Yorkshire Life Luncheon - The Blue Bell Inn, Weaverthorpe, North Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 01:16 27 May 2011 | UPDATED: 20:03 02 November 2015
Guests wind their way along the Yorkshire Wolds for a glamorous early summer soiree. Jo Haywood winds along with them Photographs by Andy Bulmer
Ginger Rogers famously mirrored every move Fred Astaire made, but did it backwards and in high heels. In the same way, Leanne Fisher creates beautiful plates of food to match the best chefs in the county, but does it in full make-up, high heels and a slinky designer dress.
Okay, that’s not her kitchen uniform of choice every day – she’s generally in her chef’s whites – but on the day of our lunch, she saw off all the plates in a very glamorous fashion. And it didn’t go unnoticed.
‘Leanne must surely be the most glamorous chef in Yorkshire,’ said our food and drink consultant, Annie Stirk, as the chef and her team took a bow at the end of a highly enjoyable lunch. ‘We reckon she’s the new Nigella. The lunch looked and tasted pretty stupendous too. The food was delicious and the plates were packed with wonderful ideas.’
Our starter was a perfect example of a creative plate with four punchy little shots of seafood. Smooth lobster bisque and creamy fish pie sat beautifully alongside vibrant cocktails of lobster and crab, giving us a host of sea-related flavours in a single stylish setting.
Next came a trio of Charlie Gibson’s rare breed pork with a butter-soft tile of belly pork on piquant mustard mash, medallions of fillet providing a snug sandwich around a coin of black pudding and a sensational savoury parcel of braised shoulder.
As a final flourish, our guests were treated to a trio of Leanne’s signature sweets that were billed as ‘miniature’ but were anything but. Each a distinctive sweet treat in its own right, they included a silky smooth crème brulee, a terrifically tart rhubarb crumble and a delectable nutty meringue with raspberries and cream.
All were served in the elegantly refurbished dining room of The Blue Bell, a fine country pub that was struggling when Leanne and her husband, Jarrod, took over 11 years ago. Since then, they have put time, money and endless hours of effort into transforming a tired old boozer into a booming business.
‘When we bought this place it was lived-in and unloved,’ said Jarrod. But I could see the potential when I walked in the door.’
The couple made their name at the Star Inn in North Dalton before taking on The Blue Bell.
They have managed to retain the pub’s strong local links by still hosting the darts and domino teams, but have added to its charm with two private dining rooms and six extra bedrooms – doubling its original overnight capacity.
‘We wanted to retain as much of the old pub charm as we could,’ said Jarrod. ‘And we must have done something right because the locals still keep on coming.’
It’s not just the locals who have been won over by this very special pub either; customers wind their way along the Wolds from across the county to experience Leanne’s finely crafted cooking.
But the Fishers are not the type of people to sit back idly and bask in the praise heaped on them.
‘I’m always looking for the next new challenge,’ said Jarrod. ‘But we are enjoying ourselves so much that it would take a lot to tear us away.
‘This is a real family business for us – Taylor, our son, is now working with us too – and that’s something we wouldn’t want to change.’
For more information about The Blue Bell in Weaverthorpe, call 01944 738204 or visit the website at bluebellweaverthorpe.co.uk.
Scarborough lobster bisque, crayfish cocktail, dressed Whitby crab and fish pie shots
Slow cooked rare breed belly pork on wholegrain mustard mash, medallions of fillet with black pudding and braised shoulder with sage and apple
Baileys crème brulee, rhubarb crumble and chewy nutty meringue with raspberries and cream