The clocks have changed and the dark nights are here so what better excuse to forget about eating a delicate summer salad and plump for a hearty pub meal instead.
Set in an idyllic village on the edge of the North York Moors, the Blacksmiths Arms prides itself on ‘quality, home-made food using the finest ingredients’ - sounds good to me. On our arrival we made our way through to the cosy bar which offered an instant welcome, and I would have been more than happy to have sat here for the rest of the evening just dozing by the fire. A pleasant member of staff showed us to our table in the restaurant area, took our drinks order, and handed us a couple of menus. We were also given a miniature specials board.
The menus were extensive, catering for everyone from vegans to the gluten-intolerant, while stating that they can adapt dishes for those with special preferences.
We started with a tapas platter for one to share, which came with slices of chorizo, mixed olives, chunks of fresh bread to dip into the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, accompanied by a mini stuffed pepper and pieces of brie. A good choice as the platter was just enough to whet our appetites for the main course.
Although the pan-fried mallard breasts sounded tempting, in the end I opted for simple Whitby scampi and chips, while my partner chose the home-made steak and ale pie - a Blacksmiths Arms speciality.
I love scampi and I wasn’t disappointed. This scampi was succulent and cooked to perfection and the golden breadcrumbs were light and crisp. The home-cut chips were top notch and the portion was ample. The dish came with a side of fresh garden peas and a pot of home-made tartare sauce, which was rich, thick and creamy with just a hint of chopped gherkin. The presentation was lovely too. It arrived on newsprint-style paper which was a nice touch.
My partner’s hearty ‘Desperate Dan’ slice of steak and ale pie contained chunks of locally-sourced tender beef in a rich gravy encased in home-made bronzed shortcrust pastry. He also had the chips, and opted for seasonal vegetables. He asked for extra gravy which was swiftly brought out. It looked amazing and was a true ‘Yorkshire portion’.
We decided to share a dessert, this time it was my choice. I asked for the peppermint cheesecake. It was impressive to look at - a deep wedge of mint green cream cheese with a dark chocolate chevron pattern on the top and dusted with icing sugar. The cheesecake had a surprisingly subtle mint flavour and was very light. It was delicious. It arrived with a strawberry garnish and a mini cream jug. The dessert rounded off a lovely dining experience - proof that the Blacksmith Arms does quality, traditional pub food well.