A picture-postcard Yorkshire setting, honest food and a sprinkle of Geordie charm are winning ingredients at The Fairfax Arms, says Savour editor Georga Spottiswood.
You know it’s love when you can’t stop mentioning their name. When you need your ‘fix’ to see them. When excitement builds because you know it’s date day.
My love affair? The Fairfax Arms, Gilling East. It offers, like any relationship should, trust – you know the food’s going to be good; it’s a contender for Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub 2018 crown.
It’s romantic, with a pretty-as-a-picture setting, a flowing stream and chiffchaffs singing from the trees.
The Orangery restaurant, with its separate a la carte menu, is intimate and we all know long-lasting relationships need good humour to survive. That comes in the form of restaurant manager, Grant Henderson, whose Geordie wit is welcoming and warm.
The Fairfax is an all-rounder. A gent when it comes to wining and dining on a Friday or Saturday evening, and your cheeky chap when you’re in need of a chilled day out with a craft ale, solid cider or a refreshing G&T.
It’s good to see The Fairfax pay homage to its Yorkshire heritage with gins such as Masons (distilled in Bedale) and Slingsby (based in Harrogate) behind the bar.
The menu draws inspiration from Yorkshire’s abundant countryside, with dishes such as Gilling East wild garlic and truffle risotto, where the garlic is foraged from the surrounding fields.
Beef and lamb come from R&J Butchers at Waterford Farm, suppliers of Michelin recommended restaurants, and the trio of pork – featuring belly, cheek and ear – is sourced from the Vale of York.
Even the bread is baked with celeriac and honey. Trust me. You’ll have two slices.
Asparagus with poached egg is livened up with a chorizo jam, hollandaise and a saffron croute.
The soup, a dish which to me is usually so last year, is brought slap bang into the 21st Century with cauliflower and truffle – and it’s seriously good.
Salmon and mussel broth is light and delicious and my dining partner’s halibut is exactly as is should be: white chunks of lean fish that flake when forked.
The Fairfax Arms opened its doors to the new Orangery restaurant last year, bringing a more formal dining affair to the pub’s traditional menu, but that’s the beauty of it: you can have both. thefairfaxarms.co.uk