Tag Archives: Yorkshire

The Star Inn The City – York

“There can’t be a better setting in York to enjoy a scrumptious Sunday lunch”

We had the enviable task of meeting up with some fine old, Yorkshire folk in the beautiful city of York. Social media advice suggested ‘The Star Inn The City’, sister to Michelin starred ‘The Star Inn Harome’ would provide a suitable setting. Boy they were right. Located in the Old Engine House on the edge of York’s Museum Gardens in a riverside setting close to the historic Lendal Bridge, The Star Inn The City is superbly positioned overlooking the wonderful Ouse.


Both ‘Stars’ (York and Harome) are headed up by celebrated and inimitable chef Andrew Pern. By pure coincidence the Star in York chef Michael Wilkinson featured on Masterchef days later. Humour and quirkiness lurks in the DNA, as depicted by the many cartoon images and fun menus. It’s a mixture of old and new. Half the place is a space age glass house which is welded onto the old engine tower. Its in the glass bit that you dine. It’s a lovely space overlooking what Im sure in summer would be a packed outdoor deck.


As the place was packed out and we were thirty minutes early for our 3pm slot we downed a pint of hand pulled ‘two chefs’ ale in the old, wonderfully quaint river room, before moving across to the sleek, new bit and choosing from the colourful menu.

I started with the Posh Peeled Prawn Cocktail with Oak-smoked Salmon, Bloody Mary Sorbet, Green Pea Purée, Marinaded Tomatoes and Fresh Basil (£12). It came in a huge, glass goblet, packed to the gunnels with fishy goodness. There must have been a pound of salmon in there! It was a far cry from the bright pink 1970’s efforts I’ve had before. Glorious. The Yorkshire gent went for Deep-fried Devilled Whitebait with Lemon and Cracked Black Pepper Mayonnaise (£7). It arrived on a plank, the whitebait settled into a large bowl. Another corking portion.

Enormous prawn cocktail, goats cheese, scallops en croute

The ladies went for Baked King Scallops ‘En Croûte’ with Fountains Gold Cheddar, Smoked Bacon & Creamed Leeks… cooked to order (at a fairly eye watering £15) along with the Deep-fried Breaded Lowna Dairy Goats Cheese with Stewed Fig Chutney, Candied Walnuts and Mulled Wine Syrup (£9). The scallops a triumph, the goats cheese (according the The Flame) a little less so.

The fun menu, whitebait

For mains two of us went from the specials menu and had the roast waterford farm sirloin beef and all the trimmings (£19). One went for the rather stunning ’10oz’ Gammon ‘Rib Eye’ with Fried Free Range Egg, Honey’d Pineapple and chips (£15). The Flame unusually went for the ‘10oz’ Marbled Rib-eye served with ‘Viking Buttered’ Flat Mushroom, Chip Shop Chips, Bloody Mary Ketchup & House Salad £28). Bizarrely all were served on long, narrow plates and arranged sideways. Unusual, but it all still tasted great. The beef particularly good, cooked as god intended with a slightly pink hue. The gammon wonderfully thick and salty.



As ever the sweet tooth took over, so I ordered up a rather stunning Baked Rice Pudding with English Toffee, Hedgerow Jam & Sugar’d Skin (£8). Came in its own skillet, really looked and tasted the part. Loved the crunchy top. One went Baked Ginger Parkin with Rhubarb, Ripple Ice Cream, Hot Spiced Syrup (£8) whilst one went for the dramatically presented Mulled wine baba, yorkshire honey granola, glazed figs, mascarpone and goats curd cream, with lime (£8).

Rice pudding, mulled baba, parkin

The bill for four came in at just over £200. Possibly a touch weightier than a normal Sunday lunch? No doubt the extra is for the fine local produce and the famous locality and to be the fair there was plenty to go round. Either way we all agreed it had been a fabulous afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed. Will have to have a go at the Harome version….


