The Carlton Bore, Thirsk, North Yorkshire - Restaurant review
The Carlton Bore at Carlton Husthwaite is the second dining pub of maverick chef and owner Scott Hessel.
Carlton Husthwaite, six miles south of Thirsk, has all the elements of an idealised English village: a church, a green, a magnificent old oak, and property - Tudor thatch, Georgian - so gorgeous and so pricey that only rock stars and lottery winners might dream of living here.
It's quite a departure for Hessel whose actual and spiritual home has until now been in deepest West Yorkshire. Born in Huddersfield, he was just 19 when he won the prestigious Roux Scholarship and four years later opened his own place, the lively Mustard's and Punch in Honley. It was a much loved bistro at a time when eating out in Yorkshire was just coming good.
He went on to run a series of solid places around Huddersfield without quite capturing the same magic until he purchased a run down old pub in Rishworth near Halifax, renamed it the Old Bore, on the premise that it was anything but boring and transformed it into a respected gastropub.Now he has taken the plunge with a second Bore, refurbishing the former Carlton Inn. It's a lovely building of rustic brick which he's carefully updated. Compared with the studied clutter of the Rishworth Bore, this one is tastefully restrained based on muted colours, coconut matting,Windsor chairs and solid country furniture. It is warm and welcoming yet still pleasantly contemporary.
The menu is shorter and simpler than the Old Bore and better for it. Hessel remains a supporter of regional, seasonal produce which he celebrates across the menu and on his walls, honouring Ampleforth cider brandy and Whole Hog sausages with framed caricatures of drunken monks and flying pigs.
Three of us, me, my teenage daughter and her friend Kitty tested three substantial and terrific courses which we enjoyed with barely a hitch. The girls began with a big bowl of mussels. They voted them excellent with plenty of creamy, musssely juices to mop up and extra bread readily supplied.
My starter Morecambe Bay brown shrimps were served in a bath of melted butter with a dressed salad and - glory be in a restaurant - hot toast. The shrimps were packed with nutty, peppery flavours, a perfectly executed dish.
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The rest of the menu sang with delicious sounding dishes and difficult choices.What about king prawn tempura with fresh crab mayonnaise, pickled ginger and dill salad? Or Dexter beef suet pudding topped with foie gras and truffle juices? Or 'village foraged' rabbit pie?
The latter was too Peter Rabbit for the girls so they went for the less cuddly 38 day-aged rump steak with chips, balsamic tomatoes, onion rings and a salad with Yorkshire blue cheese. They were mighty plates which they demolished with ease and voted them seven and eight out of 10. Seven because the rump was too chewy, but it was clean plates all round nonetheless.
My halibut dish from the specials board was equally generous. A piece of pure white halibut, a heap of tagliatelle, a pile of sea fresh clams in their shells, shelled crayfish and samphire. It was a perfectly composed dish combining sweet, soft fish and crunchy, salty samphire all brought together with clams and their iodine scent of the sea. Fabulous.
Pudding defeated me but the girls were unstoppable. Sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream was a classic of its kind served in a big white bowl with plenty of sauce. Clotted cream rice pudding came hot and brimming in a little copper pan topped with gingerbread crumbs and a pot of Yorkshire rhubarb. On this form Scott Hessel can bore for Britain.
Review by Jill Turton
CARLTON BORE Carlton Husthwaite, Thirsk, North Yorkshire YO7 2BW T: 01845 501265 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: carltonbore.co.uk Open: Wed-Sun noon-2.30pm & 6pm-9.30pm Price: Three courses including coffee �30 plus wine