Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Pipe and Glass Inn, South Dalton, East Yorks

After spending a relaxing few days with family in Leeds we set off for a few days in sunny Scarborough.  As it was only a small detour I persuaded the Ewing to swing by the East Riding of Yorkshire for lunch at The Pipe and Glass Inn. 

East Yorkshire's first Michelin star holder, the Inn is set in the lovely village of South Dalton, easily seen from miles away by the towering spire of St Mary's church.   Arriving slightly early we received a warm welcome in the front bar, and after ordering a couple of pints of I Will, local brewery Wold Top's Royal wedding tribute, went to sit outside in the sun to browse the menu.

The menu reads very well and features a few 'classic' pub grub type dishes, given a bit of a modern twist, such as soup of the day, prawn cocktail and braised beef.   There was also a large specials board inside, chalked up with some lovely sounding spring dishes, many of which could be chosen as either a starter or main. I was also pleased to see a good use of local ingredients, including lots of lovely East Coast fish and shellfish.

The pub is deceptively large, with a bar and lounge area at the front leading through to a dining area, split into two rooms, and a big conservatory.  There is also benches at the front of the pub and a lovely big garden to the rear.

Fresh bread was either white, and flavoured with wild garlic, or brown with walnuts.  Both were good, with the wild garlic being especially moreish.  It was served warm, and when buttered it became a sort of instant garlic bread.

To start I went for the jar of Gloucester Old Spot potted pork served with a apple and crackling salad and spelt toast.  The potted meat had a sweet porky flavour, cut through with the piquancy of capers and cornichons and a musky note of sage.  The contrast between the crackling and apple was good with lovely little nuggets of sweet and crunchy.

The Ewing chose the wild sea trout tartare with a hot smoked salmon scotch quail's egg, pickled samphire and fennel pollen. This was a cracking dish; the tartare had a layer of herbed cream cheese, which complimented the spankingly fresh fish; the quail's egg was nicely soft in the centre and the Ewing enjoyed the smokey salmon coating.  Fennel pollen was interesting addition and added a aniseed note.

My main was fillet of wild halibut with salsify, wild garlic and cockle stew and a monkfish cheek fritter.  The fish was tasty, but the fritter, while having a wonderfully crispy carapace, was slightly tough inside.  The salsify was sweet and lovely and the rich cream sauce was nicely lifted with the freshness from the dill, cockles and garlic.  I particularly enjoyed the way that the light and delicate flavours came together to create a hearty plate of food.

The Ewing had Hornsea crab, with niçoise salad and brown crab 'sticks'.  The crab was plentiful, but was let down by the proliferation of shell.  Even when carefully picked shell is an accepted hazard in crab dishes, but four or five pieces, including the top of a claw is disappointing in a dish costing nearly twenty pounds. The crab sticks were fun, crispy pastry with nuggets of brown meat, and the niçoise salad added a nice flavour punch.

For desert I chose the Yorkshire rhubarb trifle with ginger wine and parkin.  This was standout dish of the day.  Mounds of sweet cream, sharp, tangy rhubarb, sticky parkin and smooth custard. Topped with the the nutty crunch of bright green pistachio this was a glorious bowl of spicy, fruity, gooey loveliness.

The Ewing went for the chocolate tasting plate, an assortment of different mini choc-based deserts.  This was a bit of a mixed bag; highlights included a gorgeous white chocolate and raspberry creme brulee and a smooth chocolate sorbet.  The coffee mousse was light, but the chocolate layers had set too hard to eat easily and a chocolate cone contained a lovely layer of sponge and orange jelly, but might have been better without the heavy ganache filling.

The Pipe and Glass is clearly a popular pub; when we visited on a Wednesday lunchtime there wasn't a free seat in the large dining room and conservatory, and plenty of people were drinking in the lounge and beer garden.  Service was friendly, but seemed absent and a bit rushed on occasions. The menu is inventive and interesting, and the food was, in the most part, tasty and well judged.  I liked seeing the use of local ingredients and there is even a small 'shop' area in the restaurant with various condiments and chocolates for sale. 

While eating lunch I saw some lovely big steak sandwiches, piled high with crispy onions, leaving the kitchen.  On my next visit to this lovely part of the country I think I'd be quite happy with a pint and a sarnie in the cosy bar area, accompanied by a big bowl of that marvelous trifle for afters.

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