Remember the concept of ‘pub as hub’? There are too many ‘to let’ signs on our locals and we’re in danger of losing part of our cultural identity. So it’s a reason to celebrate when one opens.
Local B&B owners Amanda and Richard Bennington found the cash, rolled up their sleeves, ordered skips and set to work on a building that to all intents and purposes was derelict; it had been a Thai restaurant for years then ruined by a landlord who sublet the kitchen as an Indian.
When the Benningtons were finally handed the keys they found year-old food in the filthy fridges and dirty pots in the sink. Eww. So the transformation is even more miraculous.
It’s a handsome Georgian building in the middle of pretty Wath, 3 miles north of Ripon, and the welcome’s as warm as the woodstove chucking out heat on a brisk November day.
We love the oak floors and checked wool upholstery, the range of local beers and prosecco by the glass. But not as much we love the menu; crispy hens egg, wild mushroom, truffle and tender stem broccoli is a perfect little plate of loveliness, the bright yolk spilling silkily over the rest. Slow roast belly pork, scallops, crushed peas and Madeira glaze hits the spot too – all the flavours intact and again, beautifully presented. We weren’t going to be pigs but fig and red wine jelly, set vanilla cream, blackberries, cassis sorbet and granola brittle beckoned. Well, which one of you wouldn’t have?
So who the hell is turning out dishes like this in such a sleepy spot? Gavin Swift is the largely self-taught chef, young, keen and excited about being the main man. All of this translates to a vibrant, interesting and blessedly short menu which changes regularly. It’s not all glazes and jellies though; we watched a pair of immaculately got-up ladies tuck into fab looking plates of fish and chips washed down with a bottle of fizz. Now that’s what I call style.
Main Street, Wath, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 5EN
Review by Mandy, 2 December 2011blog comments powered by Disqus