Yorkshire Life Luncheon - The Parsonage Country House Hotel & Spa, Escrick, near York

PUBLISHED: 22:28 25 July 2012 | UPDATED: 20:00 02 November 2015

Yorkshire Life Luncheon -  The Parsonage Country House Hotel & Spa, Escrick, near York

Yorkshire Life Luncheon - The Parsonage Country House Hotel & Spa, Escrick, near York

Guests enjoy the innovative approach to food by a young and talented chef at a favourite country house hotel Photographs: Andy Bulmer

Gemma GouldenGemma Goulden

There are exciting changes at the Parsonage Country House Hotel, in the pretty village of Escrick, just a short drive from the historic city of York. And guests at the Yorkshire Life lunch were among the first to experience one of the hotel’s major developments, the new Cloisters Spa and Health Club.

But first there was a delicious lunch served in the Pirus Suite overlooking the lush hotel grounds.

Darren Davis is the hotel’s young and ambitious head chef who is keen to develop further the kitchen’s quality range of dishes to firmly establish the Parsonage Hotel as a food destination.

He enjoys experimenting with flavours and textures. ‘People today are looking for that something special, a flavour or texture that is memorable, something that will make them come back again just to see what else is new,’ said Darren. He’s just 29, young to be in charge of the eating experience at a well established, prestigious country house hotel like the Parsonage but he has worked hard to achieve the position of trust.

Janet Balmforth, Emma WaltonJanet Balmforth, Emma Walton

Darren began his career at the Parsonage Hotel & Spa at the age of 16 as a commis chef.

After a few years he left to work in France and study classic cookery but then returned to York and the Parsonage.

And it is proving to be a very welcome return for many reasons including increasing guest numbers despite today’s difficult economic climate.
Yorkshire Life lunch guests were more than appreciative of a menu he created for us on a busy day when the hotel’s spa was also officially opened.

Guest were greeted with a glass of English ‘champagne’ and a wonderful selection of canapes including scallops wrapped in Parma ham, cauliflower and cumin dip, chive profiteroles filled with Yorkshire brie and red pepper mouse.

Darren BoothDarren Booth

Lunch began with Yorkshire goat’s cheese croquet with beetroot foam, a beautifully simple dish that really whetted our appetites. It was followed by tender roasted Lion of Lamb and Pressed Neck Fillet with perfectly cooked Parisian potatoes, carrot and swede puree with mint and asparagus tips. Darren cleverly judged the lunch time serving allowing guests to enjoy fully the flavours without feeling overwhelmed.

And so we were ready to indulge in a delicious dessert of warm raspberry and mascarpone tart served with mascarpone sorbet and raspberry jelly.
We finished off with York Coffee’s Columbian coffee with chocolates.
Paul Tate- Smith of Tate Smith Malton, North Yorkshire, selected the wines, perfectly pairing them with each course.

Quality, said Parsonage marketing manager, Janet Balmforth, was more important than ever to ensure guests had a memorable stay and visitors enjoyed their experience with them whether it was simply meeting friends for a cup of coffee or celebrating a landmark family occasion.

‘Everyone today spends their money with more care and rightly demand the best quality and service which we always strive to achieve. Now, with the opening of the Cloisters Spa and Health Club, we can offer much more for those who stay with us. York’s best secret suddenly has everyone talking‘,’ added Janet.

Simon FinniganSimon Finnigan

The Parsonage Country House Hotel & Spa
York Road, Escrick
YO19 6LF
01904 728111


Yorkshire Goat’s Cheese with Beetroot Foam
Roast Lion of Lamb Pressed Neck Fillet
Warm Raspberry and Mascarpone Tart
Coffee and chocolates

Wine notes

Paul Tate-SmithPaul Tate-Smith

Wines for each course were supplied by Tate Smith Ltd, Sundella House, Castlegate, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 7EE 01653 693193. Tasting notes by Paul Tate-Smith.

Three Choirs Classic Curvee Brut

This is a quality sparkling wine from a leading English vineyard situated in 100 acres of unspoiled Gloucestershire countryside. It has a fine pin head pearl bubble rising in a deep golden wine; a pleasing crisp fruity wine that shows good signs of quality and class.

Chateau de la Deidiere Rose 2011
This wine has the best characteristics of a fresh and well balanced Provence Rose produced by Maison Fabre, a family-owned business representing six wine producing estates stretching over 550 acres.

Raka Spliced Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon and Ruby Cabernet 2008
A dry, full body, red South African wine served with the main course of roasted Lion of Lamb. The wine has red berry flavours on the nose with herbs and spices; full palate with rounded juicy tannins.

Lizzie Booth, Sue HansonLizzie Booth, Sue Hanson

Concha Y Taro Late Harvest Sauvignon 2008
Sauvignon Blanc acidity remains prevalent in this light, not overly cloying dessert wine from Chile. Fresh, flowered honey with citrus notes.


The print version of this article appeared in the August 2012  issue of Yorkshire Life 

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