Yorkshire Life Lunch - The Boar's Head, Ripley, North Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 11:44 13 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:41 20 February 2013
Guests enjoy an elegant summer lunch in the shadow of Ripley Castle <br/>Words by Jo Haywood. Photographs by Andy Bulmer
Most restaurateurs think they are lords of all they survey, but the man with his name above the door at the Boars Head in Ripley actually is.
This elegant former coaching inn is part of the Ripley Castle estate, owned by Sir Thomas Ingilby, whose family have lived in the village for more than 700 years.
The hotel, with its own pub, restaurant and bistro, sits beside the main road in this popular little village with a cobbled courtyard for parking and a lovely rear garden for lazy afternoons with coffee and the papers.
Along with its thriving neighbouring businesses and the castle itself, the restaurant is a real testament to the hard work and dedication invested by Sir Thomas since inheriting at 18. He not only took on 3,500 acres but also an equally substantial bill for estate duty. Others may have faltered, but with the energetic and knowledgeable support of his wife, Lady Emma, he has transformed the castle and the surrounding village into a not-to-be-missed destination.
The Boars Head has also become a bit of a must-visit too. Even friends of the Ingilbys invited to stay at the castle have been known to book themselves into the hotel instead because its more comfortable. But Lady Emma is not one to take offence. In fact, she takes it as a compliment as she chose the furnishings for each of the hotels 25 luxury bedrooms, right down to the toy boats in every bathroom.
Not to be outdone, Sir Thomas is in charge of the wine list, sourcing and tasting each and every one. But on a day to day basis the Boars Head is run by Steve Chestnutt, who arrived at the estate 15 years ago as a chef.
It was a difficult choice to come out of the kitchen, but I thought it was an experiment worth trying, he said, as we sipped a deliciously different Rhubarb Royale in the fine dining room.
I can honestly say Ive not looked back since, he added.
The kitchen is now led by Kevin Kindland, who joined in January from El Gato Nero in Ripponden.
Hes a very skilled man, said Steve. He cares about fine dining but he can also handle multiple covers. Hes got the balance just right. I just let him get on with it.
For our lunch, Kevin and his team delivered platters of fresh, innovative canaps in the garden, giving us a hint of what was to come with garden vegetable gazpacho, skewer of Yorkshire Fettle, watermelon, basil and tomato, and smoked chicken Caesar salad.
When seated in the main restaurant, we were presented with a picture perfect mosaic tile of Nidderdale trout and piquant, but not too harsh goats cheese.
Next came an expertly executed duo of lamb, the crisp fat of the roasted rack providing a toothsome counterpoint to the butter-soft belly.
And finally a pretty plate of Ripley strawberries, fresh from the castle kitchen garden, transformed into bite-sized, juicy jewels of sorbet and jelly with cream, meringue and sherbet.
Being part of such a successful estate is a massive bonus for us, said Steve. Partly because it means we are almost always full, but also because it means we have our pick of the produce from the castle kitchen gardens. Were not totally self-sufficient, but we try to source as locally as we can.
Sir Thomas and Lady Emma pop in to their local and it really is theirs in every sense a lot but are happy to let Steve and his team get on with ensuring the business runs smoothly.
The Boars Head, Ripley Castle Estate, Ripley, Harrogate, HG3 3AY, 01423 771888. www.boarshead ripley.co.uk. A two-course meal costs 16.50, three courses are 20 and an overnight break starts at 85.
Mosaic of smoked Nidderdale trout, Yellison Farm goats cheese and garden vegetables with Whitby crab bonbon, baby beetroot, salad leaves and
Duo of Yorkshire lamb (roasted rack and slow cooked belly) with thyme and apple pomme anna, carrot puree, pea and mint
Ripley strawberries in Eton mess, sorbet, bubble, frappe, sherbet, jelly and cream