Parsonage Country House Hotel
Main Street, Escrick, York, YO19 6LF
Set in six acres of beautiful gardens and woodland just minutes from York city centre, Parsonage Country House Hotel offers a fairytale setting for diners. Serious cooking is the order of the day here, with head chef Neal Birtwell sourcing the bulk of the produce from local suppliers renowned for quality. His 'Yorkshire Farmers' Menu' is a selection of contemporary recipes with an affectionate nod to the traditional. To illustrate just how technically adept the folks in the kitchen are, consider these two starters: grilled pavé of smoked haddock and black pudding on curried risotto topped with a poached egg; and terrine of wild pigeon, red wine and parsley with pickled walnut chutney and brandied raisin dressing. Mains of crispy-skinned salmon fillet on mustard mashed potatoes with fricassee of wild mushrooms reveals a perfect grasp of flavour and texture, while - remaining with piscine pleasures - a rarebit-crusted halibut fillet on ratatouille lasagne with Parmesan vinaigrette slips comfortably into the realms of stellar cookery. Further indulgence comes courtesy of vanilla-poached apricots with lime and pistachio mascarpone - all the bittersweet delicacy of a love affair - and a strudel of winter fruits with Christmas pudding ice cream - a sure-fire flavour eruption. Reservations? If so, with three excellent courses for only £25, I recommend that you make them well in advance.