Alice Hawthorn, Nun Monkton
A good looking pub in a golden village, the Alice Hawthorn (named after a famous race horse) has really got into its stride since John and Claire Topham, they of the General Tarleton, took over in 2013.
The duck pond, village green, maypole and a collection of mellow brick houses is all you could wish of a textbook village with a pub at its heart. The burnished interior (if a bit self-conscious) of log fires, candles, mirrors and sparkling glassware signals it’s not your regular village inn. The flagged floors are dressed in Turkish rugs, the furniture has an aged patina and the textiles are (I’m guessing) Abraham Moon’s beautiful Yorkshire tartan. The Alice Hawthorn just glows.
The food is top flight pub nosh, bringing much needed consistency to the place after a rocky few years under previous regimes.
We sampled a fabulously smooth celeriac and thyme soup, and a prawn cocktail that adds avocado and green pea sorbet to the usual prawns and Marie Rose sauce served with a classic Bloody Mary on the side. Then a generous cod fillet on creamy mash with a beurre blanc and sea bass with lentils. If you go a la carte you can choose from the likes of slow braised ox cheek and tail in a herby suet pudding, fish and chips, or Jerusalem artichoke and truffle ravioli.
To finish there is plum crumble and custard, chocolate fondant, sticky toffee pud, Yorkshire rhubarb or Yorkshire cheeseboard. Coffee comes with an exquisite little lemon and almond fiand, all of which confirms Alice Hawthorn as a front-runner from start to finish.