The Scarlet

For the first time ever we enjoyed a whole week in Cornwall AND it didn’t rain, actually the sun shone all week so we decided to stay an extra night if by some miracle we could get a room at the upmarket Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth. It was May Bank Holiday but you can but ask…. One room available and it was a dog friendly as well, so it was meant to be. The hotel itself is set on the hillside overlooking a most magnificent Cornish beach and is renowned for its beautiful art, contemporary architecture and environmental credentials. Lots of wood and glass provided light filled rooms and stylish al fresco choices to sit and enjoy lots of locally sourced food options.

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As this was a special treat we decided to start with a bottle of Sancerre Rose accompanied with some of our favourite Nocellara olives, to while away some time we sat outside on that strange arty furniture that looks uncomfortable but is amazingly comfortable. The seagulls menacingly hovered above so when D decided she wanted to try the afternoon tea we took it inside. Homemade scones and jams with clotted cream, I was asked to share but decided to save myself for dinner so only half was eaten but that did require a great deal of discipline as it was pretty perfect. After snacking a snooze was required so we retired to our room chilled and readied ourselves for the evening.

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The bar is very well designed and as you would expect incredibly well decorated and furnished with those arty stylish types in mind……. We fitted in nicely, joking apart everyone would feel comfortable and chilled. One comment to make is that they had no cucumber for the Hendricks and the spirits were, well, independent and not many brands which made you try new stuff but I was a tad surprised as you would expect both brands plus independents would give the choice customers would want at this type of place. That said The Scarlet is trying to be different and proud of it.
The menu was small but a perfect mix of meat, seafood, veggie and everything was tempting. We both ordered the same dishes, pork belly and black pudding for starters.

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Veal for mains…..

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Absolutely delicious, perfectly presented with lots of panache, faultless.
Another fantastic Cornish sunset, sat in the huge windows with Mrs S, it really doesn’t get any better.
We finished off some more Sancerre Rose and I had a half bottle of an excellent Rioja Gran Reserva with a lovely cheese board which we shared in the “retreat”.
It isn’t cheap but now and again a place like this, you just got to go for it.

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G&D.

The Talbot, Malton

Readers of Globetroffers will know D and I are fans of North Yorkshire and James Martin so a trip to Malton for a weekend stay at The Talbot where James Martin is the Executive Chef was inevitable. The Hotel has been refurbished to a very high standard and is on a par with the excellent Feversham Arms in Helmsley. In line with most higher end Country Hotels The Talbot takes dogs so The Lad was very happy to tag long! Our room was very spacious and enjoyed a great view over looking the river.
Malton is only an hour from Leeds so we were easily there by lunchtime and enjoyed a lovely Sancrerre Rose accompanied with the very best simply presented piece of cured smoke salmon I have ever tasted anywhere, D had cheese which was all local artisan fare and well presented.
After a nice wander around the town which has some nice shops and an eclectic cultural “local” vibe with various events we decided to just chill in the room before dinner.
The decor is traditional country style which is set off well against high ceilings and just the right lighting. The service was good and the staff are knowledgable.
After such a brilliant experience with the salmon at lunchtime I decided to try it again for a starter as it had a twist, home cured organic with pickled ginger chaired cucumber ketchup and spring onions….. Posh or what? D decided on Gressingham duck smoked breast with foie gras which she said was very tasty.

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For mains D had Waterford Farm Pork with soured cabbage, caper and white raisin dressing and I stuck with fish and opted for North Atlantic Seafood with wilted spinach plus young vegetables which was good but not as nice as anticipated.

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The wine list is very extensive but we stuck with a the Rose.
As you would expect of James Martin the desserts were highly rated and did not disappoint just take a look at D’s crisp chocolate cylinder with blackberry mouse, creme fraiche sorbet and pistachios!!

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Great place to drop in or to stay.
G&D

The Hoxton, Shoreditch

Exit 3 from Old Road Northern line, follow the road for 400 yards and look for the two trees… Good directions and I arrived as guided within 5 minutes…first impression was warm, two fires ablaze, buzzing atmosphere and a friendly greeting from reception staff..room keys supplied and off I went to the 4th floor.. I must admit I was a little wary when walking the short corridor to the room as green fluorescent light are not my thing but they certainly highlighted the room numbers! The room was well proportioned unless you like a lot of space and had all facilities required, safe, hair dryer, tea tray, double glazing, air con and blackout curtains….the bathroom had a walk in rain shower plus hand held shower thingy, plenty of space to display your toiletries(hate it when you don’t have space other than toilet cistern to put your toothbrush!) and a large mirror…all good until G said they needed a magnifying mirror for shaving! his eyesight is getting worse!! I really liked the rooms and more so after a good night sleep in the very comfortable bed, note they do have feather pillows as standard so if you are allergic request hypo allergenic on booking…
My experience overall was very good, the staff are knowledgable, confident, efficient and friendly..the hotel is good value, my weekend rate was an average £114 per night which included the unusual lite breakfast which was surprisingly filling, granola with yogurt, a banana and fresh orange juice which you order the night before and is left on a hook outside your bedroom door

