The Crab & Lobster is a real gem when it comes to the foodie scene. It’s honest, it’s hearty, it’s unpretentious and it’s the quirkiest of little spots that’s certain to get people talking. Embracing local produce, fresh seafood and a wide variety of gourmet dishes, the place is traditionally British with a real Yorkshire feel, yet it’s packed with treats and trinkets suggesting both local and exotic locations across the globe. There’s a sweet outside terrace for dining al fresco, a cosy bar area for a lazy late lunch and an elegant dining room for a candlelit dinner. There’s something for everyone and for all occasions.
From the Manor House to the rooms, suites and the restaurant, quaint quirkiness doesn’t go a miss here. The Crab & Lobster is a cosy space, adorned with curious collectables and obscure ornaments hanging from the ceiling. Some are inspired by the ocean, poking through fishing nets, but there’s the odd ice skate, drum and pot doll in there too. It’s certain to spark conversation and will have you gazing up at the ceiling for hours. We check in for dinner on a Tuesday evening and there’s a real Saturday night vibe about the place – each and every table is taken and guests chit-chatter as wine glasses clink and fresh fish aromas fly through the air.
The wine list is extensive – taking you on a gorgeous grape-fuelled journey all the way from Tuscany to Chile, Austrailia, Spain and back. The smiley staff are happy to help – preparing the perfect wine for your preferred dish. And if wine isn’t your chosen tipple, fear not. There’s a wide range of local ales, lagers, soft drinks and spirits available. I kick things off with a refreshing G&T, while my dinner date opts for a hearty Yorkshire hop.
Delightful decor and quirky touches aside, the food here is something worth celebrating. Diners travel miles from all corners of the North York Moors and beyond to sample the chefs favourites and seasonal specials. The place offers unpretentious fine dining where you know you’ll get a decent portion of fresh, local produce. Whether you opt for the trademark fishy flavours or you prefer something meaty, cheesy or healthy – you’ll be spoilt for choice. All allergies are catered for and the staff are more than happy to put together your perfect dish. Diners are welcome all day, all week here – with the option to dine casually, formally or al fresco. There’s a much-loved a la carte menu, a delicious set lunch offering, a tasty Sunday dinner menu as well as an afternoon menu where smaller plates are made up of similar, scrumptious flavours. Stay tuned on the Crab & Lobster website, where the chefs regularly pop up their secret recipes. We’ve got them all on file so we can ‘Crab it up’ at home.
What we ate
Seated and wined in the restaurant, we order from the a la carte menu. My dinner date starts with the crispy fishcakes (£10.50) – filled with local codling, haddock and oak roast salmon, topped with seasonal greens, smoked bacon, poached egg and leek cream. The perfect appetiser, full of flavour. A real sucker when it comes to anything cheesy, I opt for the twice baked cheese soufflé (£11). A fluffy formation of Wensleydale, Ribblesdale and spinach, finished off with a garnish of carrot, pickled blackberries, and roast pinenuts. A deliciously delicate and light dish, and the perfect compromise to a stodgy, cream-covered soufflé. In keeping with the oceanic theme of the place, I go for the ‘Crab’s’ fish pie (£22) for mains. The dish comes bursting with scallops, prawns and mussels, topped with fortune kipper mash, fresh crab meat and a cheddar crust – heaven. With a handful of buttered greens thrown in the dish, it’s the perfect fishy dish and a hearty pub meal with added elegance. It’s the grilled prime aged grand reserve sirloin steak (£27) for my companion. With a roast onion and chorizo crust, the flavours and impeccable and the meat is cooked perfectly pink. Hand cut chips and a baby leaf garnish finish off the feast. Getting a steak right can tell you a lot about a place – and although the seafood offering tops it for me, the Crab & Lobster’s local meat is a winner too.
Go here for an experience like no other. It’s different in every respect – and I don’t know anywhere like it. An incredibly eccentric environment serving up hearty pub food with the perfect balance between playful lust and luxury. From the walk through the enchanting garden grounds, to the trinket hunting and the wonderful food and wine offering, the whole dining experience is spot on and we leave pining for more. The portions are quite hefty, so unfortunately we can’t squeeze in a dessert on this occasion, but we’re eyeing up the ‘Crab’s’ assiette (£18) – a packed out plate full of all the desserts in miniature. We can’t wait to come back and give it a taste…