You know you are of a certain age when you go upstairs or into a room then stop and think to yourself, “What did I come here for?”
Such is my lot and this thought occurred to me when visiting the Fox and Hounds at Walton, near Wetherby very recently.
Not my immediate purpose in being there, but I knew I had been before and I thought that I had written a review of it. In a ‘Senior Moment’ it turns out that I had not and so here, I rectify that omission.
If only every other omission was so easily rectified.
This pub/restaurant has been on the radar of foodies for many a year and, being in a small village, it has survived by giving customers what they want in terms of quality and value, when so many others in similar situations have either closed permanently or gone through the open, closed, open, closed cycle as new managers try their luck.
Ten years ago, Alan and Gareth took over the pub with a view to providing good quality home cooking whilst utilising local produce, yet retaining the local pub feel.
They have succeeded and have sustained those ideals over the years.
On entering, the bar is straight ahead, but unusually there was only one draught ale on offer, although this was the excellent Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. There are other drinks such as lager etc., on tap.
We were greeted in a friendly fashion and after drinks were ordered, given the choice of sitting in the lounge or straight to our table in the restaurant. As we were a couple of friends short due to our early arrival, we opted for the lounge and settled in.
The all wooden furniture had a few cushioned bench style seats against the walls as well as the shaker style chairs and wooden tables. The design of the place was simple without frippery and that made a change. Fat candles glowed on the restaurant tables.
The only thing to disappoint was the red flickering lights in the open fireplaces. Perhaps these are taken into use in colder months, though it was a damp, chilly October evening already. Real fires would have made the ambience more cosy.
Once our friends arrived we were taken to the restaurant table for orders.
A complimentary slab of warm sea-salt and rosemary bread with butter rolls was brought to the table for self carving in the meantime.
My starter of a thick wedge of black pudding, topped by a soft poached egg with Parma ham crisp and hollandaise sauce was outstanding. The pudding is made on the premises to their own recipe and was some of the best I have ever tasted anywhere, even out-doing the regionally protected Stornoway variety and also the famous Radford’s of Sleights near Whitby version, in my view.
Soup of the day was home-made carrot, orange and ginger, which was thickly delicious and served with a hunk of bread.
The Greek salad was also excellent, almost being a meal in itself. It was fresh, flavoursome and plentiful. There is a selection of other starters which were tempting but went untried.
All the starters were priced from £4.50 to £6.95.
We had a conversation with the long standing waitress – we didn’t ignore her, she has just worked here for over 40 years – about the pie of the day, which happened to be minted lamb. We were so taken with her description of it that half our party were seduced into this choice. These pies are also freshly made on the premises and came as individual, circular, proper short-crust pastry pies, filled with tender lamb hunks and a subtly minted gravy. The triple cooked chunky chips and a pot of mushy peas (Yorkshire Caviar) were ideal accompaniments. Tremendous stuff.
Also praised were the hunk of Salmon fillets with wilted spinach and mushrooms, all bathing in a lovely saffron and orange sauce.
Mains are priced from £12.50 to £19 (for 28 day aged sirloin).
This is home cooking at it’s best.
So stuffed were we that the half dozen dessert choices chalked up on a beam will have to wait for another day. I guess they don’t sell many! The ones I saw at nearby tables made us regret our decision however.
The Fox and Hounds is well worth making a detour from the A1. It is around three miles from Wetherby.
Great home cooked food at very good prices and consistently highly rated by customers.
It is closed Sunday evenings and all day Mondays. There is an even better value early evening menu, Tuesday to Thursday from 5.30pm to 7.15pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. This consists of two courses for £11.50 (smaller portions) or £16 (large portions).
The Sat-nav will find these home comforts for you at LS23 7DQ.
The family owners expanded their portfolio in 2017 by taking on The White Swan at Kirk Deighton on the other side of Wetherby, which is a similar, small village pub/restaurant operation.
Just don’t forget why you went there.