Where to go for a quick supper on a Tuesday night in June? Many places now close both Monday and Tuesday, as well as Sunday evenings. Gone are the days of the much celebrated/maligned* twenty-four hour opening hours of pubs announced a few years ago. Still, many village pubs are reopening with new, enthusiastic, often young teams producing excellent food – how the times have changed. We considered a few that we haven’t been to, or have only been once, or that used to be good in the past [but no longer], before settling on the Carpenters Arms at Felixkirk. We’ve been a few times over the years, and a few more since the new management gave it the once over.
The villages along the western escarpment of the North Yorks Moors are simply stunning. No other word for it. Although you’d struggle to find anything that wasn’t immaculate [no “projects” to be found here] there’s still a quaint mixture of old landed gentry with very big estates and quite a bit of money, and their tenanted cottages for estate workers. Amongst all this you find the rest – beautiful houses, lovely views across to the Dales in the distance and good walks all around. Mind you there’s no shop. Amongst all those villages not one shop or village post office so the car’s essential even for a pint of milk. Worth it though. To be fair, there are a couple of minor snags…
Firstly, the houses which rise up the western edge for the better views face directly west, and there’s not much land between you and the west coast so the prevailing westerly wind finds its way through all the gaps around those lovely Yorkshire sliding windows.
Secondly, the North Yorks Moors are a favourite playground for RAF jets, who zoom over the rooftops at very low altitude. Perhaps less of a problem now the Tornado squadrons have gone from RAF Leeming, but still fun – noisy fun from the Hawks and Eurofighters. They rush along the flat bit between the Dales and the Moors, then climb steeply when the hit [or rather not hit] the edge of the escarpment. Dramatic.
Towards the southern end of this escarpment, south of the Siltons, Kepwick, Cowesby, Kirby Knowle, and Upsall, lies Felixkirk and the Carpenters Arms. Part of the ever expanding Provenance Inns group, this revitalised village pub is clearly very successful – full car park on a [warm and sunny] Tuesday evening. Simple menu – nothing too scary – and, as with their other pubs, featuring a hot charcoal oven – “The Bertha” – to sear and flavour the food, cooking at high temperature of around 400°C. Hearty Yorkshire portions but with a couple of surprises – we had a special, the Mount St John salad – radish, asparagus, beetroot pureé, pomegranate and heirloom tomatoes [no, we don’t know either]. Very nice. The Fish’n’chips was excellent, apart from the chips. Could perhaps take a lesson here from The Buck Inn at Maunby on the chip front.
All in all a worthy member of the Provenance Inn’s posse. And absolutely excellent Rudgate seasonal brew No 18, Elderflower Ale. 4.2%. Simply stunning – the perfect summer session drink. Their August offering, Kafir Lime Wheat Beer sounds worth a try too when it arrives – and only 3.8%.
Pub and restaurant The Carpenters Arms