Black Horse, Kirkby Fleetham
Despite being but a stone’s throw from the roaring A1, Kirkby Fleetham is a corner of tranquility with a wide main street flanked by elegant Georgian houses, vast village green and stately ancient oak trees.The handsome Yorkshire pub sits cheerfully on a leafy lane. All quintessentially English then, so the subtle Scandinavian interior comes as a pleasant surprise. Distressed settles, cotton ‘ticking’ upholstery and candy striped curtains, gingham-covered chairs and Gustavian grandfather clocks sit alongside flagged floors, an open fire and beams. Cute cushions embroidered with witty homilies (‘hang on to your husband, he may come back in fashion’) are scattered here and there; altogether, the vibe is very jolly, and the welcome warm.
Sit back with a pint of Black Sheep by the fire and peruse ex-Crab & Lobster’s Adrian Knowle’s interesting menu: perhaps Redcar crab and prawn, cucumber and grapefruit salad & Avruga caviar followed ‘a taste of pork’: sticky cheek, crispy belly, tender fillet & chef’s black pudding with vanilla mayonnaise. Not having a pudding isn’t an option when there’s warm gingerbread, pear mousse & cinnamon cream on offer.
A slightly more formal dining room ups the ante from the traditional Yorkshire pub; why not make a night of it and book one of the sumptuous bedrooms with their freestanding roll top baths and Cath Kidston bed linen.