With its timeless cobbled streets and hidden pathways, you never know what secrets you are going to unearth in the picturesque seaside town of Whitby.
There are, however, an increasing number of restaurants in this quaint resort deserving of the spotlight and worth shouting about.
Moutreys is one of them. I have been to this Italian restaurant several times now, each time choosing to eat later in the evening – the adult conversation, ubiquitous glass of wine and buzzing open-plan layout creating a relaxed dining experience.
The restaurant, centred around a large stone pizza oven, is tastefully decorated, the interior reflecting a pleasant mix of traditional Italian styling and local craftsmanship.
Due to the popularity of this eaterie, booking in advance is usually a necessity, but taking a chance we walked in early one midweek evening and were shown immediately to a table.
Shortly after our arrival the restaurant was full. Our excellent timing mirrored by the speedy arrival of a colouring book and crayons for my five-year-old daughter.
As she busied herself with her creation, we perused a tantalising menu. Staple Italian dishes were complemented by a varied specials board, providing a treat for even the most discerning palate.
Crumbling under pressure from our young dining companion, we opted for the garlic bread with tomato, ordering also the baked Brie de Meaux with warm jalapeño jelly and mixed leaves.
The soft pizza dough of the former was dripping with a punchy tomato sauce and bursting with a potentially eye-watering, but most definitely mouth-watering, quantity of garlic.
The latter was served with a fresh hunk of olive, pesto, blushed tomato, garlic and parmesan foccacia. The rustic Italian flavours combined beautifully with the gooey richness of the cheese and the subtle warmth and sweet flavour of the jalapeño jelly.
Every mouthful eagerly consumed, the colouring continued, only to be interrupted a few minutes later by an assortment of fresh pasta.
A generous half portion of lasagne, thoughtfully served on a cold plate, arrived for my daughter. Her delight at the vast portion was echoed when the linguini with Moutrey’s meatballs and the goat’s cheese and tomato penne were served.
The gentle zing from the chilli-laced meatballs balanced expertly with the fresh basil flavour running through the rich ragu. The linguini, aided in its quest to soak up the moreish sauce with freshly grated parmesan, was cooked al-dente.
The third dish saw tart blobs of goat’s cheese ooze into a tomato sauce, creating a sumptuous velvety concoction to coat the penne – fresh cherry tomatoes popping with flavour.
Squeezing in dessert, ‘THE’ chocolate brownie – served with three spoons – was devoured within minutes. The warm chocolate sauce was a particular highlight, complemented perfectly with locally-sourced ice cream.
A regular haunt with locals, the restaurant’s friendly and attentive staff and honest Italian fare make this a dining destination for any occasion.
Menu choice 8