The ancient village of Kirkby Overblow lies in superb, arable countryside in the affluent commuter belt land between Leeds, Harrogate and Wetherby.
It’s origins as Cherchebi date back to when iron smelting was the village trade.
Cherchebi or Kirkby simply means a settlement by a church. The village was first mentioned in public records in the Domesday Book of 1086, whilst the suffix Oreblow was added later as recognition of the trade. In later years Cherchebi Oreblow became the Kirkby Overblow of today.
The local church, All Saints, has a 14th century transept, though recent works uncovered stonework dating back to the 10th century. Local marriage records in the church go back to 1647, a useful research tool for those with a local interest in family history.
As a traditional English country village, it has, of course, got to have a pub, though it was not until the 1880’s that such a welcome addition was built just up the road from All Saints.
The Shoulder of Mutton is everything that a country pub should be. It could be the countryside version of George Orwell’s mythical Moon Under Water, such is it’s traditional and rustic charm.
The extensive, secluded beer garden to the rear is a haven in warmer months. My friends and I often call in here after a circular walk from the pub in the beautiful surrounding countryside. This is a walk we call the Shoulder to Shoulder. Bliss.
Lovely to look at in ivy-clad, warm Yorkshire stone, it also has stone flagged floors, an open fire, a wood-burner, a welcoming and friendly landlady, great food and a selection of real ales. On stepping into the pub there is an immediate homely feel. This is sheep grazing country, so naturally there are prints of sheep on the walls and porcelain sheep models on window ledges.
Landlady Kate took over the pub in 2004 and hasn’t found it necessary to go elsewhere. Why would she? The Casque Marque accredited hand pull beers are Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Black Sheep, both local brews which keep their head when all about them are losing theirs.
Kate has created a warm and welcoming atmosphere whist the food on offer is simply tremendous. With an interest in gluten free products, she has also created a completely gluten free menu to run alongside the other choices. People come from far and wide simply for this reason.
There are a number of dining options. The Early Bird (Tuesday to Friday 6pm to 7pm) which offers two or three courses at £13.95 or £16.95, with three imaginative choices on each course, will have your mouth watering just by reading the menu.
Sunday ‘lunch’ lasts from noon to 7pm.
Tuesdays is Steak Night with a special deal of two steak meals with a bottle of house wine at £30. From the house menu on my midweek lunchtime visit, I found that this option was available from 12 – 2pm and 6pm – 9pm.
My choice of breaded butterfly King Prawns starter came with a delicious chilli sauce and a wonderfully fresh mixed salad. A great way to kick off the meal.
My main was a home-made steak and onion pie with a short-crust top. It came in an earthenware oval pie-dish. The chunks of steak were tender, in a rich, dark gravy. The crimped pie crust was such a tasty change from frozen puff pastry thrown on top at most other pubs.
Freshly cooked al-dente broccoli, mashed butternut squash and a piquant red cabbage were served in a separate dish. The mound of chunky chips was almost superfluous, but I managed them anyway.
Across the table my partner’s battered haddock was light and flaky. This came with Yorkshire mushy peas (yum) and chunky chips.
The sticky toffee pudding square was in a puddle of toffee sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was just amazing and a fitting end to a delicious lunch.
All of the food is locally sourced where ever possible and freshly cooked on the premises, with attention to detail and presentation. No fast food here!
Kate runs a free Privilege Club whereby regulars can earn discounts and invitations to special events. Other attractions include a monthly Quiz Night and Race Nights to pull in the punters.
This is a quality establishment which keeps people coming back time and again, and with good reason.
Further details can be found at www.shoulderofmuttonharrogate.co.uk . The pub is two miles or so from the main A61 road between Leeds and Harrogate at HG3 1HD.