High end cooking that looks as good as it tastes
A friend with fond memories stretching back a few decades of hearty hikes in the Washburn Valley also recalls cosy post-walk lunches in a certain pub.
“Do they still have outside loos?” she asked, on discovering that I planned to dine at the Timble Inn. “And can you still bring your own sandwiches?”
When I next see her I will tell her the answers: no, and no. This is still fabulous, unspoiled walking country, close to the Swinsty and Feston reservoirs, but if you choose to refuel at the Timble Inn, expect something several notches above what apparently used to be a rough and ready local pub.
There is still a lovely warm welcome with enough original wood and stone to give a cosy first impression, while nine luxury en-suite bedrooms make stopping over for a day or two an attractive option.
But with Harrogate, Ilkley, Otley and Skipton all within a picturesque 20-minute drive, it’s not quite as isolated as it may first appear, and word is clearly out that this is a destination restaurant worth driving to; on a recent bustling Thursday evening there were only to be a couple of empty tables.
And while new owner Mike Stainsby has only recently been at the helm, he inherited a key cornerstone to the Timble Inn’s recent popularity in head chef Georgina Welburn.
Hearty pies and fish and chips may be the order of the day at lunchtime, but in the evening there is no doubt The Timble Inn is a full-on restaurant, with a menu full of classic gastro-pub touches and posh plates, cutlery and wine list to match.
And as well as knowing her way around the kitchen, Georgina clearly believes in presenting a beautiful plate of food. Nothing is piled high here, this is high end cooking that looks as good as it tastes.
We began with scallops, gorgeously caramelised and served with apple, black pudding and truffle foam, and gin-infused salmon which came with pickled cucumber, wasabi and fennel. With delicious freshly baked bread rolls and soft, salty butter this was a more than promising start to the evening.
For mains, I stayed with seafood and a plate of monkfish served with potato croquettes, avocado and king prawns. With a sprinkling of edible flowers to complete a dazzling picture, in which generous slices of thick, snow white and juicy monkfish dominated, I was very impressed.
My companion’s main course was a trio of lamb (loin, belly, shoulder) with smoked violets, turnips and jus. Star of this formidable show was the slow-roasted shoulder, immaculately tender and spiked with fried capers, while the miniature whole turnips were bursting with flavour.
A pre-dessert palate cleanser of mango sorbet, biscuit crumbs, fruit jelly and micro mint showed those plating skills to their full glory once again and paved the way for a couple of showstopping desserts – warm stem ginger treacle tart with liquorice ice-cream and a classic sticky toffee pudding, simultaneously light and rich, with stout ice-cream and honeycomb.
I think it’s time for my friend, long departed from the region, to revisit those hiking trails of her youth. She’ll find The Timble Inn much changed and definitely thriving.
Timble Inn, North Lane, Timble, North Yorkshire, LS21 2NN
Tel: 01943 880530