As food enthusiasts who are also very partial to a drink here and there, there’s nothing quite like a tasting menu and wine flight to appease the taste buds and senses.
From exquisitely prepared food that appeals to the stomach and eye, perfectly paired complementing drinks, a fine service from a passionate and knowledge party, in a dining environment where you will feel swept off your feet with all the luxuries coming together as one.
Mark my words, The General Tarleton has it, and more.
The ‘more’ at General Tarleton is the humble and human, and this is the part, for me personally, that adds the extra to any experience. Of course, the food, the wine, they are the spectacle at fine dining, yet it still will always be the people that make you feel comfortable and welcome. Professional, passionate and proud underpinned the evening. Everyone was extremely attentive from host to waiting staff to sommelier.
Serving our food was Matilda, who was absolutely brilliant. With each dish, she explained what was being served in between a little chat and giggle. And Donald, who was everything you’d ever want from a sommelier was exquisite – a fountain of knowledge, who with great pride discussed the wine pairing choices. The excitement was infectious.
At a very reasonable £55pp, Ralph’s Tasting Menu will take you from appetiser to dessert with flavour combinations that will impress and inspire. Should you wish to enjoy their wine flight too, which I do recommend, the full experience comes to £110pp.
Light and refreshing, the appetisers set the tone for what we were able to expect with the rest of the menu. Classic dishes with an interesting twist and beautiful presentation, focusing on familiar flavours ready to be elevated in their own way. The wine was equally light and refreshing and worked well with each three components.
Chicken liver pate is still a newfound dish for me. It has previously been a no-go option for me and thanks to the beauty of tasting menus, I’ve been somewhat ‘forced’ to try. Much to the quality and complementing ingredients, this course was wildly impressing. Creamy and fluffy, the pate perfectly matched with the topped gingerbread. A well-suited wine was of course chosen with sweet but acidic notes to it that cut through and brought together all the flavours on the plate.
Trout is another food that I’ve recently really come to love and having rarely ever eaten it. The trout and the watermelon were a beautiful combination, between the soft fleshy fish and the juicy and crisp fruit. This is something I’ll definitely try to recreate for a dinner party. A very dry rose was served with the fish course, as some may think controversial, but the pairing worked extremely well.
Anytime I see a duo of beef on a tasting menu, my mouth instantly waters. These two beef variations absolutely hit the spot, from a soft and tender sirloin to a melt in the mouth beef cheek. Served with celeriac and cabbage, it was interesting to hear that Donald had in fact chosen the wine based on these ingredients. It would become apparent that the celeriac could be tasted in the wine. One should trust their sommelier – he was correct.
The cheese course was a fun dish, and as ambassadors of local produce, it was the Tunworth cheese that was the main focus, the British version of Camembert. Laid upon a crisp toast, the cheese with fig was delicious and I could have happily had the full wheel, including the port that was served with it too.
Pure exquisite. As someone who doesn’t drink much champagne, I was intrigued by this dish and interested to see how if the flavours would come through in the jelly. I was more than impressed by the dish, and it was another strong highlight on the menu. The jelly was tart and cleansing, with the lemon cream bringing sweetness, what felt almost like a very elegant trifle. Of course, the accompanying glass of champagne did not go a miss, and was a wonderful drink.
Last but not least, our final dessert. This ensemble was a wonder in itself, from the contrasting textures and flavours. The dark chocolate mousse, made from 64% cocoa was a delight with the yoghurt and brought to life with the tang from the dark berries. The richness from the black muscat was a wonderful tipple to drink alongside our final meal.
What an evening we had. From start to finish, we were looked after, perfectly dined and served with a wonderful insight into local produce and exceptional wines, a true palate pleaser across the full tasting menu. If you’re local to Yorkshire and haven’t made acquaintance with The General Tarleton, treat yourself for a very fairly priced tasting menu, and if you’re outside of Yorkshire, get Knaresborough added to your ‘To Dine’ list. You’ll be in for an absolute treat, I promise. We’ve already got our next visit booked in!