An inviting country inn which was one of the pubs used in the TV show Heartbeat was the attractive setting for a Thursday night meal out in the Esk Valley.
Dating back to 1860, The Postgate can be found at the bottom of a steep winding bank in Egton Bridge, in the heart of the North York Moors, 20 minutes away from Whitby.
It doubled up as the Black Dog when used as a location for the police TV drama series now favoured by viewers of retro TV channels on Sky.
We arrived on a sunny early autumn evening to be greeted on the way in by a notice saying ‘fully booked’ which is usually a pretty accurate reflection of a restaurant’s popularity.
A pleasant young lady who served our drinks had placed us on a table in the bar cosily next to the fireplace, which is heavily adorned with mini blackboards advertising the establishment’s board of fare – but gave us the option of moving to the dining room if we’d preferred.
There is certainly no shortage of choice, and having spent what seemed like a week to make up our minds on the starters, the chef emerged carrying two more boards with halibut dishes.
There was no shortage of quality either, as the starters proved. My wife Emma chose one of the Postgate’s classic hor’s d’oeuvres – the black pudding on wholegrain mustard mash “cloaked” with a citrus and redcurrant glaze (£7.95).
What she particularly loved about this dish was the way she could taste every ingredient individually – I had a nibble too and would definitely recommend it.
Having painstakingly pored over a menu including deep-fried whitebait, French bread topped with goat’s cheese or the “we love it” option of prawn cocktail, I opted for the brie deep fried in batter, served on a mixed lettuce salad with a chillied cranberry relish (£7.95).
The batter was cooked to perfection– unlike the crocodile-thick wedges one sometimes gets in a backstreet chippy – and the molten cheese oozed out delightfully, blending well with the relish to leave me eager to try the next course.
It was worth the (not very long) wait. We were both tempted by the escallope of beef fillet wrapped in bacon, glazed with Stilton, with a Madeira and mushroom sauce with fresh veg and potatoes (£18.95), but being the gent that I am, sportingly let the wife have my number one choice.
Instead, I took a slight gamble and went for a dish I’d associate more with a four-star tourist trap in Reykjavik – smoked haddock cooked in a curried chowder with tomato, potato, fresh spinach and a boiled egg – the last two ingredients reminded me of a tasty Fiorentina pizza I had in an Italian once or twice –served with apple and raisin rice and a poppadom.
My chivalry was rewarded – the dish was lovely and the spice thankfully not too overpowering. My wife’s beef was cooked to perfection while the chips we shared were great for mopping up the sauces (there’s the social etiquette out of the window!)
We were too full for dessert, so can’t comment there, but I would say to any diner not to be put off by the above-average prices in The Postgate as they reflect the quality of gastronomy on offer – I never baulk at paying a bit more if I know we’re in for a treat.
Menu choice 9