Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Squidbeak Dinner

So. Who would be mad enough to organize a pop up restaurant in a room above an art gallery in a tiny fishing village on the Yorkshire coast? And on two consecutive nights? We were. And did it work? Not half.

Our first Squidbeak dinners were held last weekend at the Staithes Gallery. Fulsome praise goes first to the amazing Lisa Chapman who somehow produced fabulous food* for 55 people from a domestic oven without throwing a single cheffy tantrum. Well almost. Her two unflappable co-workers Susie and Alison who made the room look lovely with white linen, tea lights and gleaming glasses are next in line for a round of applause followed closely by Al Milnes who owns the gallery and who somehow pulled the whole thing together with her customary charm and good humour.

You might well ask what Jill and I had to do with anything. Well we plied the unsuspecting diners with La Dolci Colline Prosecco and dusted down our waitressing skills under Susie and Alison’s expert tutelage and managed not to spill much at all. Not down a customer anyway. People came from far and wide; all sorts of folk, many of whom had never clapped eyes on us or one another before. The crowd included teachers, a photographer, a judge, a couple of café and B&B owners and Gus the musician from Baildon who just happened to be walking down the street in search of fish & chips and booked in on the spur of the moment. Nice one Gus, good to meet you.

Wines from Flourish and Prosper in Howden were from Chile: Montevista Reserve Viognier and a bio-dynamic Emeliana Reserva Pinot Noir. Even the coffee was served in mugs designed by resident Staithes artist, Rob Shaw, and the lovely people from Priorat Produce brought us a mighty bottle of their fab olive oil to raffle and generously distributed free samples to all. Thanks Tina and Neil.

There are few things more rewarding than witnessing a room full of happy eaters chatting away, glasses clinking, laughter rising. It was a blast and we can’t wait to do it all again 22/23 June and 28/29 September. Be there or be square.

*Yorkshire asparagus with hollandaise sauce went down a storm as did the shredded duck with honey and hoisin dressing. Lemon sole with herby butter was a winner and the slow cooked pork belly was just as good. There wasn’t a single portion of Lisa’s famous crème brulee with berry coulis left (grrr) so we had to content ourselves with a shared plate of chocolate roulade. It’s a tough job ..