ALMOST six months to the day since the Yorkshire Dales suffered its worst flash floods in a generation, we return to the affected area to sample the fare at a pub which hitherto has slipped through your reviewer’s net.

Perhaps the omission of the Bolton Arms at Redmire from our weekly assessments has something to do with the fact that we have reviewed the Bolton Arms on at least two previous occasions.


Yes, that’s understandable because the Bolton Arms we've visited before are the two other pubs bearing that name hereabouts – in Leyburn and at Downholme.

There are no fewer than three Bolton Arms in an area of little more than 15 square miles – no doubt something to do with the Boltons being Big Noises round here. The estate is a major landowner.

The Redmire Bolton Arms had never cropped up on our radar in the past, but we recently heard about a change of ownership with a young family – the Bellerbys – purchasing it a year ago.

Given that the first year is the most precarious for any hospitality business, it’s good to see they have survived the impact of the floods – including the aftermath which saw visitor numbers drop – and everything else running a country pub in a Dales' village can throw at you.

We turned up for Sunday lunch on a very dull day in January – the sort of day when your first instinct is probably not to head for the hills.

Although rather on the quiet side, there were enough other folk about so as to not feel the large, traditional but comfortable, dining area was empty.

We had a cracking lunch. When Sylvia says she couldn’t do a better Sunday lunch at home you know it's right up there.

We shared two starters and couldn’t decide which was better.

The Northern Echo:

A broccoli and blue cheese – probably Stilton – soup was just the right blend of sharp savouriness and sweet vegetable richness, while the chicken liver pate wrapped in Parma ham and served with red onion jam, some toasted bloomer and a proper side salad – as opposed to a ‘garnish’ – had an extremely more-ish, dense, liverish, coarse texture.

Our Sunday roasts could not be faulted, either, and I was particularly impressed by the pork loin.

A few weeks ago I had pontificated on the difficulty of roasting this particular cut given its leanness after having chewed my way through a couple of dry-as-dust slabs at another establishment. You can understand restaurants erring on the safe side when cooking pork, with Mr Health and Safety and his colleague Mrs Environmental Health Officer looming over operations.

Often the only saving grace for overcooked pork loin is gallons of gravy, but this pork didn’t need that. Slowly cooked we reckoned, it was beautifully moist. It helped enormously that it had been sliced thinly. The crackling was, however, absolutely cracking. And had the gravy been required to resuscitate the meat it would have more than passed muster.

The Northern Echo:

Sylvia’s beef was as good a piece of topside as she’s ever had in her oven at home. Beautifully flavoured and tender, it was complemented by another excellent well-prepared gravy.

Handsome Yorkshire puddings came with both roasts. They were fluffy, crisp and slightly doughy in all the right places.

The duck fat roasties were tip top, soft inside and nicely brown and crisp outside. There was some mash as well and – a rare thing – roasted parsnips that weren’t incinerated or like soggy caramelised logs.

The vegetables were good too: broccoli, cabbage, swede and some really lovely cauliflower cheese – the cauliflower still with some bite in it and a smooth cheese sauce nicely browned under the grill.

Having really enjoyed what were substantial starters and mains we were always going to struggle to manage a third course. Although sorely tempted by desserts which included an apple and cinnamon crumble, an iced liquorice parfait and the promise of a local cheese board, we closed our account at that point.

Our waiter (actually the only waiter, I think) looked after us well. As we were settling up we proffered to him our compliments to that day’s chef. It turned out to be landlord Martin Bellerby, who was standing in for the regular chef. Well done him.

The bill, with a glass of house white wine and a soft drink, was just over £35 – two courses being £14.95, one course £10.95.

For vegetarians there was a roast meal option (everything apart from the meat) costing £7. That’s also the cost of the sensible ‘small portion’ option.

Food facts

The Bolton Arms, Redmire, Leyburn, DL8 4EA

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 10, Service 8, Surroundings 7, Value for money 8

Open for Sunday lunch from noon-4pm.

Tel: 01969 624336