No5 Restaurant, Grassington House Hotel – Restaurant Review
By Emily Lawley
Grassington House Hotel is in the centre of the traditional market town of Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales. The town is just off the main route between Harrogate and Skipton and one could easily drive along the A59 without thinking about turning off to explore. That would be a big mistake, as you would be missing out on the delights that No.5 Restaurant holds.
As you drive up the cobbled Main Street you spot the impressive Grassington House immediately on your right. With the lovely, hot summer weather we are having recently it is great to see all of the outside tables full of people enjoying wine and dining al fresco. We walk straight through to the impressive bar and are promptly seated in the beautifully designed dining room at a sunny table.
At first glance, what strikes me most about the menu is the great value of the dishes. With ‘award-winning’, ‘rare breed’ and specially sourced local produce in abundance you do not expect to be this pleasantly surprised at the prices. To put it into perspective – their three course Sunday Lunch menu is just £16.50 per person.
Chef/Owner John Rudden says the affordability of his food is something he works hard to maintain. Despite feeling confident about the superior experience No.5 offers customers, he explains that by having a pub opposite that offers a £10-per-person carvery he has to remain competitive without compromising on quality. He wants to offer people the chance to enjoy delicious, high quality food anytime they want, not just on special occasions or, as he put it with his renowned dry humour: “When you are in the doghouse and want to apologise!”
We can’t resist the selection of pre-dinner appetisers that are introduced temptingly with the line “While we prepare your order, why not enjoy some…”. We start with Mini Thai Spiced Chicken & Pork Spring Rolls with a Soy and Honey Dip (£2.50) and some Mozzarella Fritters with Cranberry Relish (£2.95). The mini nibbles and the accompanying freshly-made bread rolls, Rocket & Pesto Rolls with Lemon & Sea Salt Butter, go down very quickly and only make us more hungry for our starters. These little tasters would be ideal for enjoying outside in the sun on an afternoon, especially for a large party or as wedding canapés.
For starters, I go for the Crisp Fried Guinea Fowl & Peas a la François with Mushroom Liquor (£6.95) whilst my friend goes for the Seafood Platter from the specials menu (£9.50). When they arrive mine looks like a giant Scotch egg on the plate – never a bad thing – and a strong smell of truffle fills the air.
The guinea fowl is a large fritter of sorts with a crispy, truffle-infused coating on the outside. The meat inside is lovely and moist and not too dense and it goes perfectly with the peas and mushroom sauce which is a little like a consommé. The peas are so tasty with little crispy lardons and soft onions and lettuce and they add freshness to the rich dish. The seafood platter does edge it for both of us though. The tasting slate consists of wonderfully fresh lobster and silky smoked salmon accompanied by tempura prawns, salmon spring roll and a crab risotto ball that are all cooked to perfection.
We both fancy the Rare Breed Pork Belly and Fillet that has been slow-cooked for 12-hours (£16.95) as our main course, so my friend orders that mouth-watering dish and I choose the Beef Fillet Mignon and “award winning” Rag Pudding (£17.95). Both dishes are beautifully presented with clean lines and a simple, uncluttered style which allows the quality meat to take centre stage.
The pork, from their own hand-reared rare breed pigs, is paired with classic accompaniments of super crispy crackling, apple, sage, peas and beans. Both cuts of pork just melt in the mouth and the tastes of apple and sage complement it perfectly. The only thing that keeps the dish from perfection is the fondant potato. It is on the firm side. And, had I not read from the menu that it is cooked in cider, I would never have known.
“Packed full of flavour”
Strangely, the star of the beef dish is not the fillet mignon as I expect, but the rag pudding. Made from slow-cooked sirloin skirt and bound in a tremendous sauce, the delicious filling comes encased in fluffy suet pastry. I can definitely see why it has won awards. As a pie lover, this is the main reason I choose the dish. The richness of the pudding comes cut through with the simple but packed-full-of-flavour carrot purée. This is definitely something I want to try at home!
Luckily we both have room to squeeze in one of the decadent desserts. It’s always the first page I turn to in the menu. I like to plan ahead for the “grand finale”! When I say ‘one’, well, we can’t decide between them. So we go for the Dessert Asciette Slate for two (£13.59). The waiter even kindly asks the chef to substitute one of the options for the Baked Chocolate Melt. Both of us have our eyes on it.
Along with the amazing, unctuous chocolate fondant comes perfectly poached pears and brambles; milk ice cream; vanilla bean panna cotta and a deconstructed lemon meringue tart. The combination is perfect as the sharpness of the lemon and brambles combine with the richness of the chocolate. The milk ice cream cleanses the palette between mouthfuls. I am not tonight’s driver, so I also enjoy a syrupy glass of Pedro Ximemez sherry (£3.60) at the end of the meal. It comes specially recommended to accompany the dessert slate.
The amazing local produce, skillful cooking and beautiful setting makes for a really memorable meal. Despite the high end, gourmet menu you feel relaxed in the dining room. The attentive front of house staff are genuinely friendly and ready to offer advice on your food and wine choices.
So, no matter what the occasion is you now have the perfect reason to break-up your journey along the A59. Go experience the delights of Grassington House’s No.5 Restaurant.
Monday – Friday
Lunch: 12 – 2:30pm
Dinner: 6 – 9:30pm
12 – 4pm & 6 – 9:30pm
12 noon to 4pm
6pm to 8:30pm