Nestled away in the picturesque setting of Giggleswick, the newly-refurbished Hart’s Head Inn provided the perfect countryside retreat for city boy Jordan Fletcher to recharge his batteries. We sent him along to sample the brand-new menu, which is packed with hearty traditional treats, along with a few modern twists.
Given that my usual Saturday routine rarely sees me leaving the confines of central Leeds, an 80-minute car journey deep into the Dales would seem like a push. However, having glanced over the -new Hart’s Head Inn menu and in desperate need of some fresh country air, I was sold.
Now under new management, the hotel and restaurant has undergone an extraordinary transformation. Gone is the tired looking décor, instead replaced with a chic-looking restaurant complete with chandelier, olive green walls and velvety blue chairs. It looks modern, but not overly so and still retains a rustic charm befitting of its countryside setting.
But, this new look would mean nothing if the food offering fell flat, and hiring Matt Adamson has ensured it does quite the opposite. Having previously worked his magic at The Plough in Lupton, the talented young chef was tasked with creating a menu that would stand out from your run-of-the-mill gastro pub.
To start, I picked out the Chicken and Smoked Ham Terrine, which came with sourdough toast, tarragon mayo and a honey and mustard dressing. This was absolutely delicious, with the terrine perfectly complemented by the tarragon mayo and dressing. I heartily recommend this dish to anyone with a large appetite, as the portion size was huge. Across the table, the Smoked Salmon with Queenie Scallops was equally well-received. I’m a bit hit and miss when it comes to salmon, but it was really well done, and the scallops were incredible.
Drinks wise, the Hart’s Head have also wisely handpicked a good selection of tipples, from the draught ales to the wines. I had never tried Warsteiner before, but this German lager turned out to be the perfect tonic after a drive through the dales.
For mains, we took a bottle of Finca Nina Argentinian Malbec, which the ever trusty Vivino app had assured me was up to scratch. Turned out it was in fact the perfect partner for the mains we were about to enjoy. The Short Beef Rib did not disappoint, served pink and accompanied with crispy sweet potato fries, homemade slaw and homemade wild garlic and BBQ sauce.
The locally-sourced beef was incredibly tender, and the modern twist with the tasty US-inspired sides and sauces really worked with this classic gastro pub staple. My mate went for the more traditional Rack of Lamb, which was blessed with herb crushed potatoes, silverskin onions, baby carrots, broad beans and red win jus.
The lamb was to-die-for, and well worth the pang of guilt you get when you see them skipping freely through the rolling green hills. Despite being rather stuffed, time was on our side today and so after half an hour of enjoying our drinks, we took up the offer of dessert.
Once again, the portion sizes were incredibly generous but it was another case of quality in quantity, as these were some of the most Instagram-worthy desserts I’ve ever seen. The Chilled Chocolate Fondant was an absolute dream, and came with salted caramel sauce, orange sorbet and homemade toffee brittle. On the recommendation of our lovely waitress, we also tried the Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was one of the best examples I’ve tried of this much-loved pudding with its silky butterscotch sauce and rich clotted cream.
Final verdict – The Hart’s Head Inn has come along leaps and bounds since its recent makeover, and is well worth the taking a trip into the Dales for. The menu perfectly pays homage to the traditional English country pub, while also throwing the best of modern food trends into the mix without overdoing it. Matt Adamson and the rest of the team have cooked up a recipe for success which should win this joint a strong foodie following.
Written by Jordan Fletcher
An independently owned and managed inn, with a Four Star (Inn) rating from the English Tourism Board, offering comfortable accommodation, delicious homemade food and a great range of drinks in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Seven ensuite bedrooms ideal for using as a base to explore the Yorkshire Dales and beyond with prices starting at £55 per night.
Contact the Harts Head Hotel:
Tel: +441729 822086
Visit: Belle Hill, Giggleswick, Settle, BD24 0BA, United Kingdom
Go to: www.hartsheadhotel.co.uk for more information and to make a reservation.