There’s the little place up north, nestled in between Harrogate and Ripon, called South Stainley. No, I’d never heard of it either, but I guess I wouldn’t have, as I don’t venture north of Manchester very often.
There are lots of fields and greenery and cosy, country pubs and inns. There’s wildlife and great scenery and did I mention, lots of lovely pubs?
When there’s plenty of competition, you have to stand out from the crowd. There are a number of ways in which good pubs can do this. First of all, and probably most importantly, you have to serve great, home cooked food. Not good, great. Secondly, the service has to be excellent. Faultless, friendly, pro. Next, you could say location, but, I think more importantly the feel of the place when you’re there. Ambience, decor, cosiness? All that good stuff. And finally, price point and affordability. Because let’s face it, you could nail everything, but people need to be able to afford it.
Smash those four things, and you’re onto a winner.
Which brings me to my next point. The Seafood Pub Company do all of these things exceptionally well. I’ve worked with them in the past when I went up to The Fenwick in Lancashire, and to, be honest I was blown away then. Remember that black cod dish? Oh, my days it was dreamy…
So when they invited me back to see one of their new places I was rightfully excited. Here’s my review and some photographs of my stay:
Aside from the warm welcome, the bar is well-stocked and located in the middle of the pub as you walk in. It was a Sunday afternoon and the place was full of people enjoying a Sunday roast, from couples, young families and older couples too. We sat at the bar and I ordered a booze-free beer (as I was on my 30-days off alcohol, read more about that on the link). And Hannah ordered a G&T. Both were lovely, and I even noticed the barman stock up the booze-free beers in case I wanted any more, and the gin he recommended for Hannah was lush… Masons Yorkshire gin!
The Starters and Mains
Overall, the quality of foods in these pubs is excellent. So I won’t bore you with a detailed description of every bite, I’ll just start by saying we thoroughly enjoyed it all. and would recommend each dish, with the exception (perhaps) of the calamari.
The mussels were some of the best I’ve had, so big and plump and not a speckle of grit in sight. The sauce was delightful, and we didn’t even eat the brioche as the portion size is so, so generous. Easily enough for two to share.
The calamari, in terms of flavour combinations, was delicious. The lime in the batter, the harissa in the mayo… That all worked really well. The batter on the calamari, however, was not crispy enough. But the squid itself was fresh and delicious.
For the mains, we went full seafood. I had the tikka spiced monkfish with prawn pakoras and curry lentils, and Hannah had the Goan king prawn curry. Both dishes were delightful. And the portion sizes are very hearty indeed. My monkfish was chargrilled really well and the prawn pakoras are just divine. I need to learn how to make these at home.
The curry was a highlight for both of us, it was so rich and creamy and the prawns were delicious. I’d only say one thing that the presentation of the monkfish dish was a little mismatch but that really is me nitpicking!
The sides were lovely too, well-cooked greens accompanied our dishes. The green beans in chilli butter were incredible and I’ve since recreated them at home too. Lush.
As if we had room! But they sounded too good to miss. The syrup sponge pudding (and homemade custard) was one of the nicest comfort-food desserts I’ve had for ages. It was perfect.
Hannah had the passionfruit creme brulee, and it was stunning. The passionfruit cuts through the richness of the cream perfectly. And again, the portion size was generous (I’d have been happy to share) but the couple sat next to us polished off one each… go on lids!
The Bed and Breakfast
I think the photographs of the room and its views speak for themselves. But let me tell you the bed was very comfortable indeed and the pillows (and linen) were divine. The towels, toiletries were lovely too and the TV in the room allowed us to connect up out laptop and HDMI cable and watch Netflix (Stranger Things 2, of course!) but there was also all the normal cable TV channels too. THE SHOWER WAS LUSH, HOT AND POWERFUL! ✅
The tea and coffee… both good but well, actually, the coffee was stunning. The Little Coffee Bag co. have you heard of them? Like a mini filter coffee bag that you brew for three minutes in the cup… Delicious and fresh milk available if too, ask for it. So our morning brew with the family of pheasants was lush.
After a steaming hot shower, a cracking brew on the balcony with the locals (wildlife) we were ready for breakfast. Hannah had the full works… A full English. I thought the black pudding was overcooked but other than that it was great. Proper sausages, and little mini homemade hashbrowns too, which was a nice touch.
I went for the avocado and poached eggs on toast… Lovely and loads of delicious butter on the toast too.
Seafood Pub Company
If you live in the area and want to get away for a bit, I recommend this place. And the same goes if you live close by and want some great food in a stunning setting.
But, if you’re visiting Ripon or Harrogate then do consider booking one of their rooms, they’re stunning, and I’m not just saying that as I stayed as a guest. Hannah and I both highly rated this place, the people, the food and the comfort of the whole stay.
I know the pub group are often putting on great deals, so it’s worth signing up to their mailing list and keeping an eye on their site: seafoodpubcompany.com.