There are few things that make me love winter quite like the crackling of an open fire and the promise of beautiful food, which is exactly what I got on my visit to The General Tarlton when they invited me to experience their Winter menu back in December.
Just on the outskirts of Knaresborough, The General Tarlton is a Yorkshire landmark for sure, although I don’t remember exactly when my first visit was, I know it sparked many return visits, including a couple of great dates!
Now under new ownership, I was thrilled to see nothing too drastic had been changed. It was so lovely to drive up to see the beautiful building all decked in festive decor and as I said, a roaring fire welcoming us through the door.
I was lucky enough to take my lovely mamma with me for dinner, a little treat for her first night back in Yorkshire, home from her new life in France. It was the perfect setting, quiet enough to catch up but with a healthy dose of Yorkshire charm, thanks to the really fantastic staff who got the balance of attentive but not pushy perfectly right!
But let’s get on to the serious business of bloody tasty food!
We were lucky enough to try the Christmas menu, which had welcome nods to their day-to-day menu, packed with flavour and with heaps of choice for both my eat all attitude and my mums pescatarian needs.
Without a doubt the most intriguing item on the menu was Little Moneybags, something I’d never heard of! Thanks to our lovely waiter I was quickly in the know about this delightful little parcel of seafood with a rich but slightly tart lobster sauce. Now you can tell it’s been a while since mum came with me for an evening like this as the little monster started eating before I had chance to get a perfectly well lit snap, however I’m not sure even the most wonderful photo wouldn’t do this incredible starter justice! It was the ideal balance of crispy pastry, rich sauce and heaps of seafood goodness.
As someone who simply cannot cope with ordering the same thing from the menu as other people, I gave in and let mum have it as her eyes lit up just from hearing about it!
So whilst mum made short work of the moneybag, I went for the Yorkshire Blue Cheese. pear and walnut salad which was a real head turner on the plate and a party on the taste buds.
My only small gripe was it would be great to have a little less dressing as it would have allowed the awesome flavours of the salad to come through even more.
For mains it wasn’t a question for me, The General Tarlton are know for their game offerings so Pheasant was not only top of the menu in front of me, it was top of my list of must eat meals.
Filled to the brim with pork and apricot stuffing and paired with bread sauce, game chips and a fruity burst of cranberry & orange sauce. It was a taste sensation!
I have a rule about eating out, I do my best to order things I wouldn’t or couldn’t make myself at home and this was exactly that, the balance of flavours the tender meat and the game chips which i’d never tried before all made for a really, truly tasty plate of food.
Whilst I went for a meal King Henry VIII would have been proud of, mum went for seared filled of North Sea Cod which was stacked upon creamed potatoes and a prawn and chive buerre blanc.
The simple fact that we both sat and ate in almost silence proves just how good the food was, and although mum would have liked the skin on her fish a little more crisp, the whole experience really was all round lovely.
Whilst there are more foodie options than I could list, there is something so reassuring about a warm, low lit pub with a beautifully thought out menu with true attention detail.
As if the evening could have been more indulgent, we were invited to retreat to the lounge for coffee and epic homemade mince pies. Although I am not a Christmas person, there is not a day of the year that cannot be improved by really well made mince pies, so even though I thought I was too full for pudding I had just the right amount of space for this pastry wrapped delight.
The General Tartlon pride themselves on using high quality locally sourced ingredients. Patron and award-winning chef, John Topham works with highly regarded Head Chef Marc Williams to create fresh, seasonal dishes for a menu that combines modern exciting cuisine with some ever-popular favourites.
In fact when asked about their approach to food, Marc Williams the Head Chef had this to say and I totally agree.
“Our ethos at The GT is to create delicious beautiful food by focussing on getting the very best flavour from the finest quality ingredients.
We are proud of the provenance of our ingredients and have for many years worked with local suppliers to source only the highest quality, fresh and ready-for-market produce. This is reflected in the seasonality of our menu, which changes daily to reflect the best of what is available that day. We choose only those suppliers who work in a way that meets the exacting standards we demand. We believe it is the only way to serve you with food that tastes divine.”
As well offering a tasty menu, they also have 13 stylish bedrooms, each individually decorated and appointed to the highest of standards, with little touches of luxury and comfort for a truly relaxing night.
All round, our visit was a roaring success, whilst there were a few little niggles, all in all we left feeling suitably festive, perfectly full and with every intention of heading back very soon.
*This is a sponsored post, however as always my thoughts and opinions are all my own.