Grantley Hall near Ripon has seen some serious investment across its various restaurants in recent years and has been attracting a significant amount of attention as a result, not least because of Shaun Rankin’s success in securing his first Michelin Star. One of the newest additions to the portfolio has been The Orchard, which aims to provide a stylish covered alfresco dining space and spectacular views of the gardens. We were keen to find out if the culinary offering matched the wonderfully laid-back setting.
Chargrilled Flat Breads, Hummus, Lemon Oil (£5.50)
The addition of zingy lemon oil to the creamy hummus really helped elevate this dish above the norm and the crispy flatbreads soon disappeared. The dish gave us some insight into the level of quality we were to expect from our evening, while the fact that our waiter helpfully suggested tips for making lemon oil at home (information that was gratefully received!) gave an indication of the attentiveness of the service that was to come.
Roast Spiced Sea Bream, Courgette & Fennel Slaw, Tabbouleh, Charred Lemon (£29)
Encrusted with nutty deliciousness that provided a satisfying crunch, while also ensuring that the fish within didn’t dry out, this fantastically light dish was perfect for the sunny outside location thanks to the riot of Mediterranean flavours provided by the aniseed tones of the slaw and the freshly flagrant tabbouleh.
Waterford Farm Sirloin Steak (8oz), Fries, Peppercorn Sauce & Dressed Leaf (£32)
Sourced from a farm literally just a few miles down the road, which certainly gives The Orchard top marks for reducing food miles, the 8oz steak (rare) was flavoursome, tender and exactly as ordered. Crispy thin fries, a peppery salad and creamy peppercorn sauce provided all the individual elements required for an excellent plate of food that would be hard to beat.
Jonty’s Ducks Pekin Red (£47)
While our streak may have been sourced locally, the wine we selected to accompany it came from a bit further away. Produced in South Africa from Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Shiraz/Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties, there’s plenty going on in the flavour stakes without being overly complex and fussy. Not only is this wine elegantly rich, but it is also organic, while a gang of ducks at the vineyard helps to dispose of any snails that might have greedy designs on the vines (hence the name).
Selection of Ice Cream & Sorbets – 3 Scoops (£9.50)
With ice cream options including Madagascan Vanilla, Pistachio and Popcorn, coupled with the sorbet offerings of Coconut, Mango & Passionfruit and Blackcurrent, the biggest headache of the evening was deciding which combination of three flavours to opt for. Thankfully we ended up more than happy with the creamy vanilla ice cream that provided an ideal base for the punchy fruitiness of the blackcurrent and mango and passionfruit sorbets.
Chocolate Tart, Milk Ice Cream, Chocolate Dentelle (£12)
The crispy nutty dentelle and the dense chocolate tart made this an absolute dream for any lover of all things cocoa. Creamy milk ice cream provided a nicely measured element of lightness and provided a nice degree of balance.
Consistently excellent food from start to finish in a wonderful setting made this a most enjoyable way to spend an evening. It would be incredibly churlish to pick any fault at all, particularly as the service was equally top rate (the waiter’s tip for making lemon oil being just one highlight!). Given the venue has been unable to open for so long, the speed in which the staff have got back to full speed is especially impressive. And while the stunning alresco area was as beautiful as it was comfortable, the real star of the show was the food, where the combination of fresh locally sourced ingredients and high presentation values resulted in impeccable dishes. What more could you want?
Address: Grantley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 3ET
To book a table telephone 01765 620070 or email [email protected].