Yorkshire doesn’t spring to mind as a gourmet destination. Certainly it can boast the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, the inspiration for the works of the tragic Bronte sisters who lived and died so young at their parsonage home in Howath. And there’s no doubt that it’s produced a cast of colourful characters. Captain James Cook was from Whitby in Yorkshire. Furniture-maker Thomas Chippendale, the traitor Guy Fawkes and good-guy outlaw Robin Hood all hailed from the Yorkshire region. Cricket legends Geoffrey Boycott and Fred Trueman were also Yorkshire-born.
In gourmet terms we’ve all heard of Yorkshire Pudding. But who knew that Yorkshire is home to six Michelin-starred restaurants? In fact it boasts more stars than any other county in England.
Box Tree Restaurant
We start our Michelin journey northwest of the bustling regional city of Leeds at the Box Tree Restaurant in Ilkley which opened in 1962, soon becoming Northern England’s most successful restaurant sporting two Michelin stars. Today Simon and Rena Gueller are continuing the Box Tree’s fine culinary tradition of modern French cuisine with the menu changing daily to embrace the freshest produce. Celebrated chef Marco Pierre White, who worked at Box Tree early in his career, recently announced he would be joining Simon and Rena on future projects at the Box Tree.
The setting is very cozy on a chilly February evening. The ceilings in this 1720 stone cottage – one of the oldest in Ilkley - are low and the fire is gently crackling in the sitting room. Over a glass of champagne and an amuse-bouche diners are given a detailed outline of the menu and orders are taken before entering the lovely dining room.
Despite the intimacy of the premises there is a space to suit all diners, from couples seeking a romantic dinner or a lively group celebration where up to 50 guests can be accommodated. There is a private lounge and separate private dining room for total seclusion if required. The impressive 21 page wine list is comprehensive to say the least.
- Roast Hand Dived Sea Scallops, Salad of Smoked Eel, Braeburn Apple, Autumn Truffle, Celeriac Puree
- Papillotte of Squab Pigeon & Foie Pomme Mousseline, Wild Mushrooms, Red Wine Sauce
- Warm Valrhona Chocolate Brownie, Espresso Anglaise, Chocolate Ice Cream
The Yorke Arms
From charming spa town of Harrogate for morning tea at the iconic Betty’s Café we head north to visit the glorious Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal. A World Heritage site, this is Britain’s most complete Cistercian abbey and one of the country’s most spectacular Georgian water gardens.
Then it is west toward Pately Bridge bringing us to the majestic moors of Yorkshire Dales National Park. The road is edged by the low stone walls that hug the shores of the reservoir until the ivy-covered sight of The Yorke Arms comes into view. An 18th century coaching house and shooting lodge, the Yorke Arms is on the Ramsgill village green in the picturesque Nidderdale Valley.
Chef Francis Atkins is a Fellow of the Masterchefs of Great Britain and co-owns the Yorke Arms. She is one of only six Michelin rated female chefs in the UK. Like the simple but tasteful dining room itself, Atkins’s offerings are simple with comfortable combinations but with distinctive flair and imaginative touches. Her ingredients are fresh and flavorsome, many grown on the premises. The Yorke Arms is one of the UK’s leading restaurants with rooms and the breakfast continues the culinary standards of the prior evening. Newly constructed garden and outdoor eating facilities will complete the perfect dine and stay experience.
- Langoustine, Leek Veloute, Squid & Chorizo Wild Salmon Mid Cuit
- Herb Crusted Nidderdale Lamb, Mutton Pudding Kidney, Barley Rice, Root Puree
- Strawberry Bavarois, Peach, Walnut, Thyme Pannacotta
The Devonshire Arms Country House, Hotel and Spa
From Nidderdale it’s southwest toward Skipton to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum where that tragic family lived and are buried. Inspired by the wild beauty of the moors, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights remains one of the world’s most enduring love stories.
Our destination here is The Devonshire Arms Country House, Hotel and Spa situated on the Duke of Devonshire’s 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey Estate. Here at the lovely The Burlington Restaurant diners peruse the creations of award-winning Head Chef Steve Smith in the plush cocktail lounge, amid the overstuffed sofas and abundant floral arrangements. Guests are then ushered into one of two dining rooms: the formal dining room is furnished with polished antique furniture and heavy silverware while the conservatory is lighter with a more contemporary ambiance.
The tasting menu is a medley of flavours, perfectly proportioned and visually stunning.
- Foie gras ballottine – Goosnargh duck textures Fig fluid gel – Toasted brioche
- Smoked sirloin – Braised blade & tongue Artichoke risotto – Nameko – Vanilla
- Tiramisu Mascarpone parfait – Coffee – Amaretto Liquorice ice-cream