The Blue Bell Inn, Weaverthorpe: Yorkshire portions are bell-issimo

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The Yorkshire Wolds are unspoilt and, according to my father, much the same as in the 1970s.

He recalls driving up Staxton Hill on his way to visit friends in West Lutton to find three feet of snow, deepening in places, and some roads blocked.

Seeking refuge at a pub in the village of Weaverthorpe, my stranded father and his travelling companion were served egg and chips by the non-catering landlady who took pity on their shivering souls.

Nearly 40 years later, four of us made the trip to the Blue Bell Inn at Weaverthorpe to see if anything had changed.

Fortunately, Jarrod and Leanne Fisher (here since 2000) offer a much wider choice of fare.

We ordered drinks at the bar and perused the menu before being ushered into a plush dining room having placed our orders.

The menu caters for most tastes, though vegetarians are restricted to fish when it comes to choosing a main course.

Six other dishes appear on a specials blackboard which included devilled lambs’ kidneys, pan fried calves’ livers and oven baked loin of cod.

Two of us chose starters of tomato and basil soup (£5.25) and a melon and fruit platter (£5.95) – the latter was summer on a plate; no mean achievement in January.

The abstainers were presented with taster portions of soup and the generosity did not end here as unexpected palate cleansers –shots of ice cold lemon sorbet – followed the first course.

As carnivores our main courses did not disappoint. Two sizeable sirloin steaks (£21 each) arrived grilled as ordered, duck breast came pink with both citrus and sesame sauces (£17.50) and juicy lamb fell from its shank (£16.75).

Proper chips accompanied the steaks, plus battered onion, garlic butter and salad and an ample tureen of carrots, courgettes, beans and minted potatoes were fresh and tender.

Desserts followed; the rich chocolate cheesecake served with white chocolate ice cream (£5.75) was moreish but the star dish was the caramelised lemon tart (£5.75).

Velvety and voluptuous, the cool lemon contrasted spectacularly with the crispy caramelised topping.

We sampled three wines, all good, but one red, Old Vines Carignan Xavier Roger (2011) was deep yet soft and cherry like and quite outstanding.

The accompanying tasting notes were accurate without baffling the reader with any pretentious jargon.

The service from one young waiter was sound throughout the evening.

At one point he had over 20 diners to attend to, but he was unflappable and demonstrated an impressive memory.

The Fishers say that they offer “modern Yorkshire style cooking using locally sourced produce where possible”. They should add that their Yorkshire portions also offer very good value for money.

Happy to be so well fed, we left the restaurant and upon further investigation, I discovered that, apparently, it was all so different from 1970s egg and chips.

Although I can’t offer an opinion on that, what I can say with confidence is that the Blue Bell is well worth a visit and I for one will certainly be returning.

RATINGS

Food 9

Menu choice 8

Service 9

Decor 8

Ambience 9

OVERALL 9