Choosing from the Devonshire Arms menu isn’t going to be easy, there’s an array of starters that get me incredibly excited and that’s before I’ve even looked at the sharing starters
I’m incredibly fortunate to have visited some amazing destinations as a child, my parents have always been lovers of the sun and therefore in true 80’s style every year my father would call the police to let then know we were going on holiday, turn the water off at the stop tap, trip the electricity and put a cushion in front of the VHS recorder so they bright LCD clock wouldn’t been seen, I kid you not, then we head to Manchester Airport and take our annual pilgrimage to either Greece or Spain, fun times.
I have to be honest though and say my fondest memories as a child were spent in the Wharfdale village of Burnsall, summer afternoons with the car parked up in the large field adjacent to the river were an absolute delight, skimming stones, the rope swing, the smell of BBQ’s and mothers egg and cress sandwiches all strike a chord of delight.
There’s place we passed every time we ventured to Burnsall a place that intrigued me, The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa on the Bolton Abbey Estate, it’s a place that right on cue every time we passed mother would say, we must try there, two and a half decades later and my parents still haven’t been and up until recently neither had I, but that’s now changed and let me tell you the wait was worth it.
The splendour of the Devonshire Arms starts the moment you arrive, roaring open fires, the customary white Labrador laid on the traditional stone floor, an incredibly inviting welcome from the receptionist, comforting sofa’s & decor that wouldn’t be out of place in a stately home, it’s got the lot.
In stark contrast the brasserie is a far more vibrant part of the hotel, rich in colour with walls decorated with incredible contemporary art, sunken seating, folk chatting at the bar, views across the valley we’ve found the more informal part of this incredibly iconic building.
It’d be more than acceptable to have a pint with dinner in this social setting however we opt for the waiters choice of red, an Argentinian Petit Verdot by Ruca Malen a full bodied wine which I suspect will match my menu choices perfectly.
Choosing from this menu isn’t going to be easy, there’s an array of starters that get me incredibly excited and that’s before I’ve even looked at the sharing starters, in the end I opt for the trio of Wharfedale Pig.
Glazed Pork Belly, Black Pudding Sausage Roll, Homemade Scotch Egg, Apple Puree and Piccalilli. every bit as good as it sounds, the pork belly is sticky, the yolk of the quails egg runs down the fantastically flavoured sausage element of this wonderful scotch egg and the sausage roll well where do I begin? golden puff pastry that flakes perfectly as your knife cuts through into a filling that’s layered with flavour, the apple puree and piccalilli propel this dish to heights that allow me to declare this as the best starter I’ve had this year, it has everything!
My wife also as high praise for her starter of Textures of Beetroot served with goats cheese, truffle dressing, and roasted hazelnuts but it’s the main that we both have our eyes on.
At first sight we’re not exactly sure how we’re going to devour this stunning looking platter of food, but finish we did and ooh boy what a treat, as you would expect the beef is absolute stunning, it’s cooked to absolute perfection and is up there with the best steaks I’ve had of late.
Real praise however must be given to the red wine jus, it’s rare that you get a sauce of this quality, in fact only once before have I had the privilege of a sauce at this level.
I remember the occasion well, the craziest American chef i’ve ever met who had toured Europe as a penniless adolescent touting for kitchen work before been taken under the wing of a french Masterchef who taught him everything he knew, including the art of perfecting a red wine sauce using the demi-glace method, a method losing it’s popularity because of modern time constraints at the consequence of a really great sauce, to be fair I have no idea if the Devonshire use this superior method and if they don’t I want the recipe they use, but I suspect they do, outstanding.
Yes we had dessert, well you have to when there’s custard tart and rice pudding on the menu don’t you? I take the custard tart served with the perfect combination of nutmeg ice cream and my wife takes the equally as impressive rice pudding.
Wow what a meal, my favourite meal of the year so far, a meal that had just everything, a meal that would quite easily fit the bill if you (for some reason) were planning your last supper.
Add to that the perfect Yorkshire setting that the Devonshire Arms finds itself in and to be perfectly honest you’ll be hard pushed to find a better experience than the one we had, I salute you Devonshire, absolutely perfect!
The Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel & Spa | Bolton Abbey | Skipton | BD23 6AJ
Tel. 01756 710441