This blogpost has now been updated for 2012 with a new version here.
My whistlestop guide to the best eating on offer in the lovely market town of Richmond. For walkers, this is the half-way point on the Coast to Coast meaning you’re sure to be hungry when you arrive so best to plan ahead.
The Black Lion Hotel in Finkle Street is hard to beat. A good selection of traditional specials as well as a blackboard full of regular favourites – everything from cheese and onion tart, to lamb shank and mash or halibut streak. Everything is well-cooked, unfussy and attractively presented with large portions the norm. The interior of the pub has retained a traditional feel, mostly set out as dining areas but it is also possible to have food served in the bar. It isn’t the cheapest place to eat in the town (expect to pay between £9 and £14 a main course) but the food is of a consistently high standard and the atmosphere welcoming. Call: 01748 826217.
The Cross View Tea Rooms is possibly the only cafe I’ve ever known where you’d be recommended to book for a wet Wednesday lunch-time! It’s regularly so busy that locals in-the-know book tables well in advance. The reason – the biggest (the lemon meringue pie peaks always look as if they should form mountaineering training), freshest homemade cakes in town but also because they serve traditional meals like you’d get at home such as fish pie or sausage and mash. It’s also good for a fry-up breakfast or just a cup of tea. Good value with prices to suit all pockets and special promotions through the ShopLocal scheme. Call:01748 825897
(Sadly) There’s only one place in town which passes muster for formal dining and that’s The Frenchgate Restaurant and Hotel. It’s the sort of place to get dressed up for a special occasion and provides a personal service which will typically see you greeted by name on arrival, offered a pre-dinner drink in the elegant lounge while perusing what can be a fairly ambitious menu. The cuisine falls into a modern European style and expect to find the menu (rather pretentiously, imho) adorned with “jus”, “foam” and such like. It is worth finding time to spend the evening on the experience and be sure to save some space for the regional cheese board which boasts some interesting options. On the pricey side at three courses for £34. Sample menu here. Call:0174 8822087.
The venue makes this one. The former station building has been transformed from the massive and delightfully hodch-potch hardware store it was some years ago (think Two Ronnies “four candles sketch”) to the award-winning, airy building it is now. As well as housing a cinema and some specialist food shops, The Station is home to the Seasons Restaurant which is smart place to lunch with an interesting brasserie style menu utilising local produce. With daily specials, free wi-fi and wide selection of teas and coffees it’s also a good place for any business related meet-ups. Call: 01748 825340.
Fish and chips
The room above Barker’s take-away in the Trinity Square has been given a bright and smart make-over to give diners a licensed eat-in option which includes lighter options such as large plate salads as well as the favourite cod, chips and mushy. And the good old usual is done well here with crispy batter, plentiful fluffy chips and a hearty serving of peas. A few pounds more than the take-away price for friendly service a stone’s throw from the castle and the chance to sup a reviving cuppa. Call:01748 825768.
The Delhi-cious kitchen maybe on the outskirts of town, but those who haven’t yet made it to the door can always order a delivery and judging by the frequency the signwritted car is seen around town, plenty do. Easily the best Indian food in town, anyone wanting a quick cookery lesson can do worse than popping along to Cutpurse Lane to watch the chefs at work through the large glass window separating the waiting area from the kitchen. They do offer some unusual specialities such as whole tandoori trout and I’ve been particularly impressed with the vegetarian selection with dishes ranging from the mildest tarka dhall to a hot a spicy chana massala. Call 01748 824916.