[Malton, North Yorkshire] Talbot

You’d never be fooled into thinking this was other than the dining room in a hotel in a small British town. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. From one end of the room, there’s great views of the countryside. And you’re pretty much guaranteed that things will be done “properly”. And doing things properly means that, on Sundays, there’s a different menu from other days. A shortened menu but one including classic roasts.

But, before those roasts, there were a couple of starters. One, a light salad of cherry tomatoes, dressed with a basil and hazelnut pesto, a scattering of more hazelnuts and a grating of cheese. A more substantial plate across the table – ham hock terrine, dressed up with some crumbs of black pudding, a pea puree and a few peas.

We both went with one of the roasts on offer, as a main course. Sirloin cooked to medium. And there’s traditional accompaniments on the plate - Yorkshire pudding and roast spuds. And, served separately, carrots, parsnips, red cabbage sweetened and spiced (very North European), cauliflower cheese and a jug of gravy. It was all good and, knowing that you’d never go to so much effort at home, made it doubly enjoyable. It was a substantial plate of food but there was just room for dessert.

A version of Eton Mess – red berry compote, whipped cream and meringue. And a lemon cheesecake with a sorbet. Both work, of course.

We finished with good espresso and Maltesers. Good call with the Maltesers. No poncing about – just like the rest of dinner.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo