RECENTLY under new management, the Holly Hilly Inn, in Sleegill, Richmond, has benefitted from a simple but effective make-over and an enthusiasm to bring in a new chef to provide high quality but inexpensive meals.

Taken on in November by businessmen Marco Di Sora and Paul Mandeir, who also run Italian restaurant Oro in Durham, Mr Di Sora said he has used a quiet start to the year to his advantage by getting quality up to scratch.

Day to day running of the pub is by manager Kamran Ozkan, who trained at Oro, and has now been given charge of making sure regulars and visitors get a warm welcome.

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Mr Di Sora said: “We have given the whole pub and restaurant a soft refurbishment, painted and put in new curtains and carpets to freshen it up.

“We also have four guest bedrooms that we have smartened up and are ready now.

“With food, we wanted to have a modern British menu with some continental options – so we have pub classics such as burgers, fish and chips, sausage and mash, but also some good pasta dishes.”

The inn also serves Sunday lunches at £6.95, has a daytime menu and has a special meal and drink offer at the same price every weekday, and £2 selected drinks on Monday evenings.

He added: “We wanted to make sure Holly Hill Inn is a real locals’ pub. That means keeping the prices down but the quality high, and of course focusing on good hospitality.

“The pub had two established darts teams when we took it over which is fantastic – we want to make sure the pub can be part of the community, but also welcome visitors.”

The pub’s large adjoining restaurant has an impressive fire place and wide beams, and Mr Di Sora said he hopes to create a cosy, bistro feel – but also has larger tables he hopes to use for larger functions and weddings.

Holly Hill Inn serves two Black Sheep ales, the original and Golden Sheep, and has a wine list featuring Italian and New World wines, and serves white, red and rose by the glass.

He said: “We have some good quality wines but keep the process low, with wine at £3.50 a glass.”

Mr Ozkan said he has enjoyed the challenge of taking on Holly Hill Inn.

He said: “Besides some private functions, it has been relatively quiet, as we have only just started with the new menu offerings.

“The locals however have been very supportive.”

Holly Hill Inn, Sleegill, Richmiond, DL10 4RJ. 01748-822192.