Just 24 hours before settling down to our food at the Black Bull Inn, the first snowfall of late autumn swept across the surrounding moorland.
Police closed the road and forced us to return home from a Christmas market trip via an alternative route.
That put paid to our planned evening out at the 17th Century coaching inn a mile out of Pickering town centre on the Malton road – but it was only a short postponement.
As Sunday’s temperature rocketed to an almost balmy 5C (it had felt several degrees below in Harrogate the day before with the wind chill factored in), it was back over the tops for the 30-minute journey so we could make our maiden visit to the Black Bull.
I’m pleased to say it was well worth venturing from the seaside to Ryedale for.
The cosy, contemporary look and feel of the inn belies its unremarkable external appearance – and arriving with an appetite is a must in an establishment where no-one will ever leave hungry.
After a quick survey of the very affordable menu, offering a choice of what I’d call pub classics, I went for the chicken breast goujons to start which were decent with a nice, slightly spicy barbecue sauce.
Mrs A’s mushrooms in garlic butter, with a warm crispy baguettte, was almost a main course in itself.
She commented that it did not need both the baguette and the salad, and that one or the other would still have been good value. If these two dishes were substantial, the main courses were bordering on enormous.
The wife chose the pub’s signature fish, the loaf tin Yorkshire pudding, hers filled with steak and ale – these also come with pork sausages and topside of beef – and fluffy chips, while I tucked into the Smokey Joe, a delicious prime burger topped with pulled pork and melted cheese.
Vegetarians are also catered for with a variety of choices.
It is not very often I am psychologically beaten by food, but about a quarter of the way through the main, I resigned myself to not clearing my plate, as nice as the food was.
Unfortunately, Mrs A and I were far too full to even contemplate dessert – my stomach was groaning like a Man City fan after watching Saturday’s magnificent demolition.
However, our son, who’d swerved the starters for a kid’s pizza, chips and beans, which was more than adequate for a growing young lad, was keen to test out the jelly and ice cream, which he ordered with a strawberry sauce and some mini marshmallows.
Sneaky tip to young diners – if you buy a Minions key ring from the machine in the back room, it comes in a small spherical container which opens from the middle.
So if you cannot manage all the marshmallows in one go, you can put the remainder in here and take them away with you!
The overall bill for two courses and two rounds of drinks for the three of us came to just over £45 which was excellent value indeed and well worth the half-hour trip over the moors for.
The Black Bull also offers a Sunday daytime carvery as well as a steak night on a Monday and a fish Friday.
OVERALL RATING: 8
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