Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Travel | Posted on 06-11-2014
Tags: food, foodie, Little Dude, ox pasture, travel
Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel – a former farmhouse and barns all of which have been converted – which has, so I’m told, the reputation of being the best hotel in Yorkshire. After receiving the invitation to head north and review for them I checked out the website, looked at photos and even spent a little time reading up on it on travel review websites. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it looked stunning and sounded amazing – but could it really live up to its reputation? Would it be worth the 600 mile round trip? Here’s what we thought.
Things certainly looked optimistic when we arrived. Hard to believe this photo was taken on the first weekend of November isn’t it? Admittedly it wasn’t hot by any means, but unseasonably warm certainly. A short walk up this path led us from the spacious car park to the hotel reception where we checked in. Now the hotel was expecting me to arrive with my husband so we’d actually been booked into the Honeymoon Suite. We’d arranged to have Afternoon Tea upon arrival so it was agreed that we’d eat that in there – we could of course have eaten in the hotel lounge, the bar or on the terrace, but we wanted to give Little Dude the chance to roll around after his journey – whilst they set us up with a twin suite. We were escorted to the suite and enjoyed a comfortable sit down whilst we waited a short time for our freshly made Afternoon Tea to arrive.
Okay so its a bit of a shame that the table in the Honeymoon Suite was in front of a radiator, but I’m sure you can appreciate how impressive this Afternoon Tea looked. Two large fruit scones, four small jars of jam, some clotted cream, finger sandwiches – egg mayonnaise, roast beef and horseradish, and cream cheese and cucumber – which were crust free, a selection of miniature cakes – profiteroles, bite sized lemon meringue pies, tiny cheesecakes, chocolate brownie squares and a mint chocolate slice, as well we a large pot of tea. Now we’d seen photos of these Afternoon Teas before we’d set off so we’d eaten nothing since breakfast, and it was most definitely worth the wait. It goes without saying that the cakes were without doubt the highlight – though we were certainly ready for a cup of tea or two after our journey – but the sandwiches were delicious too. At £15 per person I think this is very well priced for the quality and quantity of food that you receive. We’d arrived a little later in the day than we had hoped – I blame the M1 for most of our trouble – so we were a little concerned that if we ate it all we’d be full for the day. This didn’t stop us from tucking in with gusto however and we thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.
After eating our Afternoon Tea, changing Little Dude’s nappy and getting him some milk – though I’m pretty sure he wanted a cake – we were helped to our actual room for the evening. A spacious beautiful suite overlooking a pretty courtyard with a rather nice view of the gardens and Yorkshire countryside beyond.
The suite was made up of three well sized rooms. A living area with two large chest of drawers, a large wardrobe, comfortable sofa, coffee table, TV set, and drinks facilities. There was a bedroom which had been set up with two single beds, a desk, a chest of drawers, another TV and a travel cot they’d set up for Little Dude’s use. Finally there was a bathroom which boasted a huge bath, two basins – all three coming with waterfall taps, a walk-in shower and a toilet. Now whilst the bedroom and living area were well equipped and comfortable, the bathroom was, for me, the highlight.
The entire room was tiled floor and walls, with the suite itself a bright white with silver taps. Complimentary toiletries were supplied along with cotton buds, cotton wool and tissues. I thought this was a nice touch and something more than you may expect from hotel bathrooms. There were plenty of towels on offer and room for you to unpack your own bits and pieces. Sadly I didn’t have a bath – I’d probably never have gotten out if I had – but Nana did use the shower. Whilst she loved the large shower head the walk-in nature of it did result in a bit of a death trap. The “cubicle” had two walls and a glass partition, the fourth side was open to the rest of the bathroom. Whilst the floor in there did of course slope towards the plug Nana did manage to distribute water throughout most of the room. Either a steeper slope or a less enthusiastic shower head needed here I think.