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The hotel has a reception area which sells chocolate, wine, champagne and other items at high street prices and the Hoxton Grill restaurant serves a variety of dishes, ribs n wings, burgers,steaks etc and has a well stocked bar and on an evening is buzzing with a cosmopolitan, eclectic crowd ..give it a try..D&G x

Black Swan, Helmsley, New Year Festive Break

2013 is a big year for D as her Birthday in July heralds forever 49 and she wanted to be piped into 2013 and piped out. We decided that after a challenging but good 2012 we should have a mini festive break so decided on a 3 night stay, dinner B&B at the Black Swan in Helmsley. This is a change for us as we would normally stay at Th Feversham Arms in Helmsley but they say a change is as good as a rest. The key difference between these two highly regarded hotels is that Fev is probably more Country Contemporary and the Black Swan more Country House.
The shooting party set are very much in evidence but as you would expect at New Year the crowd was eclectic but one thing to note was that other than one young couple we were the youngest guests.
On the first of our 3 nights we had a drink in the well stocked bar (Hendricks was served with lime….. quickly corrected) and were shown around so we were familiar with where the big nights events would take place. The dining room is spacious and has 4 areas each open to the other but easily closed off for private functions. There was a lot of fairly expensive art on the walls for sale ranging from old country scene pictures to contemporary seaside scenes, not really our cup of tea but it does fit in with the style of the hotel.
We were seated at a small table by the window in a row of other smaller tables, the person sat looking into the room was ok but looking at the window meant viewing heavy curtains. I spotted a nicer table in the middle of the room with seats next to each other and perfect for discreet conversation whilst at the same time allowing a great people watching opportunity. We asked if we could move and as with all the service it was no problem at all. This table became ours for the duration of our stay, a really nice touch.
So, on to the food; the menu’s were as you would expect derived from local seasonal ingredients with all the dishes being put together will individual thought and very well presented. First night We both ordered the Ham Hock Terrine as starters and D followed with the lamb and I opted for the sea bass, everything was of a high quality, fresh and flavoursome. As The Lad was tagging long we needed to rescue him from the car so decided to have a 3 Yorkshire cheese selection in the fire lit lounge. A bottle of excellent Gavi de Gavi plus 2 glasses of Taylor’s LBV complimented a nice relaxed dinner.
We took breakfast in the room mid morning which can be made up of most anything your heart desires but we were reasonably sensible except I did have some black pudding nom nom….
After a stroll around the town interspersed by a look around some really interesting independent food and craft/art shops the rain started to pour down as normal so we decided to go back to the lounge, sit by the fire to blog and beer.
D could not help herself so decided on a “small” afternoon tea for one. The Lad and I shared a small bowl of super chips. I couldn’t help laughing as D returned 2 scones, gave away a sandwich and still only managed to get through two thirds of the fabulous selection of amazing treats. If you have skipped lunch and had a good walk then it would be remiss of you not to call in for a Black Swan afternoon tea (actually Marco P-W has had one and recommends it too)!

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Well after all that a nap was required before the big night so we retired to our room and eventually got glammed up in Black Tie and posh frock. A live band and champagne reception started off the night and a little daunting but interesting was that everyone was to be sat at large tables to create a party atmosphere. Actually it worked well and our table included poultry farmer, merchant banker, B&B owner so the conversation was very wide and not at all stilted, everyone laughed a lot.
The menu was a 7 course extravaganza outlined in the pic below. The food was superb and all the more so as it was perfectly cooked despite 120 diners.

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We did treat ourselves as it was the last night of a good year with a bottle of Puligny Montrachet and a Gran Riserva Rioja and finally a half bottle of vintage Champers to toast in 2013. After dinner there was a dance but we went into the lounge before being ushered outside just before midnight to be regaled by bagpipes. Followed by fireworks and the obligatory Auld Lang Syne. Great fun!!

