The Wentworth Arms, Old Malton - Hungry Sunday meant a first call to the Arms

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On the weekend of Malton Food Lovers Festival, we wended our way back from a family shopping trip to York, looking for somewhere to eat.

Like those folks at the festival, food was definitely on our minds – we were all starving.

The AA accommodation sign gave the establishment an air of authority

We’d turned off the A64 and headed through various villages and hamlets, vainly looking for somewhere – we were being a tad picky in that none of us fancied a carvery, and so many places offer only that on a Sunday. Not just at Sunday lunchtime – some keep it on as the only food all day. Fine if that’s what you want, but we didn’t.

Reaching Malton, with hunger pangs growing by the minute, we came upon The Wentworth Arms, a place I’d often passed – just before getting on to the bypass – but never visited before.

Outside, the former coaching inn is festooned in ivy – infact I’ve never seen a place so ivy-ed. It looked like a house disguised as a tree. The AA 
accommodation sign gave the establishment an air of authority, the neighbouring thatched roof added to the “country” feel, so, after establishing that a carvery wasn’t the only option, we ventured inside.

Inside it’s a smallish pub, with the bar directly through the door, drinkers and diners sharing it, and a couple of yards to the left a separate dining room.

As well as the paper menu there were a few specials on the blackboard. However, the turbot was off (as in unavailable, not inedible!), and there was only one portion left of the promising-sounding crab, prawn and mussel tagliatelle ... obviously the blackboard 
offerings had been very popular that day.

To her enormous credit, the lone barmaid coped valiantly with the multitude of demands – serving drinks, taking food orders, clearing plates, bringing out food. The pub by this time was busying up and she did a fine, if slightly flustered, job.

Of the five starters, our party opted for two. The classic prawn cocktail was a perfectly adequate standard prawn cocktail, while the Yorkshire Barncliffe brie, deep fried with tomato chutney, certainly looked the part, served on a heart-shaped platter. It had a delightful crunch coating surrounding succulent runny cheese.

I’d had my eye on that last portion of the tagliatelle, but so had my daughter, and I graciously gave way. I did sample its various components, and, 
although not cheap at £14, it was a tasty concoction, the topping of samphire giving it added punch.

My son opted for fish and chips, and asked for bread roll instead of peas, which was no problem to the kitchen. Out came a gargantuan haddock and chunky chips – the portions of all dishes enough to banish our hunger pangs.

The other two mains choices were scampi – plenty of them, luckily – and spinach and cheddar omelette, both of which were adequate but ordinary in presentation and taste.

By this time we were nicely full, and, despite some tempting desserts, we gave them a miss.

At more than £70 the meal wasn’t cheap, but we were pleased to find such a homely place with a good menu choice, and the food itself was, mostly, pleasing, classic fare.

RATING: 7