Brothers In Arms

Yikes, another week disappears. This won't do and apologies to the, er, three relatives hanging on my every written word. Sort of.

The Great BMW Trip finished in glorious fashion. After the night at WEST - and a night's kip in the slightly odd, needs-a-kick-up-t
he-backside Mar Hall in Glasgow - we started heading south for the final destination: The Yorkshire Dales and a spa hotel called The Feversham Arms in Helmsley.

Owned - and injecte
d with infectious passion - by Simon Rhatigan, the Feversham was probably the best all round experience of the trip. While others excelled at comfort and others excelled in the kitchen, the Feversham has found a fantastic balance on both. It also combines the traditions of this pretty Yorkshire town and its lovely architecture while bringing things bang up to date with the spa, the courtyard hotel, the light airy feel of the dining room and, in particular, the beautifully appointed rooms and, for the most part, suites.

It is then a very good produc
t and you can sense the pride in the behaviour of the passionate, friendly staff. Yorkshire hospitality is one thing. Having every member of staff greet you by your name and smiling so genuinely suggests Rhatigan's got something very right. After an all too brief 24 hours there, it's clear he has.

A gorgeous room overlooking the
pool. One of the best, just-the-right-side-of-painful massages I've ever had. A bar with both an open fire and Timothy Taylor's on draught. A wine list that covers all price points and regions in creative fashion. A number of menus (tasting, a la carte and set price) that mean you can eat for a very reasonable sum... or, indeed, meander across all the options without any fuss. And food that combines Yorkshire heartiness with high end culinary flourishes.

A starter of scallops - pan fried, with a Champagne and carrot beurre blanc - met with plate-hogging approval from Mrs L, the merest sliver of perfectly cooked flesh making it across the table. Never mind, I was too busy burying my face in the simple joys of "ham, egg and chips": ham hock terrine, a still soft quail's egg and crispy potato straws in a combination that I intend to pass off as my own next time we have an open house.

These were swiftly followed by a lovely dish of Lemon sole, with langoustine, more of those meaty scallops and a chervil hollandaise that was delicious but not, as I've just discovered, terribly pretty when seen through the lens. The same can't be said for the roast leg of Yorkshire lamb though. Have you ever seen a more photogenic piece of protein?

Perfectly kept cheeses followed, the wine flowed and we reeled off to bed very happy campers. Even the knowledge that the real world was going to be beating on our door in just a few hours couldn't wipe the satisfied smiles from our round, ruddy faces. And so, with bellies full of very good scrambled egg

and waffles with bacon

- not to mention the neat "build your own" muesli kit on the buffet table - we got back in the car for the final drive and vowed to return. Feversham Arms, we salute you.


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