The Eagle in Clerkenwell usually lays claim to the title of Britain’s first gastropub, but in Yorkshire we know better. We know that a full decade earlier, in a lovely stone village on the southern fringes of the Dales, Denis Watkins was cooking like an angel and the Angel Inn can count 30 years as Yorkshire's first gastropub.
Denis was the driving force. His right hand man was John Topham, now at the General Tarleton. Together they made the Angel one of the best food pubs in Britain. When other pubs were still serving scampi and chips, they drove weekly to Manchester to source their Fish on Friday menu. They created Little Moneybags of Seafood – fish wrapped in filo at a time when the filo had to be shipped from Greece - it’s been on the menu every day for the last 30 years.
The funny, charming, irrepressible Denis who had created all this died in 2004. It was a devastating loss. ‘We lost the captain of the ship’ says his son Pascal. ‘I owe him everything’ says John Topham. But the family rallied; former Angel chef Bruce Elsworth came in as chef/director and today the Angel is as vibrant as ever.
Squeeze up in the bar where the gastropub first started or take your ease in the more formal dining room to feast on Yorkshire lamb hotpot, grouse with Jerusalem artichokes, seabass with salsify and, glory be, a refreshing vegetarian menu offering leek and chestnut purses or carrot, cumin and walnut roast. They keep an impressive cellar and have nine gorgeous bedrooms.
Hetton, Nr Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6LTTel 01756 730263
Review by Jill, 19 November 2011blog comments powered by Disqus