Restaurant review, Raithwaite, Sandsend: 'Local food cooked brilliantly - and smashing value too'
- Credit: Yorkshire Life
Something about dining in the open air takes formality away. Maybe the fact that you’re wearing a jumper, coat and big socks rather than your Friday night or Sunday lunch best.
But there we have it – that’s the pleasure of alfresco eating; informality, that hint of ‘on-your-holidays', the tolerance of your pet coming along too, and the thrill of your outdoor meal being more than the contents of your Tupperware. Dining with children is always miles easier outside too as they can head off for a scamper between courses and generally wriggle to their hearts' content at the table without tension.
At Raithwaite, a short stroll from the beach that runs between Sandsend and Whitby, they’ve got the alfresco vibe going nicely.
A lawn at the sheltered rear of the hotel overlooks a valley, and as you step outside the sense of alfresco grandeur strikes with a couple of roaring firepits.
Around the terrace are tables with umbrellas, and chairs with snug blankets. For even when the sun shines in April, there’s a chill.
On the lawn are low slung sofas and more blankets – these the perfect partners to a sweet and savoury afternoon tea.
The outdoor pop-up is running until May 16, after which restaurants can open again indoors – but I’m betting they will keep a slice of this outside life going because it’s a nice place to be.
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The menu comes from a new team in the kitchen which plans to make exciting things happen this year. It’s headed up by MasterChef semi-finalist and food author Ollie Hunter, who joins the estate team as the new food, drink and sustainability director.
In the coming months Ollie will be leading a development in the hotel’s 100-acre grounds to introduce a variety of new kitchen gardens, patches and polytunnels to grow organic fruit and vegetables designed to feed the hotel throughout the year.
Ryan Osborne also joins Raithwaite as head chef, having previously led kitchens at Greens of Whitby and at The Star Inn The Harbour, with Michelin star chef Andrew Pern.
Ollie and Ryan have created a new seasonal, limited edition menu for the pop-up. At £19 for two course and £25 for three, it’s smashing value and filled with quality and seasonal produce.
A plate of six oysters (supp. £5), with pickled wild garlic were delicious – a light enough hand on that perky garnish to complement rather than overpower. Whitby fish soup was served with rouille and a croute – and looked so pretty. We went for a fishcake (from the starters menu) as a main course – full of chunky fish and with a spinach and a nicely balanced Champagne veloute – and spring greens on the side.
Crisp belly pork was indulgent and fall-apart, with its creamy fat - rhubarb slaw was there to cut through that richness nicely. Black pudding bon bons and a cider reduction added more fun to the dish.
it was nice to see main courses like local mussels (producers are having a nightmare post-Brexit), as well as seasonal wild garlic pesto for the ricotta ravioli – plenty of foraging potential around these gardens. A nice-looking brioche burger with Yorkshire cheddar too.
There’s a nice wine list offering less obvious wines by the glass – such as a Davenport sparkling wine – a great British fizz to try. And a pint of Wold Top went down well.
It had to be the Taste of Yorkshire for pud - rhubarb and custard panna cotta with honeycomb – and good farmhouse cheese.
We were sat by couples, families, mates celebrating a 50th birthday and grandparents enjoying a lovely reunion with little ones. It’s a convivial spot and staff are clearly so happy to have people back, it feels like you’re part of the family.
Open for lunch 12noon to 3pm Monday to Sunday raithwaitesandsend.co.uk