The Pipe and Glass Inn – Another Accolade
The Pipe and Glass Inn has just been named in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants in Britain this Sunday.
And guess who was treated to a wonderful meal on this very Sunday?
Erik and myself, plus sister Gina and her husband, Peter.
Bet you’re thinking “Well, was it good?”
It was superb. Absolutely superb!
This picture-postcard Inn, complete with it’s Michelin star restaurant, goes from strength to strength.
Myself, Erik and my sister, Gina and husband, Peter, have all had birthdays recently. Designer son, Ant, (he of 4 Gourmand cookbook awards fame), was at a loss as to what to buy us all for our birthdays. Knowing that I hadn’t been out much this year (apart from hospital), he asked if he and wife Amelia could treat us all to a Sunday Lunch celebration at The Pipe & Glass Inn, at South Dalton, just outside Beverley in East Yorkshire.
Of course we all jumped at the chance to eat again at this beautiful Inn. And to all meet up together. And reading that The Pipe and Glass Inn had been named in the top 100 best restaurants in Britain made it an extra-special treat. Sunday was a beautiful sunny, early autumn day in East Yorkshire, so Erik and I set off from Hornsea at 11.35am, and pulled into the large car park exactly on 12.00 as requested. We were first to arrive, and wandered into the cosy seating area, complete with wood-burner roaring heartily, squashy settees and a myriad of quirky but comfy seating arrangements.
Next to come, my sister and Peter. Last but not least (they had come much further than the rest of us), was son, Anthony, Amelia and their 3-year old twins, Bella and Tilly. Our group was complete.
The Twinnies, (my granddaughters), soon lost their shyness when they noticed the peanuts and olives in little dishes. They demolished this mini-feast very quickly, and settled down to being the funny and sociable little people that they are. Dressed in summery party dresses, they aroused a lot of attention, because they are actual twin sisters, but not identical – far from it. Bella is very English looking, with her rosy cheeks, blue eyes and cascading honey-coloured curls. Very like her father (apart from the curls – and hair). Tilly mirrors her mum, with rich, chestnut hair (in plaits to begin with), and her olive skin and dark, all-seeing eyes. They are such individual little characters, my granddaughters, and I smile whenever I think of them.
Although Erik and myself had been the first in the seating area, the place soon filled up, but somehow the staff at The Pipe and Glass Inn had staggered everyone’s timings so efficiently that just as our waiting room filled up, diners were being shown through to their tables, and more seats were available for the later bookings.
I had made the decision that because this was a special family occasion, I wouldn’t use my camera to take pictures of the food. For once, the family came first, and I didn’t want my attention to be divided. But I have taken pictures from chef James Mackenzie’s first cookbook, On The Menu, to give you an idea of the artistry that goes into his food creations.
On The Menu just happens to have been designed and published by my Designer son, Anthony, of Face Publications, and won The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards ‘Best First Cookbook’ a couple of years ago. To see some more examples of James’ works of culinary art, and to find out more about him and his food, click here to have a look at The Pipe and Glass’ website and ‘Gallery’.
Choices made, both for the little people and the adults, we were shown through to the dining-room. The rooms at The Pipe and Glass Inn vary. The bar and the pre-meal seating areas are all at the front of the old building, as you see in the picture above. Erik and I sat in the bay window to the left of the front door, typically ‘olde English’ coaching inn style, full of mis-matched cosy but smart furniture and artefacts. But when you venture through to the dining areas, the ceilings are higher, the decor stylish but relaxing and the furniture lighter (light oak I believe).
The Twinnies were ensconced between their parents, opposite myself. They proceeded to tuck into the home-baked bread and butter as if their life depended on it. The staff were attentive, and soon we were provided with water, wine, and mini-milk bottles of orange juice, complete with straws, for Bella and Tilly.
Then our first courses arrived. All looked exceptional, and just beautiful. It almost seemed sacrilege to eat (or ruin) these works of art. James Mackenzie and his staff are culinary wizards.
Important ones first:
What was extra-special about this Sunday lunch was that children were as important as the ‘grown-ups’. There is a special “Little Peoples’ Menu”, with starter choices of Garlic Bread, Soup, Prawn cocktail, Mature cheddar cheese on granary toast with crispy bacon and Tomato and cucumber salad. Mains were Roast Chicken, or Pork Sausages, Grilled fish and chips, Risotto of ham and peas or the Pipe and Glass Fish Pie.
