Heaven knows Scarborough needs a spare fine dining room. There’s Lanterna, of course, but is it just me or do you have to be in a very specific frame of mind to get it? Plus you need a note from your cardiologist asking Giorgio to go easy on the double cream.
Jeremy Hollingsworth, he of this eponymous restaurant Jeremy’s in Peasholm Park left his native Scarborough to ply his trade in the south, working with fellow Yorkshireman Marco Pierre White, and was head chef at Quo Vadis when the Michelin star was got. So he knows his onions. But not much about décor; the food is very good and the dining room isn’t. Does it matter? He’s been back a year, so he’s had time to find the right location and give it some appeal – but it’s charmless. Hard floors, dark walls and dim lighting; just a bit of amping up and softening at the edges and you’ve got yourself a cracking spot Jeremy, despite the Basil Fawlty hotels you’re surrounded by.
Anyway, to the food. As my mate Gwyn said as we walked across town from her place: ‘You’ll like it. There’s the odd jus, no foams and it’s Yorkshire portions.’ She’s got that right. Jeremys has impeccably sourced regional ingredients, simply and classically combined, nicely presented – what could possibly go wrong? Over five courses, very little. First up, chicken, foie gras, chanterelles, chestnut and baby onion terrine with sauce gribiche and brioche – faultless. Next, the dish of the night, and as I’ve written elsewhere, contender for dish of the year: truffled white bean soup, with such texture and depth of flavour as to reduce us to nodding idiots. Scallops on minted pea puree follow, perfectly cooked, but the bar’s been raised and this lowers it. It’s on every menu in the land – sooo 2010. Yorkshire beef fillet with fondant potatoes and roast winter veg is beautifully cooked, simply brought, few cheffy flourishes and all the better for it.
At the start of the evening I spotted rum baba on the menu which I knew I was going to leave room for; not seen one of those on a menu since the Berni Inn Blowouts circa 1982. Ah well, the best laid plans… I didn’t leave room, but had it anyway. It was disappointingly bland – not soaked in rum as I remembered – actually I couldn’t detect any at all. But after four memorable courses, it’s a nit-pick. By this time the panels in my special pants are in shards. Hey Ho.