What to do on a bleak, rainy day? What would perk up those senses and inject some vitality back into your veins? Why food, of course. More specifically, a delectable three course meal. And even more specifically, a half hour drive with the fam down the country roads of Yorkshire paying a visit to The Fox, Menston – newly refurbished and ready to welcome you with open arms, a log fire, and a cosy booth beside the panelled windows as you watch the world go by.
I was kindly invited down to The Fox, Menston to review their evening menu, last week. To immerse the revamp, indulge in as much food and drink as my feeble stomach can handle, and spend some quality time with my loved ones in a setting perfect for embracing the lot. Situated between Ilkley and Otley, it’s the ideal place for a traditional country pub with class – and a reachable distance from Leeds itself. Living in the city I don’t often get to experience the home from home dining feel so it was nice to settle into the rustic surroundings with some hearty grub. It brought me back to my childhood when we’d stop off in the countryside after holidaying at my grandparents’ caravan. The same lovely, warm, and friendly atmosphere!
I brought my mum, grandma, and brother along with me to enjoy the luxuries and we were all so totally spoilt. I haven’t heard anything but praise and a “we must go back again soon it was utterly divine”, since. The staff were so accommodating and serviceable; the whole range of culinary goodness was available for us, nothing was off limits, and so of course we made the most of it.
We all have different tastes which is an advantage when you’re reporting back. It provides a chance to experiment with variety and compare the best and the worst. Only this time, there was no worst. I don’t even think it’d be possible for the worst to exist, here!
My brother ordering Scallops of the Day was a close contender but that’s only because any kind of fish is a no-no in my books. He absolutely devoured them and almost licked the plate when he’d finished so that’s enough confirmation they were just as amazing as my starter. I opted for the Crispy Karaage Chicken to satisfy my taste-buds as a teaser of what was to come and it was finger-lickingly tasty. I love chicken – whether it’s fried, grilled, oven-baked, mixed within other dishes – it’s all I eat at home, but I am very fussy with the textures and the flavours. This appetiser was balanced flawlessly; just the right amount of succulent and crisp!
My mum is a mushroom fanatic so she predictably went for the Thyme-Roasted Portobello Mushrooms and I was actually a little envious. There was a ladle of creamy mushrooms in a bishop sauce served with rustic toast on the side and what a lush combination it was! My grandma also went simple but scrumptious with the Duck Liver & Port Parfait – she often has pâté as a light snack at home and this was a higher tier version. In her exact words – ‘it was absolutely beautiful’.
For the mains, I was the only one not to go for whole meats. I fancied some real juicy carbs so the Pancetta Carbonara stood out for me. It was 100% the correct decision, it satisfied my cheese admiring appetite and was mouthwateringly pulpy and creamy with smoky flavouring oozing from the bacon. My brother and his massive gusto for food in general were on the other side of carbs as he tucked into the homemade British Beef Burger (with added halloumi by his request). Layered up into a neat tower of rich, dirty tang, chunky, tender beef, and a fresh bun, he savoured the lot and there were many satisfied mumbling noises emerging from beside me. He said it was the best burger he’d had in ages which speaks volumes for the amount of food he consumes on a daily basis!
Staying with the meat, my mum and grandma had the same meal; 7oz Fillet Steak with chunky chips and a unique ale-glazed shallot tart with another Cropwell Bishop sweet, zesty topping. If you’ve read my past food reviews with my mum in tow from March and June last year, then you’ll know this was always going to be the obvious choice in her eyes. She’s steak mad and loves to trial the fillets and the sirloins when visiting different places to eat. She did, however, insist on stating this was a worthy winner as well as the soft, fluffy, dense potato to go with it. With one bite you could sense and distinguish just how much care had gone into both preparation and the cooking itself. It was firm and fresh, piping hot, melt in the mouth texture – and most importantly plated up meeting her exact call for nothing but well done, please.
Two courses would have been more than enough for our dietary contentment but thankfully we also got to experience the wonders of the desserts. Unfortunately the famous Melting Chocolate & Peanut Bomb was unavailable but there were plenty more options to fill my sweet tooth and sugary craving boots. My brother and I had the Home-Baked Triple Chocolate Cookie with a mix of Praline and Vanilla ice-cream – a divine combination which was demolished and ravished by us both, and my mum and grandma had the Sticky Toffee Pudding – the ideal winter finisher which was thoroughly enjoyed.
The food at The Fox, Menston was utterly impeccable and we couldn’t fault it. The exceptional quality really shone through, as did the presentation. Everything was hand cooked and made from scratch with your order in mind! The assorted menu catered for everybody and it was great value for money. However, it didn’t just stop there. Nope. The ample selection of cocktails were also on hand to complete your nightly feast.
The Fox, Menston actually held an event in October for bloggers to sample their new gin based cocktails in the midst of their makeover but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend. Now, gin is my jam. I’ve recently become the biggest basic boozer with pink gin but my only problem is I hate tonic and soda and I’ll only drink it with lemonade. This is why I didn’t go for the newest cocktails on the list but after recently discovering my kick for rhubarb gin, I regret not having a glass of their Cucumber Ribbons.
My mum and I were still pretty complacent with our martinis, though. Mum had two of the Pornstar Martini because she couldn’t get enough and her eyes physically lit up as soon as she took a sip. I had the Candy Floss Martini which is something I’d never seen before but something that worked a treat! It came with genuine candyfloss in a glass and a dainty side bottle of rum and ginger that you poured in to create – in their words – a magical marvel. It was then washed down by a cuppa and a coconut biscuit which was the ultimate ending to a fab night!
Whilst we relished in the atmosphere and the cuisine (and the dreamy toilets) I couldn’t help but notice the festive menus on display. My mind went straight to how amazing it would be to sit by the roaring fire with your family; revelling in the merriment, the speciality beverages, and classic delicacies, on Christmas Day. I know for sure there’d be no disappointed faces around the table. Now all I need to do is persuade my own family to dine there on the 25th in the forthcoming future!
If you’re Yorkshire based I couldn’t recommend The Fox, Menston enough. Huge thank you to the team for providing us with unlimited indulgences, and for hosting an evening to remember for all four of us!
*Food and drink were all kindly complimentary by The Fox, Menston in exchange for a review. All thoughts, opinions, and images are my own. See my full disclaimer for more information.