My two tips for losing weight are stay out of fish and chip shops and stay out of pubs. So here I am having fish and chips in a pub.
Well, Whitby wholetail breaded scampi actually.
The meal probably amounts to my entire calorie count for the day, what with the bread and butter, jam sponge and ice cream, and a couple of pints.
But I’m doing this in the name of duty, of course.
There’s so much scampi and salad that they can’t fit any chips on the plate, so they come in a side pot, which is great fun, and would be good for sharing.
That said, I am alone, but no doubt just one of many weary passers-through who have used this ancient pub over the centuries.
This village was mentioned in The Domesday Book, apparently, and this pub was used by smugglers hundreds of years ago.
The peas are succulent, the salad is fresh and the scampi packs your mouth with flavour.
But a problem arises when I try to make a chip butty. The more I try to spread a solid knob of butter across a flimsy piece of bread, the more the bread just keeps breaking up, and the more I try, the more it falls apart. A bit like life itself that, at times, isn’t it?
Off I go to the bar for a second pint of hand-pulled Tetley, my face aglow like I’m going up to collect a winner’s medal or something.
But the medal should go to the licensees for keeping beer this good. There’s an art to it, I’m told, which someone here seems to have got right.
The pudding is an interesting experience in its blend of hot and cold, and I like the different textures of the ice cream and the sponge.
A Golden Retriever, which I’ve already patted and learned is called Maisie, gives me a look that says : “I like you, but I don’t know who you are.”
And that pretty much sums up the staff and locals too, who are friendly and welcoming.
The menu has plenty of healthy options available, such as salmon served with potatoes and fresh vegetables, and Mediterranean pasta bake.
The roast pepper quiche with chips and salad also looked tempting for me because I’m a pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish).
But if you like steaks there are plenty to choose from here, including rib, rump and sirloin. And all the meat served in the pub comes from local farms around Whitby. The pub’s speciality is steak pie.
For £20, I’m left feeling like I can hardly move.
If this was 200 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to get back on my horse.
My meal cost: main course at £9.50, pudding at £4.45, bread and butter no charge, and pint £3.10.
On the phone after my visit, landlady Annie Potter tells me the pub is dog-friendly and resembles something like Battersea Dogs Home on a Sunday lunchtime, with people who’ve been out walking their dogs on the nearby Cleveland Way. (Dogs are only allowed in the top bar, however).
And if you want local history, Annie is the person to talk to.
There might not be a better person around to run this pub. A Burniston lass born in the village, she went to the primary school and tells me her nana had The Oak Wheel, just around the corner.
Menu choice 8