If we had to choose one restaurant that typifies what Squidbeak believes in, it would be the Fox and Hounds.
This small, unpretentious, converted country pub set high on a wild and windy cliff top in the tiny farming hamlet of Goldsborough nine miles north of Whitby is one of our top ten.
It amounts to a mere 25 covers, across two small rooms with beamed ceilings, a fifties fireplace and little cottage windows from where you might just catch a glimpse of the sea. And it’s an utter delight.
Sue Davies is the bubbly front of house; husband Jason cooks in a tiny kitchen just by the front door. With no more than three or four dishes at each course he creates beautifully balanced plates, with an unerring instinct of what works well together. Turbot sits on crushed new potatoes that have been braised with porcini mushrooms; a perfectly grilled Dexter ribeye steak comes with fat chips and char grilled radicchio; crisp skinned belly pork is paired with cannellini beans, curly kale and a mustard dressing.
Meat and game come from the North York Moors and his fish is the best the Whitby day boats land a few miles down the coast: halibut, turbot, squid and langoustines. Local crab appears on the menu as bruschetta of Whitby crab with a garlic, lemon and fennel dressing and I can vouch from repeated research that it is terrific. There’s usually just a couple of desserts, but they’re textbook perfect, again: maybe a plum and almond tart, a delicate chocolate mousse cake or at Christmas, a gorgeous citrussy clementine sorbet.
The flawless cooking, the big, bold flavours, the little, select details (like their drinks list) and the all-round charm have won Best Yorkshire Newcomer in the 2008 Which? Good Food Guide and Yorkshire Life Neighbourhood Restaurant of the Year 2010, but still they deserve to be far better known.
The reason they’re not may be down to the way-out location and Davies’ quiet modesty. There is no chef’s ego at work here; instead he lets his food do the talking. And it’s not that hard to find; Mandy and I have been coming here since they opened six years ago and in all that time we’ve never had a duff dish let alone a duff meal. In fact if anyone asks, and they often do, we tell them it is our favourite restaurant in Yorkshire. It’s our bench mark. If you’ve been, you’ll know. If you haven’t and you’re ever within reach, well, now you’ve been told. It’s bloody marvellous.
Goldsborough, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO21 3RXTel 01947 893372
Review by Jill, 31 October 2011blog comments powered by Disqus