Six best places to eat in Richmond, North Yorkshire


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.

Pub grub

Meaty: Lamb steak
Meaty: Lamb steak

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.

Home-cooked food

Conforting: Haddock and prawn gratin
Comforting: Haddock and prawn gratin

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

Fine dining

Frothy: Guinea fowl with truffle foam
Frothy: Guinea fowl with truffle foam

(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.

Smart lunch
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.

20 different cuisines in one day of Leeds eating

How many different cuisines would you expect to find in the average UK city?

OK you’d expect to find various European and Asian options but what about Ethiopian or Cuban?

Intrepid food blogger Katie of LeedsGrub has come up with restaurants dishing up dinners from 20 different countries and is soon to embark on a voyage of foodie discovery by visiting each of them – in one day.

On the Facebook page for the venture, she explains why a small and determined group are taking this worldly challenge:

“Our challenge will take the form of an around the world backpacking tour where we visit the restaurants of Leeds and Bradford sampling cuisine from a huge range of international specialities. The rules are that we have to eat or drink one thing in each one of the 20 restaurants we hope to visit!

“We think you might be surprised and delighted at just how many different nationalities and cultures are represented in the restaurants around town!”

And I think she’s probably right – just see the itinerary penned so far which I’ve posted on the bottom of this page to see the wide range.

But this feat won’t be carried out for gluttony’s sake alone – the group will also be raising cash for the charity The Smile Train which provides free surgery for children with cleft  palates.

Donate here;

By Land, Air and Sea but Still Home for Tea! takes place on Thursday, September, 17. For updates about the event and to see what happens on the day follow @headingthere @culturevultures and @leedsgrub on twitter.

Provisional Itinerary, subject to revision:

Start 10am ease into it gently with coffee and croissants:
Ditsch, Commercial St (Germany)
Café Rouge (France)
Casa Mia (Italy)

Ditsch, Commercial St (Germany)
Merkato, Merrion Market (Ethiopia)

Saffran (Iran)
Ephesus Mangal (Turkey)

Then we hope to hop on the Trans Siberian Railway to…
(or the 12.37 to Sowerby Bridge)
The Russian Restaurant, Bradford (Russia)
Temujin, Sowerby Bridge (Mongolia)

Chinese Restaurant TBA
Pakistani Restaurant TBA (Prob do these in Bradford)

By this time it will prob be about 5.30pm
Hansas Guajarati (India)
Thai Cottage (Thailand)
Sesame (Japan)
Tampopo (The rest of SE Asia)

Walkabout (Australia)
River Plate (Argentina)
Las Iguanas (South America)
Sandinista *Confirmed*(Cuba/Latin America)

Salsa Mexicana *Confirmed* (Mexico)
Dutch Pot (Caribbean)

Prohibition (North America)

Making sloe gin for Christmas

Pricking the sloes
Pricking the sloes

According to the sloe forum (strapline, there’s no biz like!), the August fruits from the blackthorn bush are too early for picking to make the traditional gin drink.

But, having been presented with a carrier bag of the little black beauties, along with a handy bottle of mother’s ruin and a bag of sugar this week (thanks mum) it would seem foolish not to give it a go.

So today saw my first attempt at ‘making’ sloe gin. It all appears to be straightforward enough.

1. Wash and prick all the sloes with a fork.

2. Half fill a container (mine was 1.5 litres) with the sloes.

3. Add a wine glass of sugar.

4. Fill container with gin (this made a delicious gurgurly glugging sound as the liquid filtered through the fruits).

Sloe gin: Day 1
Sloe gin: Day 1

The mix has since settled into layers of a, sugar and fruit, b. fruit and c. gin which will gradually meld together over the coming weeks.

The experience left me with with black-stained hands and a vague whiff of the distillery about me. In fact, for the first time in my life I feel like a true Daily Mail housewife!

Now all that remains to be done is to ‘agitate’ the mix every week.

Having only ever tasted sloe gin once before (a lingering memory of delight) I shall be relying on my Christmas dinner guests to pass judgement. In the meantime, any tips to ensure it’s success most welcome.

links for 2009-08-17

links for 2009-08-16

Greggs wallpaper. Why?

The purveyor of hangover favourites to the High Street can now accompany you to the office. Yes, you’ve eaten their hot, gloopy, fat filled fests,  now…..get the screensaver.

Greggs, it's a screen

If you can’t really get enough of the pies and pasties, well here you go, download here, but then at least tell me why you did it.

Thanks to my Twitterstream for passing on this piece of marketing nonsense today but I have to agree with @iainmhepburn’s assessment: “Quite possibly the most unnecessary thing in the world.”

links for 2009-08-10

A new Yorkshire tea brand gets poured for mad hatters

Where's the party?
Where's the party?

Tea, truly is the best drink of the day as far as I’m concerned, so to discover a new brand being made on the doorstep is an exciting find indeed.

Mad Hatter Tea has just arrived in the Richmond town centre Cross View Tea Rooms where I was able to sample a “taste of wonderland” for myself this week.

The website for this small North Yorkshire company says it “simply revives the spirit, enriches the mood
and adds peppiness and cheerfulness to the substance of life.”

Quite a promise although I believe all the references to Alice’s famous tea party has more to do with Lewis Carroll’s links with the town rather than any claims for the brew to induce dream-like experiences!

Being a confirmed Yorkshire Tea consumer I prefer a strong cuppa and the Mad Hatter is certainly not wimpy. A rich, strong colour and taste but with a brighter notes, something of a lighter edge to it.

It was refreshing stuff – perfect for raising a cup in celebration of today’s Yorkshire Day!