As I stepped out of the car, after leaving the panoramic coastal road between Whitby and Sandsend to drive up a tree-lined private road to Raithwaite Hall, I was greeted by a veritable visual banquet.
A fine selection of the very best automotive offerings glinted in the fading sunlight.
The platter from Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and Porsche, adding an extra sparkle to what would hopefully be a rather opulent affair.
A rather loud wedding reception greeted us as we entered the building, but as the sliding doors were closed behind us in the large, comfortable dining room, and the efficient staff seated us at our precisely laid out table, none of that mattered.
The perusal of the well-balanced menu, as the smokey flavours of a rich cabernet sauvignon rolled around my mouth, was a joy in itself.
The hand-dived Loch Fyne scallops caught my eye and they did not disappoint. The succulent creamy white meat melting in your mouth with a buttery sweetness. The mild flavour balanced beautifully with cauliflower textures, coriander and golden sultanas.
The smoked duck salad too, was a delight. The slightly bitter endive and the sweet fig accompaniments were perfect bedfellows for the rich dark meat.
The addition of pea shoots to the dish was not only aesthetically pleasing, but the earthy fresh flavour married exquisitely with the delicate smokiness of the duck. The whole dish brought together with a deliciously sweet locally-sourced honey emulsion.
The plates – wiped clean with warm, buttered bread – were removed by the friendly and attentive staff and we eagerly awaited the next course.
The tender dark-pink meat of Mr Fostergill’s Pickering lamb, contrasted beautifully with the vibrant green wilted spinach accompanying it.
The rich rosemary and garlic pomme gratin and earthy girolle mushroom provided substance to the dish. While the sweetbread, with its silky texture and delicate flavour, was a particular highlight.
The Waterford House Farm sirloin of beef, cooked perfectly medium-rare, was packed with mouthwatering flavour. Along with triple-cooked chips, roasted tomatoes and Pickering watercress, it was genuinely disappointing when it was over.
The real star though was shimmering in a small saucepan on the edge of plate. The lustrous Bordelaise sauce - a red wine based reduction - was quite simply divine and not even a drop was left.
A tough decision followed, but the trio of strawberry, along with the chocolate fondant and cinder toffee ice cream were eventually chosen to draw a close to the meal.
The former constituted of juicy strawberries, sandwiched with cream in a buttery shortbread, a light fresh mousse and a luxurious ice cream.
The latter a perfectly baked fondant with the sumptuous chocolate filling oozing out with a slice of the spoon. The cinder toffee in the ice cream adding a pleasurable crunch.
Both were a fitting end to an excellent meal. The price tag may not be to everyone’s taste (sirloin & sauce £19.50) but the food, service and overall dining experience certainly would be.
Overall, it is an ideal destination for that special occasion.
Menu choice 9