Bella & Tilly – after eating all the peanuts and all the olives before their meal, then tucking in voraciously to the bread and butter, they then set about their Garlic Bread starter, along with their orange juice. For little people they can certainly eat!
My starter – Dressed white crabmeat with kohlrabi and fennel slaw, pickled pear and cobnut dressing, brown crab and sea salt crisps. Not forgetting the nasturtium flowers dancing delicately around the dish. Stunning to just look at, delicate, subtle flavours and very good to eat.
Erik’s starter – Deep fried wild rabbit rissoles with cockles, capers, sorrel and South Dalton Salami. Erik described both the look and the taste of the dish as a ‘stunning feast, both for the tastebuds and the eye.’
Ant’s starter – Venison tartare with a little haggis Scotch egg, elderberry and juniper syrup and dandelion leaves. He declared it ‘absolutely superb.’
Sister Gina – Watercress Soup, which she loved and announced that it was full of flavour.
Amelia and Peter – They both choose the Proper Prawn Cocktail as a starter, and were rewarded with a tall, wide glass overflowing with salad, dressing and lots of prawns, some tiny, some king sized and some huge, with their shells on. It certainly looked amazing, and they thoroughly enjoyed it. The Twinnies pinched quite a few prawns from Mummy Amelia’s glass.
Bella and Tilly – Platters of James White Sausages, Mash and Gravy, and Fish Pie, were placed in front of the girls. They appeared satisfied with their visual feast, but were so full that they took a while to eat it.
Four adults – Couldn’t resist the Roast Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire Puddings and ‘Two Chefs’ ale gravy. The beef looked so succulent and perfectly cooked, the Yorkshire Puddings huge, crispy and puffed up, and the golden roast potatoes, red cabbage and stir-fried greens were declared by all ‘brilliant’.
Erik and myself – We both were looking forward to the Slow Roast Gloucester Old Spot pork, black pudding forcemeat, sage and Moorlands cider gravy. And we certainly chose well. The thickish slices of pork were incredibly tasty, the forcemeat was very ‘yummy’, the black pudding giving it a rich ‘kick’, the cider gravy was superb and, again, we agreed with the ‘brilliant’ declaration about the shared dishes of vegetables.
By then, after we had all filled up, the Twinnies were getting restless. But that is really another very good thing about The Pipe and Glass Inn. Amelia and I got up from our table, took the girls by the hand and breezed out of the french windows into the garden. The setting is just beautiful. First, a large grassy area, ideal for little ones to run around and have fun without disturbing other diners. Beyond a shrubbery and trees, undulating parkland stretches for miles. The view is just so very English, and gentle. But to the Twinnies, the summerhouse was their own little play-house, the wonderfully rustic wooden swing was a playground swing and they realised that the big tree was perfect for playing hide and seek around it.
After about 10 minutes, Anthony arrived outside with the dessert menu. Already happily full, I searched down the mouthwatering menu, past the tarts and puddings of all descriptions, further down looking for something not too filling, and then I found my perfect dessert. I’m not sure of the official title, but all I know was that it was delicious. Something like Ginger and Honeycomb Icecream, with Dark Chocolate Cinder Toffee chunks. Ant asked if we wanted coffee, and I said ‘espresso’ please. Then I looked at my son and said “Could I be really cheeky and ask for a Grappa?”. Good son that he is, he nodded. Maybe I have really bought him up well, after all.
So after another few minutes trying to wear the little ones out, Amelia and I were called back in for desserts etc. Bella and Tilly were giving a platter of ice-cream and a very gooey piece of chocolate cake to share, and they absolutely loved it. Mind you, it got in their hair, up their noses, under their chins – just about everywhere! But then – that’s what good food, and especially good Michelin star food, is all about, isn’t it?
We all had a truly wonderful time. The food, the staff, the whole ambience of The Pipe and Glass Inn was wonderful. The restaurant was overflowing with customers, some just coming in as others were leaving, but somehow the staff kept us all relaxed. As we were leaving at about 4.15pm, others were just coming in to begin their late Sunday Lunch, but the staff were still smiling. Children were so well catered for, and, with the garden to escape into every so often, it was ideal for the little ones to let off steam.
So a great big thanks to son Anthony and wife Amelia and the Twinnies, and also to James Mackenzie, wife Kate and all the brilliant staff at The Pipe and Glass Inn, for giving us a day to remember.
And congratulations for another well-earned accolade to The Pipe and Glass.