Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine
Went down a storm
The Homestead Kitchen is just one more excellent reason to head to the North York Moors, writes Elaine Lemm. Pictures by James Hardisty.
Iwas heading across the North York Moors with the worst storm for 20 years raging around me, but I was not giving up. I was en route to the new Homestead Kitchen in Goathland and so looking forward to it. The restaurant and self-catering holiday let next door is now in the hands of chef Peter Neville, partner Cecily and where they live with their two young children. I have never made it a secret that Peter (from the Star at Harome and latterly, partner and chef at the Pheasant, also in
Harome) is one of my favourite Yorkshire chefs. Homestead is his first solo venture, and for Cecily, a return home.
They bought the lovely, once-renowned Prudom House on the outskirts of the village in the summer of 2021 and have worked their socks off renovating the cottage and restaurant. The result is beautiful, stylish yet homely, and personal without being sentimental. Plus, during all this hard work, their youngest son was born. Phew.
I was never happier to arrive at a restaurant as I was that evening. Once inside, I soon forgot the ferocious storm as we were swept up in the lovely welcome. The restaurant may be small at around 22 covers but is big on warmth and atmosphere, with twinkling candlelight and attentive, professional staff; it is a wonderful place to be at any time, not just on a filthy winter’s night.
The premise of Peter’s food is different from what I have seen before. He is working hard to use as much produce from the North York Moors as possible, and the menu is punctuated with local names; Botton Creamery and meat from the highly acclaimed Radfords in Sleights, even the flour for the bread is milled locally. The menu is small with just three starters, mains and puds, and is changed monthly, keeping things vital and lively.
Peter, it seems, is helping out front, I realise as he pops down two plates of rather handsome portly, Gougères bursting with Dale End Cheddar from Botton Creamery. He then brings out lamb fat-basted bread made with local flour and a
whipped lamb and mint butter, which is far tastier than it sounds, and I force myself to stop eating it after a few bites as it is so moreish. But who is in the kitchen while he is whizzing about out front, I wonder. It turns out it is a good friend and renowned chef Peter Hall who has upped sticks from London and returned to his Northern roots to be the head chef here at Homestead.
A meltingly soft glazed pig’s cheek comes next with silky celeriac puree, translucent wafers of fennel and poached apple. The dish is a masterpiece of classic cooking with a thorough understanding of the balance and harmony required. A roasted beetroot salad may have required less technique, but its success was the quality of the ingredients used, including Botton quark for that hit of creaminess and crunchy candied walnuts for sweetness. Another triumph from the duo at the stove.
It is a rarity for me to order steak as I am usually on the lookout for something best to represent the chef or food style of the chosen restaurant. Yet, I know cooking the perfect steak takes, firstly, an excellent piece of meat and skill in the pan, a modicum of seasoning, and restraint with sauces and accompaniments; the steak is the star and should take centre stage. Well, they got that one right in this kitchen; it was one of the best sirloin steaks I have eaten, and a massive shout-out too for the exquisite chips served on the side.
Having had the offer of some local game, the two Peters had added a delicious special to the menu of a plump pheasant breast topped with diced beetroot. On the side, there was a pot of Christmassy pheasant leg confit, chestnuts, sprouts and bacon, and a swede and potato cake made up of infinite layers of finely sliced vegetables.
Finally, for puds, a terrific chocolate fondant with pine ice cream and a salted caramel sauce and I will suffice to say, it was superb.
I am genuinely delighted Homestead has gotten off to a good start, but that is hardly surprising to me as Peter’s reputation counts for a lot. His food is different here and feels more personal. They may have started small, but the intentions of this hard-working pair are large and built around a lifestyle, not just a business. Peter and Cecily say they want to raise their family, create a flourishing and vