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Restaurant review: The Forresters Arms, Kilburn
A SPARKLING frost and a blue sky after days of grey were just what was needed to entice us out to slough off the mid-January lassitude.
So we wrapped up warm and headed off to Kilburn to stoke up with a pub lunch before blowing away the cobwebs with a walk up to the White Horse.
The Forresters is a traditional village pub at the heart of this moorland village; a sturdy looking place which has clearly been at the heart of the community for generations of locals.
It’s a role the current landlords are continuing, judging by the notices in the porch. There are letters of thanks for collections from charities, details of takeaway meals provided by the pub kitchen and a poster offering the pub as a drop-off point for parcels for villagers who are out when deliveries are made. Inside, there’s a cash machine and stamps for sale.
Inside there was a warm welcome and a cheery fire, complete with snoozing dog sprawled near the hearth. Polished oak furniture and fittings added to the sense of timehonoured tradition. Look again at the tables and chairs and sure enough, there were the beautiful carved mice, the signature of Robert Thompson, Kilburn’s own famous craftsman.
We bought drinks in the bar, including a pint of Nick Staffords Hambleton Ale for Al, then went through to a table in the restaurant, which was once the stable block for the original coaching house. Stout wooden posts remain where each stall once stood.
The menu advised us that all food is home cooked, using local ingredients and prepared to order, so if you don’t order a starter, be prepared for a 30-minute wait. Sitting in a warm pub with a drink in front of you enjoying the surrounds, why would anyone want to hurry?
The menu is reasurringly short, too. As it was Sunday there were a couple of roasts – pork and beef – with roasties and mash, seasonal veg and Yorkshire pudding. Specials on the board included scallops, pheasant with pink peppercorn sauce and chicken breast stuffed with feta, while other dishes on the menu included a Brie and pea risotto.
We all went for the comfort-food option: platefuls of Whitby scampi and chips for daughters (£10.50 each) and steak and ale pie with chips (£8.95) for us. A generous dish of carrots, swede, cabbage and brocolli was provided. The chips were delicious – piping hot, fluffy inside and crispy. The shortcrust pastry top sheltered a pile of meltingly tender steak in the kind of gravy only achieved by long slow cooking.
Nothing out of a packet comes close to this taste and consistency, rich but not at all cloying.
The scampi was light and golden and disappeared rapidly. Maddie and Clemmie found room for hot chocolate fudge cake with ice cream (£4.95) from the short but sweet pudding menu. I was too full but made a mental note of Baileys creme brulée for next time. Having said that, an interesting-looking cheeseboard caught my eye too. I was happy to finish with a very good coffee, mindful of the steep climb to the top of the hill which followed.
There are no gimmicks or frills here, thank goodness. Just good food, a relaxed atmosphere and genuine hospitality.
Sarah Hyde and family visited on Sunday, January 15.