pub for grown-ups that knows how to treat children. Exceptional food and great guest beers. Lion Review

During 2016 we aim to return to some of the pubs we have loved and to visit numerous other places looking for fabulous food.

The WadeandRockandFoodAwards (part II) will be made to our top 3 restaurants and (part III) will be made to our top 4 small independents.

Sunday Lunch@The Box Tree, Ilkley

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)

Dinner@Bistro Saigon, Ilkley

Tonight we have a desire for food from the far east. But, when we arrive at Bistro Saigon in Ilkley, there is a moment when we think we may have to go elsewhere – the place is packed! Thankfully the young, helpful staff do manage to find us a table.

Bistro Saigon promotes itself as Vietnamese but the menu is quite familiar. We decide to share spare ribs, chicken satay and Chang beer. The ribs are very good, well-cooked and not overwhelmed by barbecue sauce. The chicken satay is ok but we are not sure about the Vietnamese version of satay sauce. The Chang beer, from Thailand, is one of the best I’ve had from that corner of the world.

As ever, there is a desire to order more than we can possibly eat. However, harnessing unusual restraint, we decide to share the green chicken curry made with green chillies, coconut milk, lime leaves and Thai basil. And, of course, sticky Jasmine rice! It is full of flavour and heat – we are really enjoying it.

This is a very popular place with families, couples and groups of all ages –now we understand why.