Black Swan, Oldstead, North Yorkshire

Well we guess the Black Swan holds a number of records – Trip Advisor ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ and now No 4 in the same league table. Remarkable. BTW have you seen the current M&S slogan – ‘Remarksable’. Utterly terrible, we call it. Anyway, back to the point. The Black Swan also holds the record for the most number of entries in this blog – June 2014 and November 2016. Here goes the third…

This strange year has seen many, many events cancelled – the Lake Wake Walk, Deershed 2020, Cycling to Paris, Dinner at Millgate, and a whisky tour of Islay. We did make it to Inver and, just last night, we headed over the Black Swan [the Yorke Arms being no more] with friends for dinner, bed and breakfast.

Yes, things have changed. Masks everywhere, for example, and hand sanitiser. But the restaurant didn’t seem as though they’d lost any covers – it was always a bit spacious in the ‘Scandi meets 1960s Cranks’ feel of the place. Food of course seriously impressive as always – even for those folk who wouldn’t ordinarily choose a tasting menu. It has 3 puddings, so it passes our test. Some great cocktails to start off – 

Plum Sangria Damson Brandy, Woodruff, Smoked Sloe (Intense, Deep, Spicy), and

Pea Royale English Sparking Wine, Pea, Elderflower (Fizzy, Fruity, Summery), and

Lemon Verbena ‘Pale Ale’ Pale Ale brewed with citrus hops and fresh Lemon Verbena from The Black Swan garden. Brewed by Bad Co. at Dishforth. (4%)

This time we hung around at breakfast [last to leave] and took a look at their 2 acre [0.81ha] kitchen garden. Compared to the garden at Le Manor and at the Yorke Arms, this is very much rural North Yorkshire. No-one has clipped the hedges or the lawn edges to within an inch of their lives, but you can see the love and care that goes into producing their food – and drinks – using as much local, and home grown produce as possible. Not many food miles here. One large polytunnel was filled with Lemon Verbena, used in cooking and in their splendid beer collaboration with Bad Co of Dishforth. Rhubarb still just about surviving, lots of strawberries still waiting to be picked, and other stuff used in the cooking. Woodruff nestling below the hedge near the gate – ordinarily you’d think it a weed.

We found time for a stroll up the lane to Scotch Corner, a small chapel built by John Bunting. Most of the sculpture has gone and the chapel ordinarily locked – that’s current society for you – but the story is interesting, and the view from chapel worth the hike.

So all is well here – rooms booked for the next couple of months, dinner tables booked through until January, and their food box business thriving off site at Melmerby. Try one.

Restaurant with 9 rooms the Black Swan Oldstead – again…

John Bunting’s chapel…at Scotch Corner

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