The Blue Lion Inn & Restaurant, Yorkshire Dales

Hang out
The ultimate in Sunday lunching. Gorgeous drive out to the Dales – worth it for arrival at the quintessential English pub. It’s a quietly stylish spot in a quietly well-heeled part of the world. 

Decked out
Flagstones, dark wood and blackboards – the real deal, not a tarted-up imitation. It’s been there forever and is the very essence of traditional in the best way. Sit on well-worn oak and let the atmosphere and attention to detail give you a warm hug. Apron-clad silver-service staff are a cut above.

An embarrassment of riches from the wine list and the wine blackboards. But remember you’re in Black Sheep and Theakstons country, so your pint is going to be pretty special too!

Food matters
This was gastro-pub before the term was ever invented. Quietly doing classic British dishes alongside perfect French-influenced country food. It is impeccable.

We ate
We started with local grouse breast wrapped in pancetta. From our seats we could almost touch the moorland where the new-season grouse had spent its days. What a treat – it tasted intense with that earthy, robust game-rich flavour. Almost the opposite was a starter of seabass fillet with scallop on a creamy risotto – this dish delicate, light and subtle. Roast sirloin for mains was plentiful on the plate and so succulent to taste; bloody-pink, tender and with punchy, aged flavour. Yorkshires were puffed and bold and the roasties thick skinned and fluffy within. Nice vegetable selection – spiced red cabbage, green beans and carrots. A couple of us had the duck confit, long-cooked as it should be for fall-off-the-bone meat with with a really thick, almost caramel-like skin. Like you get in France. It was served on a bed of bubble and squeak. Fuelled by pints of Theakstons and sips of soft ruby French merlot – served in the best pub glass we’ve ever encountered – we hit the rest of our walk with gusto and ultimately a big Yorkshire nap! Two courses for £19.45 and three for £23.95. 

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