22 August 2014

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Focus on… the North York Moors


The Black Swan - The_Black_Swan_2009_-_Black_Swan_Oldstead_3_Bar.jpgThe rugged Jurassic coastline that runs from Ravenscar north to Staithes and rises sharply to the North York Moors has such an abundance of high-quality natural resources that you wish that more local restaurants would make use of it.

Centred on the fishing port and tourist hot spot of Whitby, it’s a prime coastline for crab and lobster, while day-boats also land line-caught sea bass, langoustines and squid. There’s grouse and lamb from the moors too, and when the heather is in bloom the beekeepers bring their hives up for world-beating ‘ling’ honey. And who could ignore the craft beers or a cornucopia of artisan regional cheeses?

Happily a growing number of chefs already know about all of these things, and are celebrating the bounty on their menus – from hideaway clifftop eateries and timeless village inns to definitive seaside fish and chips.

Anvil Inn, Sawdon

Antique furniture, candlelight and masses of exposed stone create a cosy, embrace-me mood in this former village blacksmith’s forge. Slightly off the beaten track 10 miles west of Scarborough, it works hard and earns its clientele; come here for upmarket steaks, belly pork and posh burgers.

Magpie Cafe - Magpie_Cafe_2009_-_Fish_and_chips3_-_for_web.jpg

The Black Swan, Oldstead (pictured, top right)

No ordinary village pub, but an increasingly grown-up restaurant that lives up to its high aspirations. Members of the Banks family, who own the place, have been farmers in these parts for generations and only took over in 2006; now the awards (including a Michelin star) are piling up.

Fox & Hounds, Goldsborough

It’s secreted away down a single-track road in the clifftop hamlet of Goldsborough, but chef Jason Davies is doing terrific things at this tiny but delightful eatery. There may only be three starters and three mains on the menu, but every dish is gutsy and full of panache.

Green’s, Whitby

No one goes short of fish and chips in Whitby, but Green’s takes seafood cookery several notches higher with a sparkling menu that is second to none on the Yorkshire coast. Rob Green is committed to the local boats for his supplies, and dependably gets the best out of the catch.

The Magpie Café, Whitby (pictured, left)

Yorkshire's favourite chippie sits in a prime position above the harbourside fish market, with views of Whitby Abbey. Expect queues whatever the weather, as friendly ladies dressed in black and white serve up the finest battered haddock and chips with mushy peas, tea, bread and butter. But that’s just the start.

The Pheasant Hotel, Harome

One village, two top-class restaurants. The Pheasant is son of the more famous Star Inn just up the road. Ex-Star chef Peter Neville is in charge of the kitchen and co-owns the place with Jacquie Pern. His cooking style is more studied and delicate now, but no less exacting.

The_Star_Inn.jpgThe Star Inn, Harome (pictured, right)

After a couple of bumpy years, the Star is back on top form with the kind of original but satisfying dishes that typify Andrew Pern’s robust, ‘Yorkshire- with-a-twist’ food. Go for the cosy, no-bookings traditional bar or the ultra-modern dining room for prime regional cooking.

Wheatsheaf Inn, Egton

Raising the bar for hearty pub food in this corner of the North York Moors, the Wheatsheaf delivers good filling dishes, with an eye on seasonal game. Drink with the locals in the well-weathered bar dressed with hunting and fly-fishing memorabilia before adjourning to the dining room.

White Swan, Pickering

A coaching inn on the edge of the North York Moors that cleverly marries old and new – from classic food in the dining rooms to laid-back bar meals. Supplies from Ginger Pig (Yorkshire’s hottest meaty export) are all over the menus, and the owners have a nose for good wines too.

Woodlands Café Bar, Sandsend

Probably the coolest café in upwardly mobile Sandsend by the sea, Woodlands has a contemporary white and tartan interior to set off the appealing dishes and bountiful cakes they serve right through the day. Bag a table in the lovely garden when the sun comes out.

Find bars and pubs around the North York Moors.

This feature was published in March 2013.

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