Our original plan was to take dinner in the Courtyard Restaurant. Now as all parents know plans tend to need a bit of adjustment when small children are involved, and after spending the best part of the day in the car getting little sleep, Little Dude wasn’t in the best of moods. He wanted to roll around, have cuddles with Mummy and generally chill out – and who can blame in. We decided it would be best for him and the sanity of the other guests for us to eat in our room so we called reception and they brought over some menus. There was a great selection of meals on offer and it took a fair bit of deliberation before we settled on our dinner for the night. I started with Duck Liver Parfait with Melba Toast and Cranberry Compote, followed by the Beef dish which consisted of a Mini Beef Fillet, a Tender Brisket, Creamy Mash Potato, Mushroom Duxelle, Baby Turnips and Carrots. For dessert I chose the Lemon dish which included Cheesecake, Yogurt, Mousse and Ice Cream.
It just looks incredible doesn’t it? Everything was so beautifully presented, so perfectly cooked, and SO delicious. Despite having eaten a substantial Afternoon Tea just a few hours before every last morsel from my dinner was eaten and thoroughly enjoyed. There was just enough and once I’d eaten I felt comfortably full. I hate getting a mountain of food in restaurants which is heavy and overly filling so you end up leaving so much of it and its such a waste. Not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, the servings were not small, it was just a well balanced meal and everything complimented everything else.
Nana went for three different courses. She began with Marinated Herring fillet, served with Pickled Cucumber and Tartar Dressing. To follow she enjoyed a Pork dish which was made up of Slow Cooked Belly, Tender Loin Stuffed with Apricot and Sage, Savoy Cabbage, Sautéed Potato, Homemade Black Pudding and Red Onion Marmalade. She finished with a Caribbean cocktail dessert which included Coconut Panacotta, Mango Rice Pudding, Passion Fruit Sorbet, and Pina Colada.
Am I making you hungry yet?
Our meal was delivered efficiently and courteously to our room, the waiter tiptoeing in every time in case Little Dude was sleeping and for fear of waking him. We also had a bottle of wine brought over in an ice bucket, which was also lovely. You got the impression that nothing was too much trouble yet that they were acting as they would with any guest, not just us because they knew we were there to review. A truly professional service.
An excellent nights sleep followed – yes, even with a six month old who slept through till 6.30 – and after feeding him his milk and getting dressed we ventured over to the dining room for our breakfast. A high chair had been set up by our table ready for Little Dude who settled in quickly and tucked into his porridge whilst we waited for our cooked breakfast to arrive. There was the option of a Continental Breakfast with pastries, yogurts and fruit, but we chose to set ourselves up for the day. Large pots of tea were also supplied along with a rack of toast with a selection of jams. We went for the full Yorkshire breakfast, and as you can imagine we weren’t disappointed.
Perfectly cooked bacon, delicious local sausages, mushrooms, black pudding, cooked tomato and the nicest scrambled egg I’ve ever eaten. In fact my breakfast looked so tasty that Little Dude decided it was rude of me not to share. Despite having eaten a bowl of porridge and half a fruit pouch, he also packed away half my scrambled egg. Hopefully I’ll manage to replicate it at home for him too.
I don’t have cooked breakfasts very often so this was something of a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed it all, and the beautiful setting of the restaurant overlooking another gloriously designed courtyard made for the perfect start to our morning.
Now sadly for us it was soon time for us to make our way home. Another epic journey down the M1 awaited, but not before a brief walk through the gorgeous gardens of the hotel. They were truly breathtaking and we commented time and time again how perfect they would be for wedding photos, with so many lovely spots. This was one of my personal favourites, the ideal place for the happy couple to take a breather during a hectic day. This cute pagoda is located in a quiet corner of the front garden. It would also be a lovely spot for a relaxing drink.
The car soon beckoned and we reluctantly set off. We’d not spent very long at the hotel at all, but it had certainly made an impression. The staff were friendly and intent on ensuring everything was perfect for everyone, without being overbearing or in your face. The setting is breathtaking, and its hard to believe you are just a few minutes from the sea. The suite was perfect, ideal for couples enjoying a romantic break, but also just right for families with small children. The hotel was incredible, nothing was too much trouble, and whilst it is without doubt a luxury hotel you feel nothing but welcomed.
Without question I would heartily recommend this hotel to anyone. Was it worth the 600 mile round trip and the chaos of the M1? Without a doubt. You can find full details of the hotel, including rates and events on their website.