Thin end of the veg
THE INN CROWD: The Fairfax won the award for Yorkshire’s best Sunday lunch but needs to do better when busy, writes
O be declared the Best Sunday Lunch in Yorkshire is some accolade. We know a thing or three about a Sunday roast in this county and to be called the best is praise indeed. The proud recipient of the award is the Fairfax Inn at Gilling, North Yorkshire. Given the only table I could manage to secure for a Sunday lunch was the last serving at 1.30pm, it seems the word is already out there.
I can only imagine that Gilling is quite the sleepy country idyll when not packed with cars vying for the elusive parking places close to the pub. On a sunny afternoon, every table outside the pub was full and inside just the same. There was no greeting from the staff as they were all heads down and busy. The atmosphere was frenetic to say the least, and though only to be expected, I have seen places busier yet much calmer.
We had arrived a little ahead of schedule but worryingly, by the time they wanted us seated the guests joining us had still not arrived. There was no flexibility from the gentleman checking off names at the bar; if they didn’t arrive by 2pm the kitchen would be closed he told us rather firmly. They did arrive with 15 minutes to spare by which time, unfortunately, we had already started eating.
Given the promise of an awardwinning lunch our order was beef, pork and chicken roasts, but fish and chips, salmon and a vegetable lasagne are also available. And, for those with the appetite and the time, there is also a choice of 10 traditional starters.
With the meats, there was little complaint. The slices of strip loin beef were thick and cooked pink(ish). There was more gristle than acceptable, but we grudgingly agreed this was perhaps once again due to the lateness of our lunch.
The waitress seemed a little flustered at our request for more veg.
Main picture right, half roast chicken from the Sunday lunch menu; above, a starter of chicken liver and orange parfait with tomato chutney and toasted brioche; far left, banana split, left, sticky toffee sundae; inset below, the interior of the Fairfax Inn.