Yorke Arms, Ramsgill in Nidderdale
In late autumn I drove beyond Pateley Bridge into lovely Nidderdale to enjoy an overnight stay and dinner in the newly upgraded Yorke Arms. It was recently sold to a local entrepreneur but chef and former owner Frances Atkins agreed to stay on in the kitchen. Dinner is a five or eight course tasting menu and at £75 and £108 respectively and an à la carte hovering around £16 and £25 for starters and mains it’s not cheap, but the Yorke Arms is a special occasion place, so if you haven’t been then beg borrow or steal because go you must.
Asked to describe her style of cooking, Frances Atkins comes up with ‘light, fresh, seasonal.’ So it proves, but it’s also much, much more than that. It has classic French influences but is rooted in Yorkshire. It is modern but never up itself. Portions are not too big, not too small. She’s cracked it.
The genial John Tullett, the smooth general manager who is Frances’ right hand man is on hand most evenings. When you are settled in the lounge with menus, pre-drinks, amuse gueules he will guide you through the menu which might include turbot, or venison with oxtail, malted parsnip and damsons.
Recent changes include an à la carte menu in the cosy small dining room with its old oak tables and wood fires. Here you might order steak and chips or sea bream, which is a less involved menu (though still good) if you’re staying and have already sampled the tasting menu and want a simpler dinner. We sampled the cured halibut and lobster on a buckwheat pancake and seared scallops with truffled cheese brioche. It’s all sublime. A truly superior kitchen at the top of its game.