The plan was to drive to Goldsborough Hall for Sunday lunch in its magnificent dining room but it was hosting a wedding fair that day so that idea was quietly dropped.
It turned out this impressively restored hidden gem located just 2.7 miles from Knaresborough is a favourite spot for weddings even in December and January, a sign, perhaps, of changing attitudes and traditions.
If at first you don't succeed, try again...
The bell was tolling deep and loud from the neighbouring church of St Mary as I finally arrived at this 17th century stately home in the winter chill of a Saturday night, not that this signified anything ominous, far from it.
Set in 12 acres of beautifully-landscaped grounds and gardens, the place looks fit for a prince - or a princess.
In fact, it once was home to a real one in the 1920s when Princess Anne and her husband Viscount Lascelles lived at Goldsborough Hall, inviting friends to dinner; King George V and Queen Mary, for example.
Sitting with a pre-dinner drink amid the sumptuous red leather and oak panelling of the Jacobean libray, history is in the air.
As classy and traditional as the surroundings are, the menu in the dining room reflects modern tastes and up-to-the-minute dining habits.
Mostly Yorkshire sourced and featuring ingredients partly plucked from Goldsborough Hall’s own kitchen garden, the a la carte menu is of the moment without straying into small plate pretension.
GOLDSBOROUGH HALL: MENU HIGHLIGHTS
Wild Mushroom Risotto, Arlington White, Kadaif Nest
Spiced Monkfish Tail, Onion Bhaji, Mussel Mulligatawny
Charcoal Cooked Loin of Venison, Pumpkin Loaf & Game Tea
Almond Cream, Confit Pear & Pastry Shards
Burned Cream, Spiced Plum, Doughnuts
Rejecting the five course menu for the three course took some will power but the rewards were still substantial.
Blending classic and contemporary, it’s as if its award-winning AA rosette chef Adam Thur, a Hungarian talent who made his name at The Star Inn the City in York, had decided to replicate the elegance of the building itself in the menu.
The wild mushroom risotto, Arlington white, kadaif nest silky sweet.
The charcoal cooked loin of venison, pumpkin loaf a nd game tea melt in your mouth.
The almond cream, confit pear and pastry shards, pear sorbet heavenly.
It may be tucked away but it’s probably about time Goldsborough Hall was as well known for its dining room as for its 5* accomodation and grand weddings.
Despite the regal surroundings, the atmosphere is relaxed, the staff helpful and friendly and the food, well, that’s just about fit for royalty.