A PUNTER’S REVIEW OF Horto Restaurant at rudding park hotel, north yorkshire, BY DAVE MACKAY.
So you go to some fancy Dan restaurant and they give you fish and chips and then veg for pudding? Brilliant!
Covid having put paid to our trip to Rome for Mrs Punter’s birthday, we booked a couple of nights at Rudding Park Hotel and Spa on the outskirts of Harrogate. Part of that choice was informed by the fact that Horto restaurant is included in the Michelin Guide.
Having sampled the spa for the afternoon, we mooched on down for dinner. Horto Restaurant uses seasonal ingredients from Rudding Park Kitchen Garden and the ‘menu is dictated by nature, the skill of the gardener and the flair of the chef.’ A three or six-course menu is available and we opted for the latter, obviously – with Mrs P choosing the vegetarian option.
Unfortunately for us the wine pairing was not available due to delivery issues but we are made of strong stuff and settled for a nice white.
A couple of nice amuse bouche came out from the kitchen and the little cheesey cup not only tasted great but reminded me of the “cheese” you get on your nachos at the cinema – in a good way.
Starters were the same for both, a lovely cauliflower tart with the case made from cauliflower and featuring aged parmesan. The dish was elevated by the use of sultanas marinated in dessert wine. This was Mrs P’s favourite course of the meal. It was followed in short order by variations on a bourguignon and then the obligatory bread and butter.
At this point, we had the feeling that things might be getting a bit rushed – but were asked if we wanted a break for a little while which we gratefully accepted. Stomachs lightly rested, we moved onto what was the standout dish for me.
Described as “Cod, potato, chip shop curry sauce” I feared another “deconstructed” dish with little relevance to the original. I was totally wrong. The sauce did taste of chip shop curry sauce, but elevated. The beautifully cooked cod sat on some crispy potato and the whole thing was topped with powdered “scraps”. It was an innovative delight from start to finish.
The final savoury course was pithiviers (game and vegetable) with a really punchy jus and a beautifully smooth puree.
Then we come onto to the puddings which followed the current trend for including vegetables. When they are done right, they can be incredibly tasty but when the balance is wrong you feel that you’re just continuing with the mains and end up raiding the mini-bar for something sweet when you get back to your room.
No mini-bar raiding here, both courses managed the balance brilliantly. The beetroot in the first dessert was sweet enough, with a hint of savoury, to work well with the raspberry and almond.
The next course was even riskier, hazelnut and chocolate are fine but would artichoke crisps be too far? Not at all, this was easily the best of the two puddings and one of the better puddings I’ve had over the last 12 months (and I’ve had quite a few).
In terms of value for money, it was £73pp for six courses and it would have been £50pp for the wine pairing (although best to check the website at the time of booking as prices have increased since our visit). Rudding Park don’t do B&B rates but our stay included £49pp towards dinner. We only ate on one night so we were able to put the extra money towards dinner at Horto.