Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Plum & Partridge - Husthwaite, North Yorkshire

Husthwaite is a small village on the outskirts of The North Yorkshire Moors, it's a historic village with buildings dating from the 12th century, it's no wonder that it's a conservation area. Over the years the building which houses the Plum & Partridge has undergone many a refurb, with many a new owner and many a different theme. It's gone from pub, to tapas restaurant, to pub again with others in between. At the end of March 2017 it opened this time as The Plum & Partridge, a small guest house, pub and restaurant.

The Plum & Partridge are currently under 'soft launch' and they asked if I would go along to share my honest opinion, of course, I said I would happily oblige.

The Plum & Partridge is rather apt name for this building. The reason it is so well suited is because all around this area are Partridges (of which we had to save a few partridge chicks from being squished on the road as its mother led them unsuccessfully up a pavement curb) and in the 'back garden' is an orchard. The orchard not only has plum trees but also apple trees, of which the local cider mill maintains and you can buy the finished product from the bar inside (on pump). 

There once were two pubs in the village but it appears the second is now someone's humble abode. 

The building from the outside is made out of the classic old red brick that characterises the North Yorkshire area (as opposed to the Yorkshire Stone which characterises The Dales). Inside, the hotel and restaurant has had a full refurb. It's style is that of new country chic. For those unfamiliar, this is tartan of sorts, game ornaments (stags, hares, pheasants, ducks etc.), oak furniture and softer furnishings. 

We checked in early evening with a reservation in the restaurant at 7pm in mind. Our room was possibly one of the better rooms in the hotel (although I'm more inclined to call it an inn, but negative connotations affiliated with inns push me more towards describing it as a hotel). It had big beams running through the lofty ceiling, sash windows, HUGE bed, desk, tea making facilities and even a gun safe in the wardrobe. 

Beams of dreams 

A well presented and, importantly, clean bathroom. 

I would have taken a picture of the gun safe except for the fact I didn't know it was this until we checked out the following morning. I found out this fact after discussing with the General Manager over breakfast about how the area is popular with hunters and so they hoped to be a place of choice for those heading up to the North Yorks Moors for this reason. 

Shortly after checking in, we decided to take a short walk around the village to take in the sights and build up an appetite for dinner. As mentioned previously, the village dates back to the 12th century with buildings from this age. Whether or not they were this old there were plenty of cute cottages, the likes of which I hope to live in one day. Perhaps when I retire, maybe. 

Probably retails around the £1 mil mark... 


When you go down to the woods today.... watch out it's muddy 

Who knew?! 

12th Century Church 

The Kirburn White Horse can be seen from a high point in the village, as if it is looking down and looking over the surrounding area, its keeper. Unfortunately I left my zoom lens back in the hotel room and so the below picture does no way near do it justice. 

Eye spy with my little eye... 

For a better peak see here. 

Luckily for us, most of the other overnight guests that evening were at a wedding and so the restaurant was particularly quiet but for a couple other guests and a couple of locals. 

We began the night in the bar area with a glass of wine and a half of a local ale for D. Our food order was taken at our table in the bar and once the first course was almost ready to be served to us we were led to our table in the dining area. 

To start, I had the prawn and crayfish crouton. 

This was recommended by the waitress as one of her favourite starters (we were informed that her favourite part of her job was getting to try all the different dishes). The prawn and crayfish were delicate in taste but not so much in portion. I enjoyed this dish more than I, admittedly, thought I would. The only thing I would change would be to reduce the amount by half, one crouton's worth as when my main dish arrived it was almost on par in serving size. 

D had the risotto of peas, pancetta, harissa and sweet chilli. 

I'm not a fan of risotto as a starter due to it being such a filling dish. D's starter was again larger than expected but he had no problem in scraping his plate clean. I was blessed with a spoonful and it was beautifully creamy and the pea wasn't hidden but a sharp taste that really stood its ground. 

For mains I ordered from the specials menu, pan-fried duck breast with roast vegetables. 

The duck was done perfectly, I couldn't fault it. The only point I would make is perhaps to not serve this dish on a black plate such as this one. The fat from the duck left grease marks on the plate before it had made its way to the table which brings down its presentation a peg or two. 

D took the waitresses recommendation and ordered the salt beef brisket whilst I quietly seethed inside as this is the dish that I wanted. 

The beef brisket was a big old hunk and it was cooked well. It was slightly dry but this could have easily have been combated by some more gravy. We're in Yorkshire, you can never have too much gravy. In addition to this D said he wold have preferred some more roast vegetables with his dish, there isn't an option to order sides to accompany heartier appetites. 

We were debating on whether we had space for dessert and pondered over the idea of sharing, however, when we saw the dessert menu there was no doubt in our minds that we would not only be having dessert but we would be having one each. 

D opted for the chocolate brownie served with mango ice cream. Prior to ordering I questioned whether mango ice cream would be a suitable pairing. I appreciate that vanilla can be considered boring and that restaurants may wish to try and find something a little more exciting, but I would prefer something creamier to accompany my brownie. 

The brownie, as you can see, was massive. Once again D took it upon himself to ensure that no crumb was left; he agreed that mango ice cream wasn't the best pairing. 

For my dessert, I chose the warm cherry bakewell with creme anglaise. I love cherry bakewell. I haven't made it for such a long time at home, unfortunately life has got in the way of baking lately, so I take the opportunity to eat it out whenever I see it on the menu/behind a glass partition. 

It was just as I hoped it would be, warm, delicious and a perfect end to our night in the restaurant. 

We slowly sipped our wine until we decided to retreat to our room and relax on the big bed watching Glastonbury on the TV. We're so rock 'n' roll these days. 

Waiting for us in our hotel room when we returned was a little bottle of calming mist and some (more!) chocolate brownie. 

Check me out with rare painted nails 

I had the best night's sleep. The bed was so comfy. The blinds cut out all of the light. The goose feathered pillows and duvets seemed to just swallow me whole. I need to save and buy some of these for our bed, however, I fear that I may never get out of bed again if I have them at home. 

Pre-sleep treats. 

We were slightly late for breakfast the next day due to a bit of a mishap with the door, we some how managed to lock ourselves in and had to call for help! 

Despite our tardiness the staff were most welcoming and served us juice, coffee and the biggest breakfast sandwich I have had since, well, probably since my student days. 

The breakfast sandwich consisted of bacon, sausage and egg. The was locally sourced and you could tell by the quality. I admitted defeat early on and had to dissect my sandwich a knife and fork. 

We checked out around 11am and we spent the remainder of the day exploring the local area. If you're planning a visit here are some of the local sights you should make a point of visiting:

Helmsley - a bustling little market town, it has plenty to see and do you could easily spend all day here. Explore the castle, explore the market on a Friday, explore the shops, eat in the cafes and admire the bikers. 

Rievaulx Abbey - not a cheap affair at around £15 p.p but it's worth a look at least once in your life. 


Byland Abbey - considerably cheaper than its famous cousin. 

And of course, don't forget to visit the White Horse of Kilburn. Although bear in mind that should you wish to walk around it you probably won't be able to see it properly as you're so close to it (as one woman who we bumped in to on top of the hill exclaimed she had no idea she wouldn't be able to see it up there). It's best to get a little distance and height to fully appreciate it.  

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