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After a good lie in we went down for New Year’s Day brunch, the menu even included a rib eye steak and chips, for us the night before meant a much more reserved small traditional recuperating affair.
The sun was shining and although cold and a tad breezy we decided to take a nice walk with the lad at Sandsend near Whitby which has a lovely big beach plus the drive across the moors has some of the most dramatic wild scenery in the UK. It’s the way to bring one back to life and appreciate our world.
I nearly didn’t make it for dinner or indeed anything else as the hot shower after the bracing walk resulted in me stupidly slipping and falling on my neck. A little scary but I survived luckily without too much injury other than my pride, must admit once she knew I was ok D did laugh and take the mick. As you would expect of me by now I still made it to dinner and we had “Pea” for starters, pea salad in a pea soup with sautéed tiger prawns which was exceptional. D opted for the duo of pork ( fillet and belly) with beetroot, spinach, broad beans, black garlic purée and port jus which she said was good and I had Monkfish with Parmesan gnocchi, smoked chicken, baby leeks, samphire (my absolute favourite green) and chervil sounds a lot but it wasn’t it was just right.

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All in all a pretty perfect to end/start 2012/2013.
G&D.

No.5 Grassington House

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Sunday lunch is always a good benchmark for trying out new dining experiences and today we discovered a new venue that we definitely want to return to.

Waking to clear blue bright skies inspired us to throw the walking boots in the car and head off for a brisk country walk. We should have set off earlier because after our lazy lie-in everybody else had the same idea and the roads were really busy and progress was slow. We decided not to travel too far so Bolton  Abbey was voted the destination of choice and we opted to park and walk from the Strid.

I have wanted to try No.5 Grassington House for some time after reading in Yorkshire Life it was nominated ‘Best Newcomer of the Year’ in 2009 and this was our opportunity. After a longish walk we arrived just before 16.00 and were unsure if they would be still serving lunch? We were greeted in the reception area by the owner/chef John Rudden and offered a table in either the dining room or the bar. Now at a few minutes before service was due to finish and then restart at 18.00 the genuine warm welcome and offer of a table was refreshing. We opted for a window table in the bar area which overlooks the main square in the picturesque village of Grassington where the sun was still streaming through the windows.

The bar offered a good selection of hand pulled draft ales and as I was not driving on this occasion I chose the Hetton Pale Ale brewed just down the road at the Dark Horse Brewery in Hetton. I love Pale Ales and find them refreshing, not too heavy and don’t bloat, this was a good choice and fine example. A selection of breads with oil and butter were brought to the table to accompany our drinks and the staff were a delight with a friendly smile and chat.

A two or three course lunch menu is offered with a good selection of dishes. Linny opted for a Mushroom Risotto to start and I chose the Hash Brown topped with a free range egg and served with an apple chutney and mixed leaf salad all served on a trendy piece of slate. The combination of textures and flavours were excellent and what appears a simple dish was a delight and something I would want to try to recreate at home.

As this was Sunday lunch both of us opted for the traditional Beef and Yorkshire Pudding with roast potatoes and seasonal veg. We were not disappointed, my beef was served pink, very tender, a good thickness  and cooked to perfection with the Yorkshire pudding being crisp and tasty. To accompany the meal I had a glass of house Rioja which was pleasant and robust enough to accompany the beef.

Linny has a thing about Rhubarb at the moment and any opportunity is taken when offered. On this occasion a Rhubarb Fool with shortbread biscuits and mint was on the dessert menu and not passed by.

The two course meal option was £13.00 and was excellent value for the high quality of food and presentation offered. A leaflet from the bar highlighted some of the special events and cookery master classes that are also on offer. Follow the web site links to discover more about No.5 Grassington House. Another snippet from the leaflet mentions John embraces the ‘Field to Fork’ principle and rears his own rare breed pigs which can be found on the menu.

This was a  great find and we shall return maybe to sample dinner or one of the advertised events.

J&L.

Bear, Mann, Horse & Groom?

