Every time I eat at the Fox & Hounds at Goldsborough, I re-remember just how good it is and want to let you know. If you haven’t been, go now before it’s too late, because they are moving. They can’t afford the new rental deal imposed by their landlords the Mulgrave Estate and so they are reluctantly packing up and looking for new premises. You’d think the fabulously wealthy Mulgrave Estate – they own great tracts of this bit of Yorkshire – would bend over backwards to keep such a highly regarded restaurant on their patch but apparently not.
For Mandy and I, this is a bit of a tragedy. The Fox and Hounds is the top rated restaurant along this coast. Mandy first told the nation about it in The Guardian. It has scored in all the national guides and more importantly has been Squidbeak’s number one restaurant ever since we started in 2011 and we’ve never had a duff meal there … ever.
The choice is limited. Just three starters, three mains and three puddings, but that’s not a problem when everything is spot on. Brilliantly so. Last night the broad bean bruschetta doused in garlic and olive oil was utterly wonderful but was trumped by a plate of Scottish, creel-caught langoustines, split and given a dose of oregano, chilli and lemon then lightly grilled. They were just the best, juicy, fat langoustines I’ve ever eaten. At mains there was pollock, fillet steak and sea trout caught just along the coast at Sandsend and to finish: strawberry sorbet, chocolate torte or grilled peaches, with vanilla, amaretto and mascarpone cream. It all looks so simple. And it is beautifully pared back, blissfully free from drips, drizzles and foams, from slates and boards and baskets. Jason Davies cooks carefully, accurately with the best of ingredients, adds some magic of his own, and that’s it.
Nor is it just about the food. Goldsborough is an idyllic hamlet north of Whitby, south of Runswick Bay. There’s nothing there except fields, farmyards and country lanes bursting with grasses, wild geraniums, honeysuckle and away towards Whitby, a sparkling sea. The sandstone pub itself has just two rooms – about 25 covers – but Sue and Jason have created a cheery, welcoming restaurant from what was a spit and sawdust pub when they arrived 11 years ago. Now, with their two young children they are having to pack up and go not just the restaurant, but their home (they live in a tiny space above the shop).
The Fox & Hounds is a very special place as Squidbeak and anyone who has ever eaten there will know. If and when they open elsewhere we will let you know asap. In the meantime, go now while you still can.