Dawnay Arms, Newton on Ouse
Anyone lucky enough to have a boat on the Ouse at York can head a few miles up river to the Dawnay Arms and tie up at the pub’s own pontoon The rest of us have to use other means but it’s worth it for good sturdy dishes like fish pie, fish and chips, risotto of the day, steak pie, steamed pork and cider pudding and a changing blackboard of fish based specials.
Martel Smith is the chef, He’s cooked at some classy joints in the past, including his own swanky Gateforth Hall, (wonderful cooking; middle-of-nowhere location) and once-stellar York Place in Leeds but he now seems happy cooking good, simple dishes that people actually want to eat. Kerry, his wife runs a tight ship front of house.
Stone-flagged floors, open fires and chunky great oak tables are the theme in the bar. You can eat the same menu in the spacious, light-filled dining room which defies any gastropub checklist with modern art and picture window overlooks the garden, the river and a massive loco shed for a family railway restoration project. The car park doesn’t help the view either.
We enjoyed a generous steak pie in its own dish, served with a jug of rich gravy and a pan of chunky chips. Halibut came nicely matched with spinach and mushroom risotto. Pear and almond tart was my pick from a very familiar looking dessert list.