The run up to the General Election (yawn) in 2015 has seen a great
deal made of ‘The Northern Powerhouse’, the perceived economic stronghold
that is made up of a conglomerate of Northern cities.
A different Northern powerhouse may be seen as you drive along the M62
from Leeds towards Humberside.
Following the River Aire eastwards, you are witness to three of the country’s great power stations, Ferrybridge, Eggborough and Drax.
The massive cooling towers are not to everyone’s aesthetic taste, but dramatic they
certainly are and in the morning or evening sun or poking out of low lying mist they are potent reminders of man’s effect on the environment.
Drax alone provides 7% of all the U.K.’s electricity needs.
By contrast, the proliferation of on-shore wind farms begins eastwards from Drax, taking advantage of the wind sweeping (and often not) across the agricultural plains around York.
It is at Eggborough, however, that my party of hungry diners left the busy M62 to turn
North into that very countryside, to find the village of Beal, right next to the River Aire.
As hungry as a skulk of foxes, we would have had a long hunt if we had tried to track down the Hungry Fox pub, which we visited here many years ago.
Now under the same family ownership as The Three Horseshoes at not so far away Fairburn, the old Hungry Fox has now been transformed into the King’s Arms, a name the pub had originally many years ago, so it was little wonder that I had not heard of it.
The pub is around 30 minutes from Leeds centre, 15 minutes from the A1 and in our case, only 10 minutes from Junction 34 of the M62.
From the outside, the original building has seen much development, with two extensions and a couple of decked areas outside, next to the large car park.
Internally, we found several dining rooms, all grouped around the central bar.
The decor is contemporary, one of the extensions having a red tiled floor and modern easy chairs complemented by light oak furniture, to form a lounge.
The beers and lagers are almost exclusively keg with a lonely hand pump of Theakston’s Best Bitter looking quite forlorn amongst the shiny modern brew taps. Even this, I have to say, was not on the best of form, and I had to grit my teeth and follow it up with lager.
The menu is traditional British pub food.
From a selection of starters ranging from £4.75 to £6.25 I went for an intriguing sounding black pudding potato cake with bacon and poached egg. What came was not quite how I had imagined it, taking the form of a breaded round of inch thick grey paste – presumably finely mashed potato and black pudding. It was topped with a lovely poached egg and sat on crossed strips of crispy bacon and salad leaves. The potato cake was neither tasty nor appetising and needs a re-think. One of my dining friends had the same thing and agreed with my verdict.
My dining partners had no dispute with their starters, the warm chicken and bacon salad being thought of a good standard, as was the creamy garlic mushrooms and chicken liver pate. All were presented well.
Mains are from £10.95 to £16.50, although there is a steak menu from £17.50 to £21.
My choice of twice cooked pork belly was also a disappointment to me. A thick slab of pork was too fatty and had an almost impenetrable carapace of crackling. I didn’t make the right choices this particular evening as the other mains chosen were declared good.
The braised steak was deliciously tender, the liver and bacon casserole very tasty, whilst the highlight of the evening was a massive leg of braised lamb shank.
All mains came with a choice of new potatoes, mash or chips and a sharing dish of freshly cooked baton carrots, broccoli and cabbage.
Puddings are of the traditional British favourites variety, all with custard at £4.95.
None will do your waistline any good whatsoever! The Yorkshire portions served up for starters and mains meant that none of us could tackle a pudding, so be warned.
The staff were efficient and the owner and his wife chatted amiably to customers throughout the evening.
To judge from the comments of my fellow diners, I was a little unlucky with my choices. With a little tweaking of the menu I am sure that this business will be a success as word spreads.
To find this powerhouse of an eatery, follow your sat-nav or use your ancient skills of map reading to arrive at DN14 0SL, whilst to peruse the menu in advance, go to http://www.thekingsarmsbeal.co.uk