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December 11 2013 Latest news:
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Guests enjoy a hearty Yorkshire lunch at one of the county's most welcoming hotel restaurants Photographs by Andy Bulmer
Scarborough crab with avocado salad
Locally sourced sorbet
Roasted sirloin of North Yorkshire beef with Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes
Trio of chocolate
Phrases such as best kept secret and hidden gem are much over-used but they are a perfect fit for the Old Lodge in Malton. Add to that, a warm welcome, exceptional food beautifully cooked with unpretentious menus and that about sums up this Yorkshire Life lunch.
The charming restaurant is part of a 20-room hotel which sits in immaculately kept grounds on the brow of a hill on the edge of the market town of Malton between Pickering and York.
The building, originally a castle gatehouse, parts of which date back to the 17th century, is said to be haunted; always an added attraction so long as restless spirits dont do anything to interrupt this wonderful lunch.
The menu couldnt have been more inviting. Delicious Scarborough crab served with avocado salad was a tasty beginning followed by a citrus -sharp palate cleansing sorbet.
But then the main course with wow factor arrived. There were genuine gasps of approval as enormous portions of beautiful Yorkshire-bred beef supplied by Sykes House Farm, deservedly known as the chefs butcher, were served with crisp Yorkshire puddings. Tender slices of beef buried the roast potatoes already on the plate while dishes of perfectly cooked vegetables were brought to the table.
Nothing could follow that, we thought, but few could resist trio of chocolate dessert which rounded off one of the most satisfying Yorkshire Life lunches yet.
Tracey Holroyd, owner of the Old Lodge with her husband Stephen, looked on as we began to eat assured we were enjoying every bite. I would call it hearty food, she said. Were not pretentious. I think our guests are looking for quality, value for money, especially these days, and we hope we deliver just that. We know what we are good at and we will be as good at that as we can be.
Head chef Mark Hitchcock with his team Lucy Westwood and Rory Masterman like to work quietly out of the limelight, putting all their energy into creating the finest dishes.
Stephen Holroyd, a chef himself, recognises a hard working, talented chef when he sees one and the Old Lodge has just that with Mark Hitchcock.
And he doesnt need to shout or swear at anyone, added Stephen.
Our food and drink consultant Annie Stirk described the lunch as superb and congratulated the Holroyds and their staff on not only on a wonderful lunch but the professional and attentive service.
Wine served on the day was supplied by Malton-based Paul Tate-Smith Ltd. Paul Tate-Smith introduced the wines to guests as they were served. He included what is becoming an increasingly rare dessert wine, Brown Brothers Liqueur Muscat, which is now no longer produced. Paul believes he has most of the remaining bottles. Im not a great lover of dessert wines, often they can be too cloying, but this is just perfect with chocolate, he added.
The Old Lodge
Wines for each course were supplied by Paul Tate-Smith Ltd, Sundella House, Castlegate, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 7EE 01653 693193. Tasting notes by Paul Tate-Smith
Dona Isidora Riesling 2011 served with the first course
Straw yellow in colour with a marked presence of apple accompanied by certain spicy notes of clove, cinnamon and even some slight notes of candied fruit. A versatile wine suited to simply prepared and not too greasy fish as well as pork and some cheeses as dessert.
Celeste Crianza served with the main course
This is an opulent wine brimming with fruit, body and colour from northern Spain. It has an intense blackberry colour. Spicy and intense nose, with liquorice and black pepper hints on a base of well ripened fruits (blackberry and cherry). On the palate, very fruity at first with ripened tannins, also persistent and full bodied. It pairs well with a great variety of meat dishes including roasts and small game.
Brown Brothers Liqueur Muscat served with dessert
This has a glorious colour with rich tawny hues of deep golden brown. It has wonderful complex nose exuding aromas of dates, sultanas, dried figs and ripe raisin Muscat fruit. The combination of excellent fruit, high quality spirit, time and care gives this great dessert wine a magnificent, rich and lasting impression.