The Star Inn The City
Lendal Engine House
Museum Street

T: 01904 619208

Email us: info@starinnthecity.co.uk

The Royal Oak – Staveley, Yorkshire

“They keep pulling them out these Yorkshire folk. Another great country pub with food”

Whilst attending our annual, anniversary, celebration weekend in the fare town of Harrogate, we agreed to meet up with some chums from Leeds. After a very pleasant walk round Knaresborough (highly recommended) we were then wisked off to the hamlet of Staveley. There in lay the quaint frontage of The Royal Oak. Surrouded by trees and other foliage, even shrouded in cloud, it cut a heady dash.


We bounced in for our two thirty appointment. Low beams accompanied the standard trappings of an old, country pub. The gentlemen part of the binge headed for a Sweetheart IPA, the ladies kept down the soft drink track. We settled into a well set table for four. The place was half full. A merry ambiance was in play. A simple, single sided Sunday menu was presented by our young waitress. £21.50 for three courses. A fine offer. The waitress announced that the soup of the day was ‘Pea, watercress and mint’, though I did enquire whether she meant Pea water, cress and mint’, a subtle difference, I think you’ll agree? My little jokette appreciated by all. I was on a roll (get on with it – Ed).

Fine simple menu
Fine simple menu

Time to chose. Two went for the pea water soup. Considered fine by the imbibers. The Flame would have liked hers hotter but otherwise all was well. The good Yorkshire lady and myself went for the intriguing ‘Whitby Crab Pot Noodle’. Forgive me if I wax on a bit here. A giant ‘humbug’ jar filled with grass along with a jug of hot brown stock duly arrived. We peered in, sniffing and viewing as we went. Gingerly we poured in the broth. The contents came alive and we tucked in. After the initial disappointment of not getting a big chunk of crab to knaw on, we both agreed that it was all rather tasty. The crab broth melted the noodles, greenery and the rest to create a fragrant and very tasty soup.

Sweetheart and pea water soup
Sweetheart and pea water soup
The Whitby crab pot noodle
The Whitby crab pot noodle

For mains we mainly went for the ox cheek and mushroom pie. A proper pie too, sides and a bottom. It came with a wodge of hot, buttery mash, a beef dripping carrot and a slew of deep, rich jus. We all agreed this was seriously good. Plenty of shredded cheek in a super rich gravy. It was a delight. It was accompanied by a big dish of greens, heritage carrots and a big dish of chips. All hot and ready. Great feed.

Ox cheek and mushroom pie
Ox cheek and mushroom pie

As ever, not to let you down The Cooktwit plumbed for a dessert. The ‘nearly famous’ lemon posset. Once again the giant humbug jar came into play. The advantage here is that it is a deceptibly large vessel and so the portion was generous to say the least. And given the quality was up there too, lemony, meringue and fruity I can safely say the afters was a minor triumph. The Flame ventured into the fray with a standard but nonetheless highly creditable bramley apple crumble. Our Yorkshire contingent settled on a chocolate truffle, banana, honeycomb and chocolate sorbet. Well presented on a huge glass plate, the good lady loved it. Sadly I didn’t much of a look in!

Lemon posset, chocolate dessert, apple crumble
Lemon posset, chocolate dessert, apple crumble

In conclusion we all enjoyed a thoroughly splendid Sunday luncheon. The Royal Oak Staveley goes on to the list as somewhere to go to again if ever we’re in the area. Recommended.
The Royal Oak,
Main Street,
North Yorkshire HG5 9LD.
01423 340267


Drum and Monkey – Harrogate, Yorkshire

“A classy, long-established seafood restaurant in an elegant part of Harrogate”

A special occasion had the Cooktwit wooing the Flame with a top-notch weekend away. Yorkshire seemed as good a place as any. Harrogate even more so. Betty’s, baths and boutiques, what’s not to like? As ever the first thing to sort, where to eat? Twitter threw up a few options. I finally settled on ‘Drum and Monkey’. A seafood restaurant in the rather elegant Montpellier area of the town.

Classy, elegant
Classy, elegant

Its set in a corner bay, a smart moniker depicts the title whilst a monkey playing a drum (natch) adds colour and further signage. Owing to a flurry of patronage (standard on a Saturday night) we opted for an early 6.15 slot. We peered through the window to an empty room. It didn’t seem too inviting. That said we were whisked upwards to the next floor where several tables were already in full flow. This was much better. It’s a dark, elegant, red room. Crimson flock coverings allied to dark wood create a pleasant and rather intimate atmosphere. The Flame was impressed, (always a good sign). Sadly the darkness rather impaired my photography!

