The Talbot Hotel, Malton – Review
The Talbot Hotel, Malton, North Yorkshire
by Roger Crow
Malton is one of many places I’ve passed through but never explored. So when offered the chance to stay at one of its finest residences, The Talbot Hotel, my partner Rachel and I jump at the chance.
History lovers will have a great time reflecting on its place in Malton’s timeline. I’m initially just glad it has free on-site parking and we don’t have to spend a fortune for 24 hours.
Although we’re too early to access our room at noon, after pottering around town, and loving the great little shops and cinema (all shut), we build up an appetite for Sunday lunch.
The Wentworth Restaurant is rather pleasant. A pianist spends the duration expertly tinkling through old classics and my favourite, the La La Land soundtrack.
We order soup and salmon fish cakes for starters, swapping halfway through. Both are beautifully prepared. The salmon fish cake with tartar sauce and crushed minted peas is a delight, while the cream of celeriac soup with truffles and sautéed mushrooms also goes down a treat with crusty bread.
“Ticks all the boxes”
Rachel enjoys a glass of ice-cold Rose, while my Pinot Noir is excellent. Alas, my roast dry aged beef main is far too pink and chewy. A fellow diner also has issues with his, though praises the same dish he’d had on a previous visit. Thankfully the perfectly cooked veg and Yorkshire pudding make up for it, and Rachel’s asparagus ravioli proves a big hit.
My trio of ice creams for dessert rounds things off nicely, while Rachel’s lemon tart with raspberry parfait and basil ice cream is a bold mix. The basil isn’t overpowering in small doses, but more than a couple of mouthfuls and it tastes bizarre. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want it in a cornet.
Strangely the dining area serves 1-3pm, which doesn’t seem long for Sunday lunch. Not that we feel rushed, but one of the most lucrative times of the week could be a money-spinner for the owners. For those just popping in, it’s £17.95 for two courses or £24.95 for three.
After lunch we’re shown to our room, which has everything you’d expect. A huge bed; TV; wardrobe (with robes and slippers) and spotless bathroom. The power shower is blissfully simple to use, and though some might need a step ladder to get out of the bath, it ticks all the boxes, including a heated towel rail.
Everything about the room is what you’d expect. Great tea and coffee-making facilities; fantastic wi-fi (also throughout the hotel); beautiful view, and though the TV could be bigger and the huge bed a bit comfier, it’s perfectly fine.
“An elegant light and airy space”
Strangely there is no radio (except on the television) or USB ports, so it feels more 1917 than present day, but it’s not a deal breaker. In fact many might embrace the vintage charm.
I’d have preferred a more vibrant colour scheme and bolder art, but I can understand why the owners err on the side of caution.
Given the fact Charles Dickens has a history with Malton, I’m surprised to see he has so little presence in its most famous hostelry, save for a signed copy of A Christmas Carol in the reception. Instead, there are plenty of paintings of horses scattered through. It’s a town built on horse racing, so little wonder. But after a while it’s nice to see something else.
In the evening we dine at The Malton Brasserie, an elegant light and airy space that feels more like a tea shop. There’s a mix of Yorkshire charm at odds with the huge paintings of Italy. Is it French, Italian, English or all three. Who knows?
I opt for beer battered fish and chips with mushy peas, while Rachel goes for fish goujons. As a selective vegetarian, the fact the veggie choice is the same as lunchtime means her options are limited. Mains are around £15 while desserts are around £7.
They’re both great dishes, and the salted chocolate brownie for dessert is also terrific, though too rich for me to finish.
Oddly there’s no live entertainment in the evening. Like the pianist at lunchtime, a band would make a great hotel even better.
We enjoy a walk down to the river before twilight and marvel at the excellent grounds, and the sight of the gleaming Talbot against leaden skies. It’s a beautiful scene, as are swallows flitting over the fields.
Following a hit-and-miss night (the bed being lumpy in places), we enjoy an excellent breakfast in the dining room. After muesli and fruit juice, my ‘full Talbot’ (fried egg, black pudding, bacon, sausage beans and toast) is flawless, and the veggie version also proves a big hit.
We’ve enjoyed a great short stay in a beautiful hotel. Any flaws are mostly cosmetic, but given its rich history, I’d love to see The Talbot continue to thrive long into the future.
It’s been doing a pretty good job since 1740, so obviously something’s going right.
Need to know:
The Talbot is a 26 bedroom hotel in ‘Yorkshire’s Food Capital’ of Malton, North Yorkshire, and boasts the 2 AA Rosette Wentworth Restaurant, relaxed Malton Brasserie, plus Malton Cookery School.
Bed & Breakfast for two starts from £110 per room per night. Dinner in the Wentworth Restaurant, plus Bed & Breakfast for two starts from £180 per room per night. Dinner is served in the Wentworth Restaurant seven nights a week, plus lunch on Sundays. Average 3 course meal from the A La Carte menu in the Wentworth Restaurant costs £39 per person, the Signature 9 Course Tasting Menu costs £69 per person. Lunch and early dinners are served in the Malton Brasserie even days a week. Average 3 course meal in the Malton Brasserie costs £25 per person. Sunday Lunch is served in both restaurants, and costs £18.95 for two courses or £23.95 for tree courses.
Full course list for Malton Cookery School available at maltoncookeryschool.co.uk.