Yorkshire Life Luncheon - The Spiced Pear, Hepworth
PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 July 2014 | UPDATED: 20:00 02 November 2015
Guests join us for a celebratory lunch with top Yorkshire chef Tim Bilton
It’s been a rollercoaster year for Tim Bilton. Twelve months ago he opened his long dreamed-of, independent, family-run restaurant and, in the same week, was diagnosed with eye cancer.
Thankfully, a year on, both are thriving. Tim’s feeling well and all the signs are good, thanks in no small part to the hard work and dedication of Sheffield’s Ocular Oncology Service.
And his restaurant, The Spiced Pear in Hepworth, just minutes up the road from The Butchers Arms, where Tim made his name during a five-year tenure which saw his star rise at an exponential rate, has already earned its place among the top echelon of Yorkshire’s fine dining establishments.
‘I can’t quite believe we’ve been here for a year,’ said Tim. ‘In some ways it’s flown by, and in others it’s been a long and sometimes difficult process. If nothing else, being diagnosed with eye cancer and taking on this place has taught me you can pretty much deal with anything you set your mind to.
‘It’s been a tough year but we’ve not been resting on our laurels. We’re in the running for a place in the Good Food Guide and we’ve netted some great reviews. It’s not just down to me though. It’s down to everyone here today – my family, my staff, everyone – I couldn’t run this monster without them.’
His team certainly did him proud on the day of our get-together, timed to coincide with The Spiced Pear’s first anniversary.
Our guests, who took the phrase ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ literally by donating £550 to Sheffield’s eye cancer specialists, were treated to a very special lunch by Tim’s extremely talented team.
First came a generous starter of subtly smoked haddock in a croquette that was soft and rich on the inside and crisp and crunchy on the outside (a deceptively tricky balance to pull off, especially when cooking for a crowd). This was accompanied by a perfectly pitched marinated herring, which can often be an unwelcome distraction for the palate but, in this case, was soused with precision to bring out its delicious piscine essence without overpowering the dish.
The pan-fried brisket that took centre-stage in the main course had not travelled far to join its supporting players (succulent flat iron steak and super-fresh, summer-coloured veggies) – just ten miles, in fact, from Cannon Hall Farm on the outskirts of Barnsley – but our guests were pleased it had made the effort all the same. Presented as a deeply-flavoured rectangular prism, the meat was so tender you could shred it with a spoon.
Then came pudding – and our guests couldn’t pick up their spoons quick enough. This Alice in Wonderland-inspired delight was an edible fairy grotto of meringue and ice cream mushrooms, pistachio sponge moss and lemon thyme vines set amid a deliciously-perfumed meadow of flowers.
It was so good that the smiles on everyone’s faces as they pushed away their empty plates put the Cheshire Cat’s grin to shame.
Our food and drink consultant, Annie Stirk, accurately summed up the mood of the room when she said: ‘It’s such a treat to come here – as soon as you arrive you know you’re in for a right good do, as we say in Yorkshire.
‘Tim has always served up fantastic food and superb hospitality, but he’s taken it to another level here. The move to The Spiced Pear has been truly transformational. What Tim, his family and his team have achieved in a year is quite remarkable.’
For more information about The Spiced Pear, call 01484 683775 or visit thespicedpearhepworth.co.uk
North Sea naturally-smoked haddock croquette with celeriac remoulade, marinated soused herring and citrus dressed baby sea-herb salad
Cannon Hall Farm brisket pan-fried in Longley Farm butter with rare flat iron steak, creamed horseradish potato and crisp garden radish, carrots and leeks in a rich beef gravy
Alice in Wonderland’s strawberries and cream, pistachio sponge and strawberry textures
Macon Fuisse 2011, Maison Pierre Ferraud 2011: an impressive white Burgundy from the south of the region with delicious, ripe Chardonnay flavours. Subtly oaky with sensational, steely dry mineral notes and a heady combination of honeysuckle, hazelnut and citrus.
Monte Nero 2010, Domaine Boucabeille, Cotes du Roussillon: a full-flavoured yet fresh red, packed with fruit and meaty enough to pair with robust Yorkshire beef.
:: Wines supplied by Firth & Co of Bedale. For further information, call 01677 451952 or visit firthandco.com.