BATD ON Mar 07, 2014 AT 10:52 am

by Debbie Djordjevic

The Craven Heifer, Addingham

Just 17 miles from Leeds is the small village of Addingham. Close to Ilkley and on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales it is beautifully positioned for a visit in this glorious part of the UK. And a must for those wanting a great place to stay with superb food is  The Craven Heifer. This family run inn has a selection of rooms individually themed, each decorated in a distinctive style to pay homage to famous Yorkshire folk. Don’t whatever you do, think Alton Towers when you see ‘themed’ rooms – these are beautifully decorated to a high standard and each theme has been thought through with great attention to detail and love. There’s the De Havilland, named after pilot Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth, with wings above the bed and is very ‘cockpit’ inspired. There’s also the The Heathcliff for romantics and our room for the night, The Perry Green, had a roll-top bath at the foot of the bed. This room was an homage to Yorkshire sculptor Henry Moore and the distinctive wallpaper was commissioned specially to recall a collaboration between the great man and designer Paul Smith.

This is a haven from the outdoors. Not that the outdoors in this part of the world isn’t extremely beautiful, but on a winter’s day it was with relief that we stepped through the front door into the welcoming bar with it’s flint floor, warmth coming from an open fire and friendly staff. This place is small but beautifully formed and much has gone into the decor so that it doesn’t lose the character of a Yorkshire Dales inn but has something that will appeal to a sophisticated visitor too.

Not only are the bedrooms beautifully and thoughtfully designed but they are also a superb place to be. Thick walls, gloriously feisty showers and extremely comfortable beds really do make you not want to leave.

The Chef and his team at The Craven Heifer endeavour to use only the very best local seasonal ingredients. There is an a la carte menu from which to choose and a few extra surprises like the mussel foam amuse bouche which was served before the starter and after the freshly made bread rolls, the white flavoured with Yorkshire blue cheese and mustard and the brown with Black Sheep beer all served with salted butter.

Once bread and amuse bouche were consumed we began our meal in earnest. My starter of beef and oyster pie (the oyster was an oyster cream) with smoked parsnip puree and wild mushrooms was a mouth-melting delight. And the other starter (which I pleaded for a morsel of it looked so good) was………

I then decided to try the ‘Liver and Onions’ because I am a fan. I didn’t know whether to be disappointed or delighted however when I found that the ‘Liver and Onions’ was actually a Goosnargh duck breast served with sauted foie gras, onion puree, confit shallots, potato terrine and pickled onions. This was a grand design of flavours and although it wasn’t the liver and onions I was expecting it the duck was soft and tender and  the foie gras complemented it perfectly with the pickled onions being an inspired addition that I am really not going to complain about.

My partner chose the butter roasted Waterford Farm aged sirloin of beef which was served alongside braised cheek, a garlic snail (not to his taste but at least he gave it a try), hazelnut pesto and sage roasted British beets. Again a quirky but nevertheless inspired combination of ingredients that worked extremely well together. The beef was slightly overdone for medium rare but the flavour made up for this all the same.

Dessert simply had to be the beetroot cake with walnuts, sweet crowdie goats curd, beetroot marshmallow and beetroot sherbet as I have never had beetroot in a cake before. Or flavoured sherbet for that matter! Soft and warm, the beetroot and walnut cake was a winter warmer that melted in the mouth. My partner chose apple pie and custard again given a make-over as it was an apple parfait with a praline crumble, cherry curd and vanilla ice-cream.

One glorious sleep later we were faced with breakfast.  Breakfast at The Craven Heifer is a very welcome and generous affair. I really couldn’t take advantage of the full spread (fresh fruit salad, cereals etc) but was told by my husband that the muesli (which is made on the premises) was the best he has ever eaten (and he has eaten rather a lot over the years). We both opted for the full English with black pudding, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and generous amounts of toast to butter. All in all a breakfast to set you up whatever the Yorkshire weather and send you on your way….

The Craven Heifer, Main Street, Addingham, West Yorkshire, LS29 0PL.

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