Sunday, 17 November 2013

Dinner, B&B at The Craven Heifer, Yorkshire

After lunch at The Gray Ox we spent the afternoon in Leeds then headed North/West by about 17 miles to Addingham near Ilkley where we were to sample dinner, bed and breakfast at The Craven Heifer. This family run inn has rooms, each one decorated in a distinctive style to pay homage to famous Yorkshire folk. There's the De Havilland, so named after pilot Amy Johnson's Gipsy Moth, which has wings above the bed and is very 'cockpit' inspired. I particularly loved the dressing-table which was like a glass control centre. There's also the The Heathcliff for romantics and our room, The Perry Green with it's roll-top bath at the foot of the bed in an environment that will inspire art lovers everywhere having been inspired by Yorkshire sculptor, Henry Moore.

The Perry Green bedroom

We arrived as it was turning dark. The crackling fire in the corner of the dining room warmed the whole ground floor and as you stepped in from the cold you were welcomed by the informality of the bar area. But once you look closely you can see that this property has had a large amount of time, thought and money lavished on it. Small touches; magazine racks in the hallways, suggested walks behind the bar, all go that little bit further to ensure the perfect stay - whatever the dales weather decides to throw at you.

The Craven Heifer is on the edge of some simply beautiful scenery and places to visit. Bolton Abbey and Skipton are just up the road and you have the beautiful countryside and many, many walks in some breathtaking countryside on your doorstep. One night is just not enough here as it is the perfect base, but if you're looking for a bolt hole to simply disappear for the weekend then look no further. You will find this a convivial, welcoming and quiet place to simply be.

We crashed in our lovely room for an hour on a bed that was extremely comfortable before going down for dinner which was served in the cosy dining room.  Here the best of British dining gets a showcase and the chef and team try their hardest to only use local, seasonal ingredients.

Best of British dining is showcased and the chef at The Craven Heifer endeavours to use only the very best local seasonal ingredients. There is an a la carte menu from which to choose and a few extra surprises like the mussel foam amuse bouche which was served before the starter and after the freshly made bread rolls, the white flavoured with Yorkshire blue cheese and mustard and the brown with Black Sheep beer all served with salted butter.

My starter consisted of a tightly rolled beef and oyster pie containing beef, oyster cream, smoked parsnip puree and wild mushrooms. This was light and crisp and not too rich - I would have loved it as a main course but it would have been too much.

Beef and Oyster Pie

Yorkshire Blue cheese and English Mustard brown and Black Sheep beer white bread rolls

Amuse Bouche

Then things started to get serious. Apologies for the fact that this photo is slightly blurred, the food was nothing if not delicious! For my main course I had what they referred to as 'Liver and Onions' but was in fact a Goosnargh duck breast served with sauted foie gras, onion puree, confit shallots, potato terrine and pickled onions. This was a grand design of flavours and textures which on paper shouldn't really work. But in reality it does. The duck was soft and tender and not at all fatty, the foie gras complemented it perfectly and the pickled onions were an inspired addition.

The Liver and Onions that weren't.
My partner chose the butter roasted Waterford Farm aged sirloin of beef which was served alongside braised cheek, a garlic snail (not to his taste but at least he gave it a try), hazelnut pesto and sage roasted British beets. Again a quirky but nevertheless inspired combination of ingredients that worked extremely well together. The beef was slightly overdone for medium rare but the flavour made up for this all the same.

Again was there ever going to be room for dessert? Of course there was! It had to be the beetroot cake with walnuts, sweet crowdie goats curd, beetroot marshmallow and beetroot sherbet. Yes I bet you didn't know you can flavour sherbet with beetroot and it's not a bad thing to be doing either! Soft and warm the beetroot and walnut cake was a winter warmer that melted in the mouth. My partner chose the apple pie and custard which was an apple parfait with a praline crumble, cherry curd and vanilla ice-cream, so even this traditional classic had got a complete new look and taste.

Beetroot Cake

We didn't have room for coffee or anything else after this gastronomical feast but went to bed sated and happy. The next morning was gloomy and raining but the weather wasn't on our minds as we were looking forward to the cooked breakfast. Breakfast at The Craven Heifer is a very welcome and generous affair. I really couldn't take advantage of the full spread (fresh fruit salad, cereals etc) but was told by my husband that the muesli (which is made on the premises) was the best he has ever eaten (and he has eaten rather a lot over the years). We both opted for the full English with black pudding, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and generous amounts of toast to butter. All in all a breakfast to set you up whatever the Yorkshire weather and send you on your way....

 The Craven Heifer, Main Street, Addingham, West Yorkshire, LS29 0PL.

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