A few weeks ago we had the good fortune to be offered a stay at Ox Pasture Hall, a posh boutique hotel, tucked away in a wooded valley just half a mile from the bright lights and greasy spoons of Scarborough and with easy reach of some fine Yorkshire hotspots*.
Knowing full well that Yorkshire is home to the mighty Timothy Taylor, Theakston and Black Sheep breweries, we mulled over the offer for approximately five seconds before confirming our acceptance with a hastily returned email.
As it turned out, Nick had to decline embarking upon this jolly, which was probably for the best; The last Thirsty Gardener road trip resulted in his car belching smoke and breaking down in a lay-by, a multiple £££ tow fee and more seriously, us being late home for tea. Besides, the very thought of spending an awkward night with myself, top-to-toe in a king-sized bed was a less than appealing prospect. Mrs. H bravely stepped up to take his place.
A previous trip to Yorkshire was defined and enveloped by a soupy sea fog that lasted a week, this time, the weather was more forgiving; bright and sunny and (fortunately for this clunky link), so was our greeting at reception. We were ushered through the house (taking careful note of the location of the bar) to the grand, wisteria-clad garden courtyard, then onwards to our suite.
True to its name, spectacular views from the window contained both ox and pasture, capped with distant glimpses of moors so brooding you could almost smell Heathcliff’s breeches. The suite was vast, containing a bed large enough to house a cow, a large sitting room area for reading, writing and watching All Creatures Great and Small on telly, and a swish bathroom with power shower, enormo-bath and twin sink**.
In the evening we dined in at the hotel’s own award winning Courtyard Restaurant, which just so happens to be one of the best foodie destinations in the Scarborough area. For starters I went for the smoked salmon, drawn in by the promise of horseradish ice cream (It ‘actually’ worked) whilst Mrs H went for the salt baked beetroot, carrot puree, cut through with a beetroot*** sorbet. All was good here; clean, zippy flavours with both plates of food handsomely arranged.
All main courses were a tempting prospect, so a finger jabbed randomly at the menu dictated that I would have the pig jamboree that was the slow cooked belly of pork, tenderloin and black pudding (food of champions), accompanied by savoy cabbage, sautéed spuds and red onion marmalade. Mrs H went for the equally flavor-some rack of lamb with accompanying curly kale and root veg. Both dishes were testament to the chef’s emphasis on subtle seasoning and locally sourced ingredients – Yorkshire comfort food at it’s finest.
So not to appear rude, pudding was dutifully ordered – apple and pear crumble for myself, Raspberry crème brulee for Mrs. H… both splendorous works of art that would have Greg Wallace fight his own mother for.
On returning from a post-meal pint(s) in the hotel bar (complete with a fire so warm it could melt contact lenses at 30 paces) a cutting, northerly wind had picked up, bringing with it a mist from the hills that threatened to turn into something more menacing.
Safe and warm in the confines of the room, I pondered the following mornings departure time and contemplated hiding under the bed.
One night wasn’t going to be enough.
Want to find out more about Ox Pasture Hall? Go here and have a peek.
You can salivate over the restaurant menu here. Did we mention it has been awarded 2 rosettes for culinary excellence?
* Whitby; North York Moors; Pickering; Middlesbrough.
** Quality washing facilities, but I’d expect nothing less from a county that spawned The Patron Saint of Plumbing.
*** Dear housekeeper. Sorry about the massive beetroot stain on the tablecloth. Hope it came out.
Our Top Five Yorkshire beers (in no particular order)
1. Theakston – Old Peculiar
Legendary dark ale, responsible for MANY hideous hangovers.
2. Naylor’s – Velvet
A rich, moreish pint. Spawned the quip ‘sipping the velvet’.
3. Goose Eye – Chinook Blond
A classy, blonde ale with a sharp citrus kick.
4. Timothy Tailor – Landlord
Sweet, subtle and silky. Yes please.
5. Ilkley Brewery – The Mayan
A dark, chocolatey stout, kissed with the fiery lips of a chilli. (If a chilli had lips)
Note: Ox Pasture Hall contacted us to see if we would like to review their hotel and restaurant. It looked pretty impressive so we decided to take them up on the offer.