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The Aldwark Arms, Review

Simon Binns is charmed by the location and the best beef ever

Written by . Published on August 10th 2011.

The Aldwark Arms, Review

THE A19 is possibly the most boring stretch of road in the universe.

ProperProperThere's nothing to look at, nowhere to stop - save a Little Chef that once sold me an omlette that looked like a discus - and little to fire the imagine bar desire to stay awake at the wheel.

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?

scallopsscallopsI 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).

Sunday RoastSunday RoastThis was a roast dinner to be proud of. Three thick slabs of perfectly pink meat, mashed and roast potatoes, well-cooked veg and the battery goodness of the pud.

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.

PuddingsPuddingsThe highlight was the fondant, although they were all very competent, and offered a good mix of the honest British pud with something a bit more refined and ambitious.

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

01347 838324


Rating: 17/20

Food: 9/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.

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