Lunch at The Yorke Arms in Ramsgill was my first experience on my Yorkshire Michelin Star journey.
The Yorke Arms was featured in The Trip, a 2010 BBC comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalised versions of themselves doing a restaurant tour of northern England. I was keen to enjoy my trip too!
The drive up Nidderdale from Pateley Bridge alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir included some fantastic Yorkshire countryside with stunning views.
The Yorke Arms, a former 18th century coaching house and hunting inn sits in a beautiful setting by the green in this delightful village below the moors.
We were welcomed by a ‘caring’ host in the flag stoned bar, who then ushered us into the lounge. Here there were old beams, wooden tables and a variety of coloured cosy sofas and chairs plus a welcoming real log fire.
Head chef and owner Frances Atkins trained at the Box Tree in Ilkley, set up a catering business in 1984, and bought the Yorke Arms in 1996. She is one of only a handful of women with a Michelin star. It was good to see her in the kitchen supervising lunch preparation.
Canapés were served whilst studying and selecting tantalising dishes from the lunch menu.
Having made choices, we were seated at our table in the quiet dining room which was atmospheric and cosy, and surrounded by calming French chatter from the adjoining kitchen. We were presented with an amuse bouche and a selection of different flavoured warm bread rolls.
For a starter I decided on a pressing of wild duck rillete, crab apple and girolle. Full of flavour! For my main course I enjoyed roast wild sea bass, puntarella and marrow, tomato and vanilla reduction. Puntarella is an Italian early winter chicory, and was rather tough. The sea bass was soft, flaky and flavoursome and peppered with strands of samphire.
There was a selection of two desserts or a selection of British cheeses. My selection of coconut bavarois, passion fruit jelly, ginger meringue, sorbet and macadamia nut crumble arrived on one artistically prepared plate.
A pot of Jing green tea and petit fours rounded off a spectacular lunch.
It would have been very tempting to enjoy the rest of the afternoon in front of the wood fire with a good book! But a walk around the herb and vegetable garden at the back of the building completed this visit to a beautifully understated restaurant.
This lunch experience with faultless service was all I had hoped to start my Michelin Starred tour of Yorkshire.