Hi Living in Horsforth, one of the things I absolutely love most is just how close we are to all the diverse suburbs in Leeds.
Whether it’s the city centre, Headingley, Rodley, Apperley Bridge, and with a 10-mile radius, you’re looking at other gorgeous Yorkshire towns like Harrogate, Bingley and Ilkley.
What always feels like a special treat visiting is Ilkley. Small, quaint, and typically old English. In terms of bars and restaurants though, it genuinely surprises just how divine Ilkley is to eat out in. It may be down to not visiting regularly enough, but when we do go, I’m so impressed with what’s to offer. Newly refurbed, The Fox, situated in Menston near Ilkley, is a modern village pub and restaurant. It’s a venue, completely new on my radar, that is just a short drive away, around seven miles away from our home in Horsforth.
Knowing now what was in store for us, that 20-minute journey across (which can be somewhat quicker that heading into the city centre) is ten times over worth the visit.Although The Fox has had a recent makeover, it’s apparently kept locals well fed and watered for the past 200 years, being the oldest pub in the village.
If the food and drinks were as delightful back then as they are now, then that wouldn’t be a surprise. The food can be summarised in one word – magnificent.
But before I go into that, let me first set the scene… Getting to The Fox is easy enough, although simple for me to say as the passenger, the venues’ address is an easy follow, with no surprise orientation needed, or confused SAT NAV mishaps. And with being outside of the city, somewhat more remote, there’s plenty of parking available too.
The interior screams cosy, humble and Art Deco, oozing elegance and modernity. It’s a good balance between comforting and opulence – somewhere you can winddown at with a G&T, by the fireplace over a good post work conversation.The bar is filled with spirits and liqueurs, and for those seeking out craft beers and ciders, The Fox has you covered too.
We made beeline for two grand armchairs by the warmth, as we started the night with a selection of amuse-bouche from their menu.From pork belly, to lobster, koftas, and falafels, the palate was warming up ready for the main attraction.
There may be a day when one day that I decide to choose against scallops, but for now, they shall be chosen every time. The ‘scallops of the day’ made my day. They were soft, tasty and served with a fabulous combination of bacon, parsnip puree and pea shoots.Picking a classic, Nathan slurped away at his broccoli and stilton soup, with a dip here and there with the warm chunky bread. The soup had the perfect consistency, it was thick, but not too thick, and beautiful balance of flavours.
As the creature of habit that I am, I saw lamb and every other main vanished. So, a roasted rack of lamb it was for me, served with aubergine, roasted sweet peppers, potato dauphinoise, and a red wine Jus.The meat was tender, with hints of rosemary from the sprigs, was paired perfectly with the rich Jus, whilst the potatoes and vegetables become the ideal sauce-mopper-uppers.
My partner in crime opted for the pan-friend sea bass fillets, with parmentier (cubed and roasted) potatoes, pancetta, olives, spinach and white wine veloute.The fish was delicate yet meaty, as often I feel that sea bass can fall somewhat flat, but this portion size was stellar. The olives created a bitter contrast, cutting through the oils of the fish and bacon. The potatoes were crispy and well-seasoned, and also became mopper-uppers.
I’ve heard it quite a few times now, and I can somewhat agree… there is a different stomach for desserts.
The dessert menu was a well thought out and comprehensive offering. Each dessert sounded spectacular which made decision making tough. So be warned, you may find yourself needing to order more than one per person. And I must say, there’s no shame in that!We started with the most refreshing dessert of our options. A tropical mess of crushed meringue, mango, strawberries and passion fruit coulis, all folded in a coconut sauce.
What a fruity start to the course this was. Flavours popped left, right and centre which was all brought together by the flavours of the coconut. My personal dessert highlight.Next up, the extravagant, cinematic, attention-seeking chocolate and peanut bomb. This spectacle was the diva of all desserts. Filled with sticky toffee pudding and peanut butter cream, the chocolate glitter ball melted away through the serving of hot salted caramel sauce.
Oh, la la.Last but not least – and yes, we had three desserts – was the warm Belgian chocolate brownie. Squishy, gooey, and everything you’d ever need from a brownie dessert. Chocolatey smiles all round.
We finished the night with a coffee, which was a tight squeeze after our feast, and made our way home. And within 20 minutes, we strolled through the door, got ready for bed and nattered about our tasty adventure in Menston.
Back soon, that’s for sure, for these winter months are calling for a cosy fire, hearty food and a gastropub to escape the cold nights from.