Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Old Deanery, Ripon

There are a number of online restaurant guides. One is Harden's, which, although rather London-centric, is more likely to give a rating to a poor quality local restaurant than the others, simply because it is predicated upon reports from diners, not inspectors. It rates on three things - food service and ambience. Of the 69 listings in North Yorkshire, six get the highest rating of "1" for food (ratings are done within each price bracket). The Star Inn and J Baker's we've been to (and loved). We have still to go to The Yorke Arms, the Malt Shovel at Brearton  and the Magpie Cafe in Whitby, but last Tuesday we went to the sixth, The Old Deanery just over the road from Ripon Cathedral. This was the view from our table:

Mary had a Yorkshire Ham terrine to start which was a bit on the heavy side but very flavourful, while I had grilled sardines. Initially I treated them like tinned sardines or whitebait - I ignored the bones. Mistake. They were full of tiny sharp bones which took a while to spit out, but after that stupidity on my part I removed the bones before eating, and the little fish were delicious.

Mary had Salmon with Lemon Risotto for her main:

while I had pan fried chicken breast with lentils:

Sticky toffee pudding (unusually served without custard, ice-cream or cream) and cheese and biscuits  followed. Mary was particularly impressed by the goat cheese, the name of which we have forgotten. Lunch. for two with tea, diet coke and two coffees, about £40. Was it worth a food rating of "1"? Just about. Everything was really nice and well cooked, the place was comfortable and service was friendly, but it didn't quite have the spark of specialness that J Baker or The Star Inn have.

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