[Originally posted on On:Yorkshire Magazine: http://www.on-magazine.co.uk/food/yorkshire-restaurant-reviews/no5-restaurant-grassington-house-hotel/]
Grassington House Hotel is located in the centre of the traditional market town of Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. The town is just off the main route between Harrogate and Skipton and one could easily drive along the A59 without thinking about turning off to explore. That would be a big mistake as you would be missing out on the delights that No.5 Restaurant holds.
Grassington House ExteriorAs you drive up the cobbled Main Street you spot the impressive Grassington House immediately on your right. With the lovely, hot summer weather we are having recently it was great to see all of the outside tables full of people enjoying wine and dining al fresco. We walked straight through to the impressive bar and were promptly seated in the beautifully designed dining room at a sunny table.
At first glance, what struck me most about the menu was the great value of the dishes. With ‘award-winning’, ‘rare breed’ and specially sourced local produce in abundance you do not expect to be this pleasantly surprised at the prices. To put it into perspective – their three course Sunday Lunch menu is just £16.50 per person.
Chef/Owner John Rudden says the affordability of his food is something he works hard to maintain. Despite feeling confident about the superior experience No.5 offers customers, he explains that by having a pub opposite that offers a £10-per-person carvery he has to remain competitive without compromising on quality. He wants to offer people the chance to enjoy delicious, high quality food anytime they want not just on special occasions or, as he put it with his renowned dry humour: “When you are in the doghouse and want to apologise!”
We couldn’t resist the selection of pre-dinner appetisers that are introduced temptingly with the line “While we prepare your order, why not enjoy some…”. We started with Mini Thai Spiced Chicken & Pork Spring Rolls with a Soy and Honey Dip (£2.50) and some Mozzarella Fritters with Cranberry Relish (£2.95). The mini nibbles and the accompanying freshly-made bread rolls, Rocket & Pesto Rolls with Lemon & Sea Salt Butter, went down very quickly and only made us more hungry for our starters. These little tasters would be ideal for enjoying outside in the sun on an afternoon, especially for a large party or as wedding canapés.
For starters, I went for the Crisp Fried Guinea Fowl & Peas a la François with Mushroom Liquor (£6.95) whilst my friend went for the Seafood Platter from the specials menu (£9.50). When they arrived mine looked like a giant Scotch egg on the plate – never a bad thing – and a strong smell of truffle filled the air. The guinea fowl was a large fritter of sorts with a crispy, truffle-infused coating on the outside. The meat inside was lovely and moist and not too dense and it went perfectly with the peas and mushroom sauce which was like a little like a consommé. The peas were so tasty with little crispy lardons and soft onions and lettuce and they added freshness to the rich dish. The seafood platter did edge it for both of us though. The tasting slate consisted of wonderfully fresh lobster and silky smoked salmon accompanied by tempura prawns, salmon spring roll and a crab risotto ball that were all cooked to perfection.
We had both fancied the Rare Breed Pork Belly and Fillet that had been slow-cooked for 12 hours (£16.95) as our main course, so my friend ordered that mouth-watering dish and I chose the Beef Fillet Mignon and “award winning” Rag Pudding (£17.95). Both dishes were beautifully presented with clean lines and a simple, uncluttered style which allowed the quality meat to take centre stage. The pork, from their own hand-reared rare breed pigs, was paired with classic accompaniments of super crispy crackling, apple, sage, peas and beans. Both cuts of pork just melted in the mouth and the tastes of apple and sage complimented it perfectly. The only thing that kept the dish from perfection was the fondant potato which was on the firm side and, had I not read the menu and seen it was cooked in cider, did not distinctly taste of apple. Strangely, the star of my beef dish was not the fillet mignon as I expected but the rag pudding. Made from slow-cooked sirloin skirt and bound in a tremendous sauce the delicious filling was encased in fluffy suet pastry. I could definitely see why it has won awards and, as a pie lover, was the main reason I chose the dish. The richness of the pudding was cut through with the simple but packed-full-of-flavour carrot purée which is definitely something I want to try at home!
Luckily we both had room to squeeze in one of the decadent desserts (it was the first page I turned to in the menu as I like to plan ahead for the “grand finale”!). When I say “one”…. we couldn’t decide between them so we went for the Dessert Asciette Slate for two (£13.59) and the waiter even kindly asked the chef to substitute one of the options for the Baked Chocolate Melt we both had our eyes on. Along with the amazing, unctuous chocolate fondant was: perfectly poached pears and brambles; milk ice cream; vanilla bean panna cotta and a deconstructed lemon meringue tart. The combination was brilliant as the sharpness of the lemon and brambles was perfect with the richness of the chocolate and the milk ice cream cleansed the palette between mouthfuls. I was lucky enough to not be the designated driver and also enjoyed a syrupy glass of Pedro Ximemez sherry (£3.60) at the end of the meal that was specially recommended to accompany the dessert slate.
The amazing local produce, skilful cooking and beautiful setting made for a really memorable meal. Despite the high end, gourmet menu you feel relaxed in the dining room and the attentive front of house staff are genuinely friendly and ready to offer advice on your food and wine choices. So, no matter what the occasion is you now have the perfect reason to break-up your journey along the A59 and experience the delights of Grassington House’s No.5 Restaurant.
Monday – Friday
Lunch: 12 – 2:30pm
Dinner: 6 – 9:30pm
12 – 4pm & 6 – 9:30pm
12 noon to 4pm
6pm to 8:30pm