The village of Thornton-le-Dale has always struck me as one of the most beautiful spots in this neck of the woods.
A magnet for tourists – and for locals looking for a change of scene – the small but perfectly formed destination is a great choice if you’re looking for an out-of town treat.
The Buck looks like any other pub from the outside, but when you venture inside, you are greeted with more than the simple frontage gives away.
The pub has a warm, traditional feel, but with a modern twist. The dining room is tastefully done out in what can only be described as a seamless blend of old and new.
Visiting at around 7pm on a Saturday, it was a good job we’d booked as before long the dining room was bustling with couples and families alike.
The staff were very welcoming and efficient, seating us and taking our drinks order straight away.
The main menu is extensive and there is also quite an array of specials, with vegetarian options.
Starters included choices such as sweet chilli prawns, nachos, cod and parsley fishcakes and a warm black pudding and chorizo salad, with prices averaging at around £4.50.
Having spotted the dessert menu, and not wanting to miss out, we chose to go straight to the main course menu and leave room for something sweet.
We were spoilt for choice, both on the main menu and specials board.
Classic pub food – at very reasonable prices – is the order of the day.
Favourites such as steak and ale pie, home-made burger, scampi, lasagne and chilli feature on the menu, with prices at around £8 to £9.
Vegetarian options include spinach, sweet potato and chickpea curry, spicy bean burger and Mediterranean vegetable crumble, with prices around £7 to £8.
My mum ordered beer battered cod (£7.75) and I chose smoky bean and vegetable chilli from the specials board (£7.45).
The food arrived swiftly, despite the pub being busy, and it was well presented and piping hot.
The chilli, served with rice, chips and tortilla chips was colourful and a generous size for the price.
Garnished with lots of fresh red, green and yellow chillis, I feared it might blow my head off, but it was spot on. Tasty and perfectly spiced, without being too hot.
My mum’s fish and chips, served with peas, was covered in a crisp, golden batter and was not too greasy. It wasn’t a huge portion, but was enough and for the price was very good value.
The dessert menu was packed full of temptation, with dishes such as Belgian chocolate pudding, spotted dick, sticky toffee pudding and ice cream with hot toffee sauce, with most dishes priced at £3.95.
My mum opted for cheesecake and I chose jubilee pancakes – a heavenly concoction of home-made pancakes with a hot cherry filling, served with cream and vanilla ice cream.
The pancakes in particular were amazing – so I’m glad I’d sidelined the starters this time.
The Buck is a gem of a pub when it comes to food, service and price. I’ve already been back since and will be again – perhaps to sample the full three courses.
Menu choice 8
OVERALL RATING 8