This is a genteel corner of North Yorkshire – East Witton is an idyllic postcard village, framed with roses-round-the-door cottages. The Blue Lion stands grandly at one end, disguised as a handsome country house – but the homely interior dispels any notions of Gosford Park with stone floors, open fires & blackboard menus. Each of the two eating areas is blessed with big wooden tables, church chairs & candles, the cheerful staff are warmly welcoming & attentive, while the food is proper Yorkshire, both in terms of portion & provenance. Salad of black pudding, smoked bacon & shallots topped with poached egg is sweet to start, & the slow braised Masala mutton with cumin sweet potato, rich & gooey. There’s playfulness in the kitchen too – witness iced liquorice terrine with caramel sauce – a crazy kind of sweet shop confection tasting of heaven. No small wonder this place was national treasure Richard Whiteley’s favourite spot.