Yorkshire Life Lunch - Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel, Badsworth, Pontefract, West Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 10:26 22 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:13 20 February 2013
Historic Rogerthorpe Manor in West Yorkshire is celebrating its 400th birthday this year. Jo Haywood joins our guests to raise a glass in its honour <br/>Photographs by Andy Bulmer
Historic Rogerthorpe Manor in West Yorkshire is celebrating its 400th birthday this year. Jo Haywood joins our guests to raise a glass in its honour
Photographs by Andy Bulmer
Some buildings are like fine wine. They need years to develop a style all their own, to mature and become the best that they can be. Rogerthorpe Manor is just such a building. It might be celebrating its 400th birthday (it doesnt look a day over 350), but you get the feeling it is only just coming into its own. Yes, its taken four centuries, numerous owners and even more numerous ups and downs, but this vintage grade II listed country house is now enjoying its time in the sun.
It has had numerous owners over the years, some more successful than others, but it really hit the business jackpot when it was taken over by managing director Richard Metcalfe, a former Sheffield United player, and his family in 2004.
He had worked in the hospitality industry for Trusthouse Forte, Normanton golf club and Waterton Park in Wakefield for the best part of a decade and was ready for an exciting new challenge.
I dont believe in dipping a toe in the water. I wanted to dive straight in, he said, over a glass of champagne before our lunch in the hotels 1610 steak restaurant (opened in March to celebrate the milestone anniversary).
I could see this place had loads of potential, and I suppose my family could see I had potential too. It was great to know they were behind me all the way, but that also added to the pressure, he added.
But he is obviously a man who thrives on pressure. As does his team, who pulled out all the stops for our lunch, serving a simple but delicious trio of dishes.
Seated at two long banquet-style tables in the wood-panelled dining room, our guests enjoyed a sticky, sweet duck salad offset by crunchy,
This was swiftly followed by a juicy sirloin steak a real treat provided by Whiteleys Butchers just two miles down the road at Upton with a Jenga column of chunky, well-seasoned chips and a skewer of seasonal vegetables.
Belts suitably loosened, our guests then let out a collective sigh of nostalgic appreciation when presented with a steaming, man-sized portion of everyones school favourite sticky toffee pudding and custard (although in this case the custard was spiked with Cointreau, which school dinnerladies cant get away with these days apparently).
It was simple food, but simple food done extremely well, which is a neat trick if you can do it.
People told me I was mad to introduce such a simple menu in the 1610 room, but I took their criticism as a challenge, said Richard. It was a big risk but it has paid off. Weve served more than 2,500 customers so far and everyone has been delighted.
Which is an impressive number, especially when added to the 1,000 or so covers they do every week in their Jacobean-style pub restaurant and the 130 wedding parties they cater for every year.
And talking of weddings, Richard confided that he was actually getting married at Rogerthorpe Manor just three days after our lunch.
For more information about Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel in Thorpe Lane, Badsworth, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF9 1AB, phone 01977 643839, fax 01977 641571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duck and pancetta salad with a warm plum glaze
28-day hung sirloin of beef with chunky chips, chargrilled skewered vegetables and (secret recipe) 1610 sauce
Sticky toffee pudding with creamy Cointreau custard
Filter coffee and Pontefract cakes
Laurent Perrier Non Vintage Champagne: a lightly sparkling wine with a light, fresh style, which gives it particularly successful food compatibility. Chardonnay flavours dominate, with hits of crisp green apple and citrus.
Fleur de Cap Chenin Blanc, South Africa: a mature wine with a full flavour and good depth that stands up particularly well to meaty dishes. Like a fruit salad in a glass with added butterscotch and oak.
Grigoli Merlot Rose, Italy: fresh, crisp and full of fresh, hand-picked merlot. Full of plump plums, raspberries and strawberries.
Saltram Barossa Valley Shiraz, Australia: made with 100 per cent shiraz from 20 to 30 year-old vines, this intensely flavoured wine is aged in French oak for 18 months. Full of blackberries, chocolate and licorice it goes well with meat (and great with chocolate).
All the wines for our lunch were provided by Waverley. For more information, phone 0844 556 3493 or visit www.waverleytbs.co.uk.