I was given the opportunity recently to enjoy a lunch at The Courtyard Restaurant in North Yorkshire, which I grabbed with both hands. The Boy and I cannot remember the last time we had a three course meal together and we suitably starving and enthusiastic by the time we arrived at the stunning venue just a few miles outside Scarborough.
Make no mistake, this was a trek and a half for us from our corner of West Yorkshire, but we made it into a date day by dropping Chiplet off at his paternal grandparents. We had the whole day to ourselves.
The restaurant is located in Ox Pasture Hall, which has a really interesting history, which you can read about in a frame in one of the comfy sitting rooms. It was predominantly a farm, but during the second world war it opened as a tea rooms. You can see why – what a gorgeous view over the gardens.
The bar area is lovely and cosy – I can imagine enjoying the fire on a cold night whilst nursing a big glass of red. As I was driving, I opted for lime and soda and The Boy went for a lager – sadly there were no local beers or ales on offer – something which I think might be almost unforgivable in Yorkshire – surely we are all about the real ale! He was quite content with his lager though. We messed around taking selfies in the bar and deciding on what to order – we were quite giddy to be on a date.
We were shown through to the dining room in the most lovely table overlooking the English country garden at the front of the property. It was a slightly windy and grey day, but this didn’t ruin the lovely view over the garden and into the forest beyond.
To start with, we were offered a taster of tomato and fennel soup (served cold) with some freshly baked cheese and fruit and nut bread (didn’t get a photo of that – too quickly eaten!). I really loved the flavour of the soup, creamy and aniseedy, it sent my tastebuds into first gear ready for our starters.
I had opted for the Ham Terrine with picalli and pea puree which arrived in a large chunk – I rather foolishly didn’t save any bread to go with it, but to be honest it stood alone as a deilcious starter. I could taste the mustard seeds and fresh herbs in it. The Boy went for the local fishcake – which was a stack of TWO fat fishcakes with a perfectly poached egg on top of them. He almost demolished them before I got chance to taste them, which I am glad I did – the addition of lemon juice made them just delicious.
For main course I chose the confit duck the The Boy couldn’t resist his favourite of belly pork. These were very generous portions and I was feeling slightly defeated – honestly I haven’t had this much food in one sitting for a LONG time. My confit duck was hands down the best I have ever had. I think it is very easy to overcook the duck and for it to be hard and spiky. This fell off the bone and tasted succulent and had crispy flesh. The bubble and squeak cake was a good addition – peppery and tasty, but the red cabbage lacked the tangyness that I was looking for. Nevertheless, I ate every last bite and really enjoyed it. Meanwhile across the table, the belly pork barely touched the sides of The Boy. He said it was melt in the mouth. We both agreed the carrots didn’t taste of very much but neither of us are big carrot fans anyway.
We did manage to find room for pudding and I went for what I thought might be a lighter option in the eton mess. I loved the icecream and tangy freeze-dried strawberry that were on the side, but the eton mess seemed to only have strawberries in it and not much meringue, so it was more like strawberries and cream with a coulis – delicious but not much like an eton mess. The sticky toffee pudding left The Boy in a bit of a desert heaven, the sauce came in a pourable jug and it had delicious ice cream with it as well sitting on some burnt sugar…. so beautifully presented.
After that delicious meal, we were offered coffee and I opted for a cappuccino. I think it had come from an instant machine – I didn’t drink it…. it was not nice at all.
To end on a positive note though, the experience was delicious and the service lovely. I would definitely come back to try out other items on the menu – the fish pie that the next table ordered most definitely had my name on it! The setting is stunning as well.
You can find out more about the restaurant and hotel here
*I was given a complimentary meal for two in the Courtyard Restaurant. All opinions are of course my own (and The Boy’s in this case)