“The Taps” as this place was called in a former life was a sticky-carpet/nicotine ceiling/artex walls kind of ale house, and whilst some of the good bits of it remain (flagged floors, beams, big open fires) the less salubrious aspects are history. Hooray!
There’s now original, modern artwork on scrubbed-up walls, the odd kitsch touch like standard lamps with frilly shades like your Auntie Rita’s and a huge blackboard written up with an enticing, daily changing menu.
Joe and Elizabeth McDermott are examples of the new generation of pub-owners-with-a-conscience, serving thoughtful, value-for- money pub grub. They’re “slow food” devotees, and everything is made from scratch, including sausages, sauces, pickles, puddings and charcuterie. And the bread – ah the bread. Elizabeth makes sour dough daily; I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted better.
They have a veg and herb garden out back, so in season your salad can’t get much fresher. There’s a smoke house too, so such delights as pub smoked sausage, picked peppers and mustard might feature. Ham terrine with pub grown gherkins and toast is a wholesome, handsome plateful at a fiver; vegetarians get dishes like Moroccan spiced vegetable tagine with cous cous and mint yoghurt (9.00). Desserts include rice pudding and homemade damson jam (nothing like school) and poached pear, gingerbread and marscarpone.
There’s well-kept local beer and several good wines by the glass, too. The vibe is relaxed. Read the paper before gearing yourself up for a stroll round the posh shops.
Ilkley Moor Vaults, Stocksfield Road, Ilkley LS29 9HD. Tel: 01943 607012, www.ilkleymoorvaults.co.uk