I was wondering where to meet up with friends twixt Christmas and New Year. I suggested The Hare Inn, a 13th Century Inn in the picturesque village of Scawton, just down a country lane not far from the top of Sutton Bank and near to Helmsley in North Yorkshire.
I had wanted to visit for some time as award winning chef Paul Jackson recently won “Restaurant of the Year” for the second year running by Welcome to Yorkshire in their prestigious White Rose Awards. I was lucky enough to get a reservation for lunch, and expectations were high.
On entering this quaint pub, we were greeted by friendly staff who showed us to a cosy lounge, drinks delivered and a tasting menu to be amazed by, before being shown to a table overlooking the countryside. I have to admit that tummies were not prepared for a tasting menu at lunchtime.
But chef Paul and his wife Liz made a brave decision for a remote country pub to dump the a la carte for a no-choice tasting menu but they have stuck to their vision and I think they’ve nailed it.
A box of delights was about to open, course after course on this tasting menu.
First was a selection of snacks. Each dish was described in detail by Liz.
Next up was bass, sea vegetables, cockle and mussel. At this point the level of detail that had gone into the dishes was clear, shown in the way even the plates had been hand selected to match the dishes. This later became evident throughout lunch.
The setting had the feel of an intimate cottage dining room, with the warmth of candle light and a minimalistic table setting, it left the for the focus to be purely on the food.
The staff were very attentive, topping up our water glasses as the next dish was introduced.
Next up was another divine morsel, dexter –macadamia – bone marrow – celery.
Next on the menu was an interesting two part dishes of mackerel. So interestingly served in little boxes of delight.
As if the food couldn’t get any better, we were then served pork with butternut squash and leek. It was a refreshing change to see the chef had expressed his culinary talents by creating this simple dish, without the use of expensive meat or fish and showcasing the best in local produce.
With the end in sight, we were served an exciting desert from a smoking box, which added a quirky final touch to an afternoon of fine dining. Apple, salted caramel, buttermilk and cinnamon.
The Hare Inn provides yet another reason why Yorkshire is the foodie place to visit in the UK at the moment as it showcases locally sourced, respected and excellently cooked produce in an intimate and picturesque setting.