With the nights drawing in and a cosy country pub overlooking the sea, it’s not that hard to see why for a post-school holidays Wednesday night The Hart Inn at Sandsend is bustling.
Three courses later and it is absolutely crystal clear.
Having eaten before at the pub, but only in the main downstairs bar, I knew the reputation for good food was well-founded.
On arrival we were taken to our table in the upstairs dining room which was warm, welcoming but almost like having your own private room.
A list of starters tempt the taste buds and range from traditional pub offerings such as soup of the day and pate to something a little more exotic.
We opted for salt and pepper squid and king scallops in garlic butter but other options include a sharing seafood platter or drilled king prawns.
Seafood is ever present throughoout the extensive menu but that is hardly surprising given how close the pub is to the beach and the seafront.
Main courses really left us spoilt for choice too.
Offerings such as Whitby fish and chips, beef lasagne, steak and ale pie and stew are what you would expect as standard fare.
But there are curry dishes on the menu and food from the grill features gammon, steaks from T bones to sirloins and then there is the absolute array of seafood inspired dishes.
Whitby crab, lobster and scampi can be served up on their own or for those that really can’t make their mind up – surf n turf or half lobster and steak, to name but a few.
We opted for smoked haddock fishcakes (with chips and mushy peas) but this can be swapped for potatoes and vegetables and a 10oz sirloin steak with all the trimmings.
Our starters were served up in good time but long enough to know they had been freshly prepared. Scallops were fleshy and had a strong flavour which stood out against the very garlicky garlic butter which you couldn’t help but mop up with the warm crusty bread roll it came with. Salt and pepper squid was flour coated and seasoned before being deep fried and served up with a chilli dip.
The slightly crunchy but light batter worked well with the texture of the white squid.
For the main course, two individual and handmade fish cakes were packed with flakes of white fish and delicate touches of onion while a huge oval plate was needed to accommodate the steak, chips, onion rings and mushrooms.
Having asked for the steak to be cooked rare, it was indeed but without walking off the plate.
We clearly didn’t need dessert but the offering was good ranging from gluten-free ginger cake to strawberry cheesecake and a separate menu of cheeseboards.
We went for what turned out to be a doorstop sized wedge with a mountain of creamy vanilla ice-cream and the ice cream sundae which featured at least five different flavours.
For three courses each and a couple of drinks at £54 for the bill there is no argument it was value for money.
Better than your average pub grub and with good service to match from staff that are friendly and attentive, I will be returning to work through the rest of the menu.