[Helmsley, North Yorkshire] The Feathers

Situated on the market square, the Feathers manages to combine hotel, pub and restaurant. There’s a warm welcome and service in the restaurant was good throughout.

A “textures of beetroot” salad to start for one of us. There’s baked beetroot and it also comes candied, pickled, as a puree and as crisps. There’s a bit of frisee and it’s all dressed with beetroot infused balsamic vinegar and oil. It works. The idea of a jackfruit spring roil with dipping sauce appealed but it proved not to be the best ever choice. It was all a bit underflavoured with no evidence of the distinctive flavour of hoisin in either the roll or sauce. And the spring rolls were enormous. One would have been a very generous starter. Two were overwhelming and completely unfinishable.

Scampi & chips is a 1970s classic. Here, they’ve updated it and battered big, juicy langoustines and served them with fries, a smear of pea puree, tartare sauce and salad.

Most folk have probably never heard of a Chicken Parmo. You probably need to have come from Teeside or, like me, be a food nerd with an interest in regional British dishes. The story goes that an American sailor, Nicos Harris, was wounded in World War 2 and was hospitalised in Middlesbrough. He stayed on after the war, opening a restaurant in the town where, in the 1950s, he invented the Parmo, based on the Italian American dish of Chicken Parmigiana. It’s now a popular takeaway dish in Middlesbrough. So, what you get is a chicken breast, batted out so it will fill half your plate. It’s breadcrumbed and fried, then topped with béchamel sauce and cheddar and then flashed under the grill for the cheese to melt. That comes with a handful of salad, the ubiquitous fat chips (never an improvement on chip sized chips) and garlic mayo for dunking. It’s delicious but it’s another very substantial plate of food which couldn’t be finished - which meant they did themselves out of us ordering a dessert.

If I may offer a word of caution. The restaurant is dog friendly. In the room where we ate, most tables had a dog with the party. Now, I take the view that a restaurant is no place for a dog, not least when one kept up a regular cycle of barking at the others. Frankly, it’s a damn nuisance that spoils an otherwise nice evening and I woudnt be in a rush to return here.


Dog friendly. FFS.