When the pub in Hebden, near Grassington, closed for renovation by a new owner, the villagers, understandably were worried.
The Clarendon Hotel is at the heart of this Dales village and a large part of local life. The new owner was renowned French chef Lionel Strub from the award-winning Mirabelle restaurant. It was little wonder the locals fully expected another gastro-pub with food taking the lead, leaving little room for the locals, let alone community activities.
Six months on, the Clarendon sparkles from a sympathetic restoration including the three letting bedrooms. The fire roars in a snug area packed with diners and on a busy Friday night the bar area is full of tables occupied by diners, or drinkers enjoying a good natter over one of the many ales or good wines that are on offer.
Food obviously is a core offering with such a talented chef at the helm.
For a Frenchman, Lionel has embraced British pub food with plenty of the classics available. The menu also offers an abundance of local game, fish and vegetarian choices.
The Clarendon is a very welcoming place both for people and dogs, with the lovely resident canine Larry very much in evidence.
If the villagers once were worried, it now looks like they have fully embraced the Gallic charm, hospitality and great cooking. How lucky are they to have this on their doorstep.
• The Clarendon Hotel, Hebden, Skipton, BD23 5DE. 01756 752446, clarendonhebden.co.uk
DRINKS SELECTION 5/5