Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Yorke Arms, Ramsgill-in-Nidderdale

I had been to the Yorke Arms once before, back when I could still see my feet and had yet to learn ten synonyms for foam.  I remember little about the food, just that the hearty portions meant that we had to undo our trousers to drive home.  This time, wise to this, we booked a room and embarked upon a strict programme of  pre dinner abstinence.  Which lasted until we arrived in situ and found home made cakes by the kettle.

It was with trepidation, therefore, that I agreed with D that we would go for the tasting menu.  On the previous visit we had been floored by the a la carte.  Still, I was wearing a dress, so there was plenty of room for stomach expansion, and a stiff gin and tonic in front of the cosy lounge fire had sharpened my appetite.  And, in any case, my concerns lasted until the amuse arrived at the table – blood orange jelly, horseradish cream, raw slivers of rhubarb.  This demonstrated a kitchen with a much lighter touch than I remembered and one, moreover, which was capable of delivering enthralling and quirky flavour combinations. 

Indeed, the difficulty is picking a highlight.  Every component of every course - and on some plates this was quite a number - was sensitively handled such that they shone both singly and as part of the whole.  Cured salmon with langoustine, crab, caviar and tomatoes, for example, sounds like a cacophony of competing flavours but came together in delicate fishy symphony.  This was possibly my favourite dish of the evening.

Oh, but then there was truffled quail with raisins and delicate zips of preserved lemon.  And a fascinating vegetarian dish that used freekeh, a grain that neither of us had come across before but both agreed we would be happy to try again.  For D though the star of the proceedings was the braised oxtail wrapped in buttery puff pastry, sausage roll like, on the side of the venison main course.  The meat was so soft that it collapsed at the merest brush of the fork, darkly flavoursome and providing a wonderful coating of rich iron flavour in the mouth to cushion the tender venison.

The only misstep in the proceedings was the second of two desserts; I found the Grand Marnier souffl√© to be overcooked and under flavoured.  But since it came with a chocolate and olive ganache which had me making all sorts of inappropriate noises, I was willing to forgive and forget.

So overall, a fantastic dinner with far more interest and complexity than I was expecting, Plus  a comfy bed within staggering distance whereto we could repair to compare food babies.  This is a little gem buried deep in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, a place that I thoroughly recommend if you're looking to head somewhere for some serious indulgence.  

The Yorke Arms
Pateley Bridge
nr Harrogate
North Yorkshire
01423 755243


  1. Ooooh, sounds gorgeous! I beginning to fancy something which does not involve golf or football and that could fit the bill! I wonder if it takes dogs...will investigate.

    Lesley x

    1. I'd be very surprised if they didn't - it's the heart of Dales walking country and there are loads of beautiful walks that start in the village itself. I'd offer my services as a dogsitter for the evening if it weren't for the fact that the cat (and the highly allergic husband) would probably have a pink fit!!

  2. Sometimes I think tasting menus are lighter than a la carte - lots of little tasters rather than overly generous portions.