Fauconberg Arms, Coxwold
Just when you’ve got Farrow & Ball fatigue and can’t face another gussied up gastropub, you suddenly remember how blissfully old-skool the Fauconberg is. It must be ten years since I was last in Coxwold roaming round Laurence Sterne’s Shandy Hall and calling at the pub for a quick sarnie, and the old boozer’s had a torrid time in the interim.
Most recently it was on the verge of collapse but rescued in the nick of time by the Rheinberg family, and they’ve judiciously kept all the good bits and made them better. So you walk in to stone floors, open fires, ticking clocks and hyacinths in bowls. Not a single piece of lovely old battered furniture matches and there are more brasses than you can shake a horse’s tail at. Dozy dogs snuffle round your feet. There are even a couple of chintz-covered armchairs. And no ghastly lift music. Hurrah!
The embraceable menu includes a non-ironic prawn cocktail, ham & eggs, The Game Bag, The Burger and The Pie, which is the real deal, that is to say it’s not a sad stew with a puff pastry top as an afterthought but a properly encased beauty in short crust. As it should be. Nick Stafford, Rudgate and Theakstons supply the beer and here’s a nice touch; Orchards of Husthwaites cider on tap.
The Rheinbergs have theatre running through them like seaside rock, and from time to time they put on plays either in the dining room (furniture pushed back) or in the bar, in the round. They call themselves the FARTS. We’re going to let you work that out for yourselves. Local soap stars sometimes rock up, and West End plays have often had their debut here. There’s music too, usually at the weekends – and HOLD THE FRONT PAGE Dr Feelgood are gigging here in September. I know!
If this isn’t pub heaven we don’t know what it.