Queens Arms, Litton
Oh don’t you just love it when a tiny little remote country pub gets rescued? Too many are closing and we need these places, they’re part of our history and culture. Not to mention community. This 17th century, low-slung local was looking a bit dog-eared to say the least, and last orders were called.
Just in time, locals Mark and Heather Hancock bought it, recruited amazingly young (but extraordinarily capable) Emily Cowan to manage it and joy of joys brought in the venerable chef Chris Monkman to oversee the menu.
And it’s some menu.
Seared Littondale mallard bread, Worcester apple, carrot and ginger chutney warms on a chilly November lunchtime and is a faultless plate of food. Steamed steak & kidney pudding, spring cabbage and bacon appeals but my eye’s drawn to the pot roast wild rabbit with Agen prunes, Blue Pig bacon, basmati rice. And it’s absolutely bang on.
Such clever, stylish cooking in a pub where all the best bits have been kept (stone floors, fires, dart board) and smart bits added (checked wool upholstery and a general lick of paint). Outside, a big garden with long views over the Dales but for me, this is a winter pub. Emily will pull you a perfect pint of Goose Eye Chinook so settle down with a paper in front of the fire and wait for your lunch.
If you fancy making a night of it, four fab bedrooms upstairs have just been completed; think fat mattresses, crisp white cotton linen, spotless bathrooms and long views from low windows. Heaven.