Situated in a pretty village in the heart of North Yorkshire, The Punch Bowl Inn dates back to the 16th century, and retains much of its old world charm and cosy character. Boasting five separate dining rooms, each with open fires, oak flooring, beams and red walls covered with photographs of vintage cars and drivers, this inn also has a traditional bar stocked with local beers, hand pulled ales and and a well considered wine list.
The menus here echoes that of the other establishments in the Provenance Inns stable; they all believe in sustainability and provenance and are careful to select local suppliers.
The starter menu boasts a whole host of appetising options, such as the duo of Scottish salmon – hot smoked and home cured gravlax, lemon and dill crème fraiche and cucumber salad, and the Yorkshire rabbit terrine with celeriac remoulade, cured apple and pickled wild mushrooms. I eventually decided on the Yorkshire Plate, which indeed has the ‘whole package,’ including mini portions of Yorkshire goat’s cheese mousse, mini chicken and black pudding cake (particularly delicious), Yorkshire rabbit terrine, Malham chorizo and griddled sourdough. Certainly well worth its£8.95. My dining partner chose the baked queen scallops with garlic and parsley butter, gruyere and mature cheddar crust. Two scallop shells filled to brimming with the queen scallops, which included the coral, succulent and delicious, all in a light garlic sauce.
To accompany our meal we both plumped for a light and crisp Gavi di Gavi 2011 Fratelli Levis, an Italian Pinot Grigio, superbly moreish.
Our main courses were equally delicious. I opted for confit Yorkshire duck leg with Malham chorizo, belly pork and white bean cassoulet, beautifully presented with a well-seasoned sauce. My wife decided on the roasted chicken supreme with fennel and potato rosti, wilted spring greens, tomato concasse and herb sauce. The rosti was also beautiful with its lovely buttery taste and the chicken superbly moist. We differed on the vegetables which were served al dente. Overall though, both were fantastic dishes.
Of the varied choices of puddings and cheeses we selected toasted almond panna cotta and vanilla pod crème brûlée. The waiter soon offered me a glass of Late Harvest Semillon 2010 to accompany my panna cotta, which was served with pieces of candied lemon and apricot. It was a perfect match whilst my wife proclaimed it was the best crème brulee she had ever eaten and as it is one of her favourite desserts, she has certainly had a few.
All in all it was a most memorable evening: Great food, great atmosphere, and a wonderful setting means a return visit, and soon, is likely.
The Punch Bowl Inn, 01423 322519 www.thepunchbowlmartoncumgrafton.com