Clergyman Sidney Smith, on being sent to a parish in deepest Yorkshire in 1809 complained that it was “12 miles from the nearest lemon”, in other words, gastronomically beyond the pale.
200 years later this can still be the case so we include a list of recommended eating/drinking places in the welcome packs which are all tried and tested and retried regularly. I can’t be held responsible if you go off piste – there are some very quirky restaurants round here (e.g. the guests who enquired about lunch at a local pub – no one brought menus so they returned to the bar to re-enquire and were told ‘yer avin a beef baguette’). Even some of our recommended places can be inconsistent.
To be charitable, this is a rural/tourist area so places are often packed in summer and at weekends and can be deathly quiet in winter and midweek. Managing such a place is not an easy task; offering fresh ingredients and finding staff in sparsely populated areas can be very difficult and people often go in to hospitality who don’t really have a flair but it’s basically that or farming.
When we first moved here we tried everywhere within a 45 minute drive and I did actually cry in one place as I worked through another dubious plateful with a smelly pub dog sitting 6 inches from my face (I’m much less fussy now that I have my own smelly dog). We did however find a few favourites which we stick to and we tend to go out for the company rather than the food as I get some pretty good food at home these days. Paul can cook and at the moment our daughter is staying with us until her café opens in London – I have to say her food is phenomenal. She has already catered for a vegan retreat, a Valentine’s Supper and an Easter Celebration meal.
The good news for our guests is that while she is here she is going to be offering supper most Saturdays. 2 course dinners for £15 or £20 with wine – chef’s choice (look out for the blackboard.)
Check out http://www.saltandtheradish.com/