There is no doubt that chain owned pubs serve a purpose, indeed there are many good ones. I find that in some of these places however, that the lack of personal commitment and interest in the business by staff can sometimes be detrimental, leading to an inattention to detail and customer focus.
It is always heartening to find a jewel of an independently run, successful pub.
These are often found in small villages, off the beaten track and jealously guarded by the locals.
Such is the case here and the wonderfully, if not uniquely named Queen o’ t’Old Thatch can be found in the agricultural flatlands between the A1 and York in the village of Sherburn in Elmet. To them, It is affectionately known as ‘The Thack’.
This pub/restaurant is a lovely stone built and half whitewashed building with a large, sunny beer garden to the front, on a large patio.
On a lovely and warm summer’s evening the outside tables were packed.
As it’s name would suggest, it has a magnificent thatched roof.
Actually it doesn’t, but I am sure it must have had at one point in it’s history, given it’s agricultural location and age.
Internally, it is beautifully kept and on entering, you come immediately to the stone flagged central bar. Generally open plan, a space to the right is dedicated for drinkers whilst to the left are two gorgeous dining rooms on split levels.
The real ales on display on my visit were both Yorkshire ales, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Selby’s Brown Cow Brewery Sessions. An excellent start as the pub holds a current Cask Marque certificate for the quality of their beers.
The beers were on top form and are a great attraction here.
Guinness, lagers and ciders are also available.
Chef Annie and Gardener Kirsty took this place on around five years ago and have transformed it into an extremely active, socially aware and award winning destination pub. In 2018, they were given the highly prized accolade of Best Sunday Lunch at the Observer Food Monthly Awards. No mean feat.
Events feature strongly here, amongst which are:
Meet the Brewer evenings, Wine Club, Cocktail Master-classes, Cheese and Wine evenings, Gin tastings, Rum nights, Craft Beer Club and an annual beer festival. Special tasting-menu nights take place throughout the year.
Not content to rest on their award winning laurels, it is claimed that the menus change monthly to take advantage of seasonal and local produce varieties.
On my visit, with a party of friends, we were drawn to the blackboard ‘Specials’ mounted on the walls.
The pea and lovatt soup with crusty bread looked intriguing but on such a warm evening, none of my party could face starters and so went for a mix of nibbles. Warm scotch egg (£4), three onion bhajis with mint yoghurt (£3.50) and olives (£3) were perfectly acceptable.
The specials board struck me with a steak and (Landlord) ale pie with greens, mash and gravy (£12.50), Line caught haddock, chips and mushy peas (£13) drew another in whilst pork loin snared another.
The oblong pie came plonked on top of small scoops of mash and cabbage. It looked like any pie from any butchers shop. Other mains dishes came similarly haphazardly presented with little care seemingly taken. There were no niceties or garnishes applied to any of the dishes, which left them looking very plain and ordinary. Taste-wise they were ok, but nothing special.
For dessert, all went for a lemon tart with Northern Bloc raspberry and sorrel sorbet (£6.50). Again, the very small portion of tart looked commercially produced and appeared lonely next to a small single scoop of sorbet on the large plate.
Once again, it was presented bare with no finishing touches.
Being a busy Friday night I don’t know if the kitchen staff were under pressure or if the regular chef was absent but, like a certain lager, being reassuringly expensive, the food did not live up to our expectations from an award winning pub. It was ok but should have been so much more.
Staff were friendly, if rushed.
We were left feeling unimpressed, disappointed and a little short-changed.
This is a lovely and obviously well loved community pub but on this night, it seems to have slipped from it’s foodie reputation.
On this basis, we will not return any time soon, which is a shame.
The Queen o’ t’Old Thatch is open seven days a week.
For further details about menus, forthcoming events etc., go to www.theqott.com and if traveling by car, the place can be found at LS25 5AQ.