Yorkshire Life Lunch at the Copper Horse Restaurant, Seamer

PUBLISHED: 17:16 23 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:53 20 February 2013

Nichola Thresh, Paul Parnaby

Nichola Thresh, Paul Parnaby

Guests join us at a restaurant with entertainment as well as fine food on the menu. Jo Haywood reports

A great restaurant always has a hint of theatre about it, providing a night to remember with the food given top billing. But at The Copper Horse in Seamer, a hint just doesnt do it justice.

This is a magical mixture of theatre and restaurant with just as much West End as East Coast on display.

And is it any wonder when you consider that the man at the helm is one of the most powerful people in light entertainment, credited by The Stage as one of the top ten most influential figures of the last decade.

Nick Thomas is now building quite a name for himself as a restaurateur, recently adding The Tanglewood just outside York to his portfolio and taking over the catering at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, but light entertainment is his first love.

He began as a puppeteer in his native Scarborough, winning the star-spotting New Faces TV show in 1975 when he was 16 with his Tommer Puppets cabaret act. Seven years later he began his theatre production business with a Keith Harris and Orville summer show.

From this humble start (no offence to the little green bird in the nappy of course), Nick has built a prestigious business empire and is now one of the UKs most successful theatre producers and artist representatives.

He is also one of the worlds largest pantomime producers oh no, he isnt! getting the likes of John Barrowman, Brian Conley, Nigel Havers and Craig Revel Horwood to slap their thighs at theatres up and down the country.

His love of showbusiness is evident in his conversation, his friends (Christopher Biggins, Billy Pearce and premier female impersonator Ceri Dupree were among his guests at our lunch) and in every nook and cranny of his Seamer restaurant. The walls are completely awash with theatre bills, posters, puppets and photographs. All theatre life appears to be here, but its actually just a small (and ever changing) selection of his massive archive.

I have been passionate about the entertainment business for a long time, he said. And when we bought this place five years ago, I knew it was the perfect backdrop for my collection.
I have more than 12,000 pieces in my theatre archive now so its a constantly changing moveable feast.

Its the same at The Tanglewood part restaurant and part theatrical museum.
That tantalising combination was also apparent at our lunch, which turned out to be part feast, part comedy gig with Leeds-born comedian Billy Pearce, Christopher Biggins and Scarboroughs Mr Entertainment Tony Peers.

The star of the show, however, was the food. First on the bill was a crunchy curl of Scarborough woof, landed in the harbour that very morning, accompanied by a buttery portion of potted shrimps and a silky sail of lobster and mango ravioli.

A refreshingly different glass of Pimms OClock sorbet followed, making the most of its role as a supporting player to the star of the show a main course of sweet, succulent local lamb with an earthy black pudding mash.

Finally, a summer fruit medley took centre stage, with a creamy frozen parfait acting the straightman to a raspberry fool in a happy brandy snap basket.

Needless to say, executive head chef Kevin Mulraney, head chef Neil Loggie and the entire kitchen team got numerous curtain calls for their extraordinary efforts and would have received a rapturous ovation if we guests hadnt been too satiated to stand.

Our aim is to breathe new life into classic British dishes, Kevin explained. Its comfort food, but its quality comfort food made with the very best local ingredients. To be honest, its like food your mother used to make, only we make it better than your mother.

Which seems like the perfect set up for a classic mother-in-law joke. Now, wheres Billy Pearce when you need him?

For more information about The Copper Horse in Main Street, Seamer, YO12 4RF, phone 01723 862029 or visit www.thecopperhorse.co.uk.


Yorkshire tapas of Copper Horse Classics

Copper Dragon beer-battered Scarborough Woof, potted brown shrimps, lobster and mango ravioli on fresh crab and brandy bisque

Pimms OClock sorbet with frosted grapes

Roast rack of local lamb with Seamer black pudding mash, a bundle of seasonal vegetables and a glazed shallot and bramble sauce

Strawberry vodka jelly, frozen fruit parfait, raspberry fool in a brandy snap basket on a fresh fruit and framboise coulis

Coffee and homemade chocolate truffles

Wine notes

Champagne Gremillet Brut Selection Fresh floral aromas mix with characteristic sweet, doughy overtones in this fine champagne to balance its richer, fruity tendencies.

Gavi La Battistina This aromatic, zesty wine has apple, lime and kiwi notes with a hint of minerality. Its juicy and weighty with a zippy, citric acid mouth-feel that provides a refreshing, satisfying finish.

Merlot Domaine de Bahourat With blackcurrant leaf and hay aromas underpinned by black cherry, this is an incredibly well-balanced, easy drink engorged with sumptuous red fruit.

Araldica Moscato Passito Palazzina This is a delicious, well-balanced wine, sticky with honeyed, floral aromas. Ripe apricot and acacia honey bloom in the mouth followed by a core of lemon curd offering a fresh, lingering finish.

All the wines for our lunch were kindly provided by Betton Wines. For more information about this Scarborough-based importer and wholesaler, phone 01723 866054 or visit www.bettonwines.co.uk.

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