As a proud son of the southern part of the Broad Acres I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t made many pilgrimages north to one of the most beautiful parts of our county – the Yorkshire Dales.
The North York Moors and the coast around Whitby are the usual destinations, which I think I can put down to habit and also a perception that avoiding driving through the West Yorkshire conurbation is a good thing.
But it’s always nice to be proved wrong and we’ll be making our way back to the Dales as soon as we can.
Our trip took us to the delightful market town of Grassington in Wharfedale. Regular visitors to this part of the world will know it well but if, like us, you’re new to this area then it is just over a two-hour drive, up the A1 and then across country on the A59 from Harrogate.
We’d set off almost bang in rush hour on a Friday night so expected the worst of the traffic but in all honesty it wasn’t too bad.
Making it even better was the warm welcome we received at the Grassington House Hotel, which you can’t miss in the square as you pull into the town onto the cobbled streets.
Having done our research about the hotel and its gorgeous menu we couldn’t wait to unpack and head downstairs for dinner.
However, that would have been if we’d have had a normal hotel room but this one had a bath. A bath in the bedroom. It doesn’t take much to impress us, but even if we’d been the picky sort we’d have struggled to find anything wrong on first impressions.
So, after a slight delay to test the facilities, we went for dinner in the hotel’s restaurant – No.5.
For me steamed mussels with a garlic and parsley cream sauce was followed by a superb 28-day aged Pateley Bridge 6oz beef fillet steak served with onion rings, a peppercorn sauce, mushrooms, tomato and hand-cut chips. Absolutely top class.
My wife had goat’s cheese curd, textures of beetroot and basil for starters with Goosnargh chicken breast tarragon, truffle and pencil leeks for her main course. Again no complaints.
We made full use of the dessert menu and followed with a liqueur coffee to warm us up for a quick stroll around the town.
There are a few pubs to choose from in the square but we only had a quick drink before heading back to the comfort of the hotel.
If the evening meal was a joy then the breakfast awaiting us on Saturday morning was even better. Bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, tomato, cereal. So far, so standard. What set the most important meal of the day apart on this occasion though was the black pudding. I didn’t think it was possible to alter the taste or texture of a black pudding but somehow the chef at Grassington House has created a delight.
We’d been warned that the food would be fantastic, but even our high expectations on arrival had been overwhelmed by the simple act of cooking excellent ingredients superbly well.
After a daytime walk around the town to buy a few knick-knacks and sweets for friends and family we headed home via Fountains Abbey.
Our stay was brief and if you’re a serious walker you’d be perfectly served by basing yourself in Grassington.
Our talents this weekend were in enjoying the food and hospitality. And if that was our mission then it was a resounding success.
Grassington House Hotel is at the heart of Grassington. The hotel offers a range of events throughout the year with a four-course gourmet meal served for £39.50 per couple.
Owners John and Sue Rudden have scooped a host of awards since taking over in 2008.