My crime? Licking the plate clean. I couldn’t resist. In full view of the whole restaurant, I lifted it to my face and gorged on the sauce. Not once, but three times. A seven-course tasting menu and I licked the plate after three of them. For shame.
My only defence is that the food we enjoyed on an unhurried evening in super-cosy surroundings was really quite extraordinary. If you could have tasted it, you too would have licked your plate clean. You think you could have withstood the temptation but I’m here to tell you you’re lying to yourself. It would take superhuman powers to resist, which is very appropriate as the Man of Steel himself sat in the same seat as me just a few days before.
The sequel to popular Netflix film Enola Holmes had been shooting in Hull’s beautiful Old Town and the cast and crew stayed for a week at Tickton Grange hotel, within which Hide is situated. Henry Cavill – Hollywood’s current Superman – was amongst them and nightly enjoyed food worthy of the last survivor of Krypton. No-one saw him lick his plate clean but I reckon he probably snuck to the nearest phone box to do his intimate crockery-cleaning away from the gaze of mere mortals.
Tasting menus are a relatively new arrival at Hide. Following the departure (after a remarkable 30-plus years) of chef David Nowell, the new co-chefs, Callum Williams and James Pulford, decided to move in a new direction. They’ve maintained the best elements of the Tickton culinary tradition – local ingredients from the East Riding and hyper-local ingredients from the grounds of the hotel – and taken the cuisine in their own direction. Oxymoronically simple-but-complex, most dishes are based around the three ingredients listed on the menu. You’re left thinking that courses will be a bit basic but they are anything but.
Take Halsham pork, HU17 greens and apple. Nothing in that description hints at the skill that goes into balancing the flavours of the crispy rectangular pork croquettes, cured ham, apple balls and the pile of kale-mounted roast onion. Add a rich, thick jus and unidentified crispy bits and you get superb depth and texture so the whole thing ends up like a miniature version of the best Sunday dinner you’ve ever had.
Simpler but no less stunning is Bridlington lobster tail, Isle of Wight tomato and basil. The tastiest tomatoes I’ve sampled outside of Italy left the excellent lobster in the shade so you end up wondering how it’s possible such succulent, delicious toms can be grown in the UK.
A dessert of yuzu, mango and coconut again belies the apparent simplicity by being sweet and crunchy and soft and fragrant all at once. The yuzu (an east Asian fruit like a cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin) is presented like two egg yolks, around which the other ingredients – and marigold flowers – are arranged.
We were also served wonderful, surprise-filled snacks (like confit duck leg bonbons and superb local crab on a tapioca cracker) as a starter and enjoyed other fantastic beef, cod and strawberry courses but space demands I move onto the best dish of the night. When it arrived on the table, I had no idea what to make of it. Some sort of éclair slathered in a black cream and sprinkled with what I could only guess was tiny apple cubes and chocolate shavings or grated beef or some other such imponderable. I really couldn’t tell. It turned out to be a generous finger of butter sourdough with charcoal cheese custard, pickled kohlrabi and grated truffle. It tasted and smelled like autumn. In the nicest imaginable way, it made me think of windfall leaves and woodland floors. The mixture of those unusual, evocative flavours was perfect. If autumn has an essence, Callum and James have absolutely captured it.
Quite honestly, it’s not much to look at but it proved one of the most extraordinary platefuls of food I’ve ever tasted and would single-handedly make your trip to Tickton worthwhile. Over seven courses, not a single mouthful was less than exquisite. It only goes to further convince me that Hide at Tickton Grange being consistently overlooked by public and industry alike is a puzzling aberration. How anywhere can stay this far under the radar for decades on end is an absolute mystery.
I checked my old reviews and found I’d enthused about Callum Williams’ talent as long ago as 2015, when he had left Winteringham Fields and was cooking at Monks Walk in Beverley.
I’m very pleased to now report that Callum has found the perfect home for his abilities at Hide and I hope he and James continue turning out dishes fit for plate-lickers and super-heroes alike for many years yet.
Hide at Tickton Grange Hotel & Restaurant, Tickton, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 9SH. Tel: 01482 543666. www.ticktongrange.co.uk. Open 12-1pm and 7-9pm, every day.
drink selection 5/5