Yorkshire Life Lunch - Wheatley Arms, Ben Rydding, West Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 21:27 20 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:35 20 February 2013
A new era begins for a public house in West Yorkshire saved by its neighbours. Photographs by Joan Russell
Friendliness costs nothing and it can mean so much, said Ewan Harries, of Individual Inns a company which recognises the importance of a warm and friendly pub at the heart of a community. A pub should be very much the centre of a community and the Wheatley Arms is becoming just that, he added.
Guests arriving for the Yorkshire Life Lunch at the newly refurbished dining pub soon discovered the warmth of a Wheatley Arms welcome as they were greeted with fine wine and canaps before sitting down to a three course meal prepared with locally reared and grown ingredients.
It was thanks to a local community campaign that the Wheatley Arms in Ben Rhydding near Ilkely, is developing as an important neighbourhood venue and is able to give back some of the same kind of support that was offered when the pub faced demolition. Residents fought to prevent their local being pulled down and replaced by a block of flats with the help of SUP (Save Us Pub) a group working to save local pubs.
Individual Inns which took over the Wheatley Arms and completely refurbished the building recognises the strength of support from the neighbourhood.
A pub is often very much the centre of a community and it should be so. What we have tried to do is build on that particularly with local schools, added Ewan. Pupils have helped us develop a menu for young people and have even come along for a tasting which was very exciting. They surprised me with some of their choices such as sea bass which was unexpected. Children were also involved in switching on the Christmas lights here and we invited the Ben Rhydding Junior School choir to come along. And we have set aside some spare land at the Wheatley Arms for an allotment where they can grow their own vegetables.
We are also getting involved with Ilkley Literature Festival with the Wheatley Arms as a venue and introducing lunches with speakers that we hope would interest people in the community.
I am very pleased with how the Wheatley Arms is developing as a warm and inviting hub of the community.
And the food wasnt bad either. Our food and drink consultant Annie Stirk described the menu at lunch as fantastic and paid tribute to the chef Matt Broadley and his team. She also congratulated local suppliers on the excellent quality of their produce.
We also took the opportunity at the lunch to present a cheque for 2,300 to the Sick Childrens Trust raised at the Yorkshire Life Food & Wine Awards last October. The charity was chosen by our special guest food critic Jay Rayner. Another 300 was donated to the St Edward the Confessor Church of England, York, chosen by our guest presenter Harry Gration.
All wines served at lunch were supplied by House of Townend, Hull
Wine on arrival
Prosecco Vetriano Adria Vini, Veneto, Italy
A delicious sparkling wine made with the delicate and aromatic Prosseco grapes. Fragrant and lively with flavours of apple and pear with and a soft mouth-watering finish.
Avondale Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Paarl, South Africa
served with the first course. This has a pronounced bouquet of ripe tropical fruit and green pepper with gooseberry undertones. A complex full-bodied wine with a crisp lingering aftertaste.
LAristocrate Shiraz/Viognier 2008, Southern France
Aromas of blackberries enhanced by the citrusy flavours of the Viognier. The blend contains around 95 per cent Shiraz with Viognier adding a zippiness and lifting the finish.
Avondale Muscat Blanc
This wine served at dessert is enticingly sweet; melons and apricots with perfectly balanced acidity. Muscat is known as Muscadel or Hanepoot and can be either red or white. Like Australian Muscats these can be high-quality fortified wines.
A: Wheatley Arms, Wheatley Lane, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, LS29 8PP, West Yorkshire. T: 01943 816496. W:www.individualinns.co.uk
A: House of Townend, Red Duster House, 101 York Street, Hull, HU2 0QX. T: 01482 586582. W: www.hotwines.co.uk