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First post of 2010 for Johnny or for this blog ‘first past the post’. We had an invite from John & Mo to join them on a visit to top race horse trainer Charlie Mann’s training stable in Lambourn, Berkshire. With an early start required we decided to travel down and stay overnight close by at The Bear Hotel in Hungerford. The Bear is one of England’s oldest coaching inns dating back to 1464 with connections to Henry VIII, James I and William III and now offers a 39 room hotel with an award winning restaurant and bar. We had a mid afternoon start from Manchester and arrived early evening, after a quick change we settled in the bar for a much needed drink and chill after our 200 mile drive. The menu covers both bar and brasserie with an extensive selection of dishes. The brasserie manager came and took our order in the bar and told us to relax and he would show us to our table when the food was ready to be served. Nice touch as we were settled and enjoying our drinks. I opted for the beer braised local partridge with ham hock, bubble & squeak and red cabbage puree and Linny chose the recommended ‘delivered fresh that day’ lemon sole. Both meals were well prepared, presented and consumed. We liked the bar atmosphere so much with the illuminated courtyard beyond that we skipped dessert and returned for a final night cap before retiring to our rooms ready for our early start the following morning.

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We left the Bear early to make our way to Whitcoombe House Stables, Upper Lambourn for breakfast with Charlie Mann, his family and jockey Noel Fehily. We were welcomed at 08.30 and sat down in Charlies house for a full english breakfast with copious pots of tea and toast. Charlie had already being out on the gallops for the earlier 06.30 morning run and met us at the house where we were to join him and Noel for the second session. With 60 horses in training and 63 winners in the 2009-10 national hunt season this is a busy and successful stable. After breakfast we jumped into a Land Rover and drove up to the gallops to watch the morning run. Charlie and his team made us really welcome and gave us an insight into the daily life of  a top training stable. This is a 3 hour experience that can be booked on-line and I would highly recommend it.

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After leaving Lambourn we decided to stop for lunch on the drive home and by chance found the Horse & Groom Inn at Charlton in Wiltshire, just to carry on the theme of the day we couldn’t miss this. Sometimes you stumble on a special place by accident and this was one of those occasions. The Horse & Groom Inn has won plenty of awards for food and we managed to get a table in the Charlton bar with stone flagged floor, large open log fire and busy vibe although we could have dined in the restaurant but the bar area was our choice. The first thing noted on the menu was the inclusion of a limited two course meal for a humble ten pounds. This was my choice with a cotswold white chicken, apricot and tarragon terrine with apple chutney and brioch appetiser followed by a cottage pie with side dish of seasonal vegetables. The taste, presentation and quality of the food was excellent and how the food was offered for the money baffled me. Linny opted for a cheesy version of the classic fishcake which also got the thumbs up. Take a look at the menus on the website link and if in the area this classy gastro pub should not be missed.

J&L.

The Feversham Arms and Whitby 8/9-2-09

We had really great weekend last week which started with an impromptu get together at our house(Julie/Phil/Tess/Pat/Tony) for a tapas night. We started with nibbles from Anthony’s which included Olives, Spanish loin of pork pate, caper berries, balsamic onions, black olive and lemon tapenade, chilli garlic, other stuff and fresh baked breads. The plates were various cold hams, sausages courtesy of  Anthony’s but special mention has to go to the acorn fed spanish pig……………deeeelicious! For some reason that morning G had a craving for fresh prawns from Leeds Market(a most excellent fish market) which were cooked with garlic and chilli. D is now well in with The Muffin Man(ask her……..) and managed to get a fresh baked carrot cake with cheese and orange filling. The legendary Anthony’ Fromagerie provided a veritable feast of selected cheeses to name but two, Stinking Bishop and Roquefort. All was washed down some excellent Riojas and Gavi. The lads and Pat did get onto the Cognac later on not too messy.

As per Tony’s virgin blog(a gentle reminder Tony to get your fingers out again and start typing because you’ve still to finish the day) Pat, Tony and ourselves set off to the Feversham Arms. It has to be said that The Fev has been superbly refurbished and extended providing 4 star luxury and we will be back once our wallet allows.

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Sunday was a late get up due to the morning after the night before syndrome(some suffered more than others(D)). A hearty breakfast and off to Whitby over the foggy and snowy tops was an experience particularly when all of a sudden we were in glorious sunshine, check out the mysterious cloud picture.

Whitby has now some potentially good restarants which will need checking out but an idea for an out of season break(£120per night per room B&B) to the Moon and Sixpence/ Marine is a good bet for our next trip picture below. On the way back we caled in at The Zillah Bell Gallery to view a Norman Ackroyd Etchings Exhibition.

G then went out in Leeds with business associates to watch the once Mighty Leeds beat Millwall at the Sports Cafe then the obligatory curry which was at Akbars, Greek Street, v v good!!

Tuesday was G’s birthday so a family visit to Diva Italiana again not let down.

Wednesday G was in Cheltenham on business overnight and went to the Thai Emerald, food was typically Thai but the wood carved  interior stole the show.

Resting now!!

G&D