THE A19 is possibly the most boring stretch of road in the universe.
But I have a solution. Pull off at Raskelf, drive through the winding roads, past Tholthorpe and Flawith and keep going until you had the village of Aldwark.
Why? Because the Aldwark Arms stands proudly in the middle of the village and based on my visit last week, it's worth the trip.
"The beef was so good I wanted to move to Alne village and stalk the cattle. But the hidden gem was the blue cheese fritter. I could have eaten one ten times bigger."
The view from the beer garden at the back is stunning; the bar is cosy and the restaurant is refined. The atmosphere is relaxed - perhaps this should filter through to the overly fussy service at times, but it was well-meaning enough.
But you want to know about the food, don't you?
scallopsI decided to start with the scallops (£7.95), which came with bacon and a squash puree. It was good looking and well executed - the golden, chunky pieces of bacon adding salty depth to the scallops. The puree gave the dish a lightness and freshness.
Over the table, my partner went old school. A Yorkshire pudding served the way it should be - as a starter with pickle and gravy.
The object of this starter, if you were round my nana's table, was to fill you up so you didn't eat too much meat and veg. It was to keep costs down.
It clearly doesn't wash today, as my partner then went on to order the Sunday roast - roast beef ('It comes served pink,' we were told. Bravo for serving it the way the chef insists) with plenty of trimmings...and another Yorkshire pudding (£12.50).
I ordered beef too, but the fillet, from Alne Village (£19.95), which came served with sticky braised oxtail, a fritter made from Mrs Bell's Yorkshire blue cheese, gratin potato and a thyme sauce.
This was an absolute triumph of a dish. A headline grabber. The beef was so good I wanted to move to Alne village and stalk the cattle. But the hidden gem was the blue cheese fritter. I could have eaten one ten times bigger. The rich oxtail added another dimension. It was faultless.
To explore the dessert menu to its fullest, we shared the assiette of the pub's sweet puddings (£11.95) - a peach sorbet; vanilla creme; treacle tart; chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream and a sticky toffee pudding.
And this is the real strength of the Aldwark Arms - robust dishes with a touch of flair, and all packed with flavour.
The drive out of the village and back on to the A1(M) takes you through the delightful village of Little Ouseburn before connecting you with the hustle and bustle of the modern world once more.
The Alwark Arms provides a temporary haven as well as some of the best food in the region. And that makes it well worth a trip.
Even if you go via the A19.
Follow Simon Binns on Twitter @simonbinns
ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.
The Aldwark Arms, Alne, Aldwark, North Yorkshire YO61 1UB
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