I’m a big fan of small, intimate restaurants run by just a couple of people. Half-a-dozen or so tables catered for by a pair of hands in the kitchen and another front-of-house allows the restaurant to focus its offering and demands that everything runs efficiently. Ingredients are used wisely and product knowledge runs deep. It’s a very attractive way to cook and to eat. No-one is ever going to make a fortune running such a small concern but a chef can ensure that the food he wants to make is delivered to the diner without compromise. That feeling of complete control must be just as attractive to the person making the dishes as the feeling that every morsel you eat has been truly cared for is to the customer.
Next to the bridge over the stream in the Upper Wharfedale hamlet of Hubberholme stands what is possibly the quintessential Dales pub. The George Inn is a white stone farmhouse with a cosy lounge, a cosier bar, flagstone floor, mullioned windows, a range fire, wooden bench seats and a welcome as warm as anywhere in Yorkshire.
When Salvatore Dammone opened Salvos in August 1976 we rejoiced. Back in the day there were precious few good places to eat in Leeds, so a genuine Italian restaurant serving traditional family food was a blessing. Those of a certain vintage will recall the queues snaking round the block of a Friday and Saturday night. On one occasion my visiting Australian Auntie Maureen grumbled her way round, mumbling ‘I can’t believe I’m queuing for pizza’. She piped down once she had a quattro formaggio in front of her.
Set aside a day if you’re visiting Robin Hood’s Bay as there’s plenty to divert you; once home to the busiest smuggling trade on the Yorkshire coast, tea, gin, brandy and tobacco were amongst the contraband brought into the village. It’s easy to visualise what must have been frenetic activity as you weave through the warren of tiny, narrow paved paths, nooks and boltholes.
Tharavadu had been brought to my attention some time ago, but it took their recent success in winning Best Indian Restaurant for three years on the bounce at the Oliver Awards run by our sister paper the Yorkshire Evening Post to remind me of the fact.
Pub of the Week: The Woodman at Bishopthorpe, York
A decent, hearty walk from York city centre on a gorgeous spring day warrants a well-earned pint. Having arrived in Bishopthorpe, we had a choice of not one, but three pubs on one street to choose from – and they say pubs are on the decline.
It’s seven years since a top-hatted doorman stood guard at the Grand Hotel to greet its first customers. The owners had spent £30m transforming the Edwardian listed building – the former HQ of the North Eastern Railway and later GNER – into a 107-bedroom hotel with spa, whisky lounge, cocktail bar and restaurant right in the heart of York. Even before the tourist authority had graded them they were grandly announcing themselves as “York’s first five-star hotel”.
The last time I wrote about Beverley’s high-end Japanese restaurant Ogino was after I visited on its second night of being open. Bypassing how obviously caddish it was of me to judge somewhere so recently opened, I found it generally very good with just a couple of wrinkles to iron out. On returning – almost a full five years later – I find that Ogino has matured into a truly excellent restaurant, run with confidence, consistency and flair.
Paull has been in people’s minds for two reasons recently. This small, oft-mocked burgh on the north bank of the Humber is seen by many in neighbouring Hull as the odd outpost where their odder uncle mysteriously retired to, but in 2017 it has enjoyed a very funny reference in Richard Bean’s hit play The Hypocrite and was apparently far-and-away the best place to watch the fireworks on the opening night of City of Culture.
Ameal built of many small plates in a restaurant constructed of shipping containers. Does this sound enticing? As we head towards Shalesmoor on a perishing night I’m beginning to question the wisdom, but we’ve come this far, and the prospect of a Nordic dinner in this (or any other) part of Sheffield is intriguing.