By Graham Chalmers
There’s been a lot of changes at The General Tarleton since I last visited but one thing remains exactly the same at this popular lunch and supper spot - the quality of the food and service.
It may have begun life as a traditional 18th century coaching inn but time clearly does not stand still at this country pub, restaurant and hotel located in the village of Ferrensby on Boroughbridge Road not far from Knaresborough.
In the sure hands of owners John Topham and his wife Claire, who took over The General Tarleton Inn in 2003, almost every nook and cranny has been attractively transformed.
In the past I’d only really noticed the open fires and stone floors but now, thanks to sympathetic and thorough tweaking from this dynamic couple, there is a wealth of fresh detail round every corner. The premises seem bigger, too, than I’d thought from previous visits over the years.
I’d no idea, for example, that the Tarleton has 13 newly-refurbished bedrooms rated five stars by the AA.
Or that there’s a terrace dining area and an intimate private dining room or that it caters for wedding parties with civil ceremonies.
After a quick look round this warm and friendly establishment, it’s time to enjoy the seasonal food offered by its restaurant from a wide-ranging menu. I enjoy one of its ‘signature’ dishes, Little Moneybags, a tasty treasure of different seafood in a crisp pastry bag with a lobster sauce.
Chef John Topham is well known for his Food with Yorkshire Roots menu which includes game from nearby shoots in the countryside round the village so I decide to try something I’ve never had before, rabbit done four ways - roast loin and best end, herb stuffed leg wrapped in bacon and mini rabbit pie.
It’s not my style, really, but, like The General Tarleton, itself, I trust it to be good.
And it is.
More information at www.generaltarleton.co.uk