Exquisite, uniformed waiters soon had us settled. The typed, easily negotiated menu on white with blue logo along with a smaller ‘specials’ card gave us plenty to think about. It changes daily depending on seasonality and availability.

Smoked starter and soup
Smoked starter and soup

The flame selected a trio of smoked seafood (crab, salmon and prawns) to start at £12.50 it was a tad on the steep side (given we paid £9.50 at The Easy Fish Co) but it was very good. I went a little off beam and had the Drum Fish Soup (£6.50). Wouldn’t normally go for this but was intrigued. It arrived in a pot terrine with a drizzle of oil. It had the bisque like consistency and colour with croutons soaking away nicely. It proved a little rich and filling for me so I left a bit. I devoured the fish lurking in the depths first!

Nidderdale Trout, spiced monkfish
Nidderdale Trout, spiced monkfish

For mains I had the spiced monkfish with roasted squash linguine off the special menu (£16.50). I really enjoyed this, lightly spiced solid chunks of tail in a luscious, golden jus. The flame won by a mile though. Whole Nidderdale trout with almonds, capers and a brown butter sauce (£15.50) with a house salad. What a dish this was. Huge lumps of tender trout were easily teased from the bone. Even when the top section had been devoured it kept on giving. Beneath the bone yielded another meal. Given the copious volume of flesh, even I was able to get on the act, definitely dish of the night.

Treacle Tart, Apple crumble
Treacle Tart, Apple crumble

Desserts were good too. I had a hearty treacle tart with wonderful ice cream whilst the flame opted for a Braeburn apple crumble, again with the ice cream. Both were £5.95.

For the privilege we disbursed a goodish £82. By the time we ventured downstairs the main area which includes the bar was absolutely rammed. Clearly this is one of the places to go on a Saturday night. As it was only 8.30 we nipped over to the oldest pub in town The Hales Bar. How apt…

Drum and Monkey
5 Montpellier Gardens,
Town Centre,
North Yorkshire, HG1 2TF
Tel: 01423 502650
Email: bookings@drumandmonkey.co.uk

War Of The Roses – Lancashire v Yorkshire :-)

It’s just a jape, don’t worry, nothing too serious. Let me explain.

Last year The Flame and I beckoned friends across the border from Yorkshire to enjoy some Lancastrian hospitality. Yours truly tasked with organising the binge played his ace. He tripped the team into the beautiful Trough of Bowland and set up a Sunday afternoon sesh in The Parkers Arms. Full details of the sumptuous scran are already available elsewhere on the blog. It was a triumphant scheme, Charlie The Greek and his lovely wife Julie were bowled over and considered it the best meal they had in years.
Last week a return leg was organised. The Yorkshire troop were convinced that a repeat performance could be arranged. The Cooktwit decided to run a friendly competition, could Yorkshire overcome the lofty bar that had been set by Lancashire’s Bowland crew?

Parkers Arms, The Cross Keys
Parkers Arms, The Cross Keys

The planned set up was to quaff and stuff on Saturday night at The Cross Keys in Leeds and then round off with a Sunday lunch at The Roebuck in Otley. First off it was into the up and coming trendy enclave of the Leeds granary wharf basin. Saturday night at The Cross Keys was Yorkshires first effort to lever the crown. Set in a run of terracing it has been spruced from the front with the obligatory tin of Farrow and Ball. And rather pleasant it looks too. It didn’t disappoint inside either. Trad gastro pub fittings downstairs with a swirling, rickety staircase up to the dining room above. A pint of Kirkstall ‘North Prototype’, a light, golden ale soon had The Cook Twit settled and raring for his Yorkshire feed.

Crab parfait, cheese soufflé - Parkers, Squid, hens egg and asparagus - Cross Keys
Crab parfait, cheese soufflé – Parkers, Squid, hens egg and asparagus – Cross Keys

I opened at The Keys with pan fried squid, black pudding, beef dripping croutons with a lemon emulsion! Whilst the flame chipped in with a glorious deep fried hens egg on fresh asparagus. I wasn’t sure about the croutons as they had a strong taste of the oil. The hens egg worked well, it spurned its yolk over the greens right on cue.

In comparison at The Parkers we recalled a sublime crab parfait and a three cheese soufflé, both crafted and presented with aplomb.

Starters : Lancashire 8/10 Yorkshire 7/10

Pheasant, venison pasty - Parkers, Hanger Steak, Mutton pie - Cross Keys, Roebuck
Pheasant, venison pasty – Parkers, Hanger Steak, Mutton pie – Cross Keys, Roebuck

For the main event I’ve had to bring a selection of the best from Yorkshire to compete with Lancashire. According to our Canadian waitress Jen, The Crosskeys menu changes almost daily depending on what has been acquired from the area. A laudable aim I’m sure you’ll agree. However, out of eight dishes, three were pig based, two were veggie, which left us a little short on variety.
I had the hanger steak on Saturday night, a cut I’ve only read about before. It came rare and covered with two bone marrow butter discs. The butter was used in small doses to add further flavour and moisture to what was a decent steak. For Sunday lunch The Roebuck pub in Otley served up a minted, mutton pie which I’d have to say was pushing hard against the Great Northern Pie Co efforts that I occasionally imbibe as a treat. It came with a lovely gravy to set it off. Given the rabbit pie that I originally ordered had run out it was a cracking back up. The waitress pointed out that they had the rabbits but had not turned them into pies yet!
Sadly for Yorkshire all this had to stack up against Stosie’s boned pheasant done two ways, the leg in a pasty the breast rolled in a ballotine. A good effort from Yorkshire but….

Mains : Lancashire 10/10 Yorkshire 8/10

Plum sponge, Wet Nellie - Parkers, Coffee treat, sticky berry fool - Roebuck, Cross Keys
Plum sponge, Wet Nellie – Parkers, Coffee treat, sticky berry fool – Roebuck, Cross Keys

Despite being absolutely rammed The Cook Twit (purely for research purposes) stepped up to the plate and devoured a desert on Saturday night and Sunday lunch. The Cross Keys put up a strange but nonetheless tasty offering of sticky toffee berry fool. Essentially a glass bowl of sticky toffee pudding swimming in a berry compote with berries on top. It was too much really. Could have been a smaller portion with some ice cream. The Roebuck presented some real quality. Labelled as ‘coffee sweet treats’ it turned out to be a coffee with a selection of four of the deserts. An Eton mess, sliver of lemon tart, chocolate Ganesh and a sensational local banana ice cream. I managed to take down the lemon and the ice cream but got stawed with the rest.
The Parkers tipped up with a Victorian plum sponge, and it’s famous wet Nellie. Two stonking deserts. It’s a close call but I think Lancashire seals it again. The Roebucks offer nearly taking it.

Sweets : Lancashire 8/10. Yorkshire 7/10

Hen Harrier, Northern Prototype, Saltaire
Hen Harrier, Northern Prototype, Saltaire

Service and surroundings both hit the rustic mark. Open fires at The Parkers, whilst tudor beams support The Cross Keys. All three pubs offered quality real ale. As you would expect The Parkers Arms opened its account with a Bowland effort called Hen Harrier. A lovely golden ale, but I’d have to say the Yorkshire twins offered the Kirkstall brew and then one called ‘Saltaire’. Both were absolutely superb, light session ales that I could have quaffed all day. Yorkshire steals the ale comp.

Beer : Lancashire 7/10 Yorkshire 9/10

So there you have it Lancsahire 33/40, Yorkshire 31/40 a splendid effort. A word to The Cross Keys and The Roebuck it’s no disgrace finishing behind The Parkers Arms. There’s an experienced team there serving amazing food.
We had a great time in Leeds and we certainly ate and drank well. We would definately go back to both places. They are both on our radar. I notice today there is chicken on the menu at The Cross Keys. The Flame would have been a little happier.

Parkers Arms
Nr Clitheroe
01200 446236

The Cross Keys
107 Water Lane, leeds LS11 5WD
Tel: 0113 243 3711

The Roebuck Pub
Roebuck Terrace
West Yorkshire
LS21 2EY
Telephone: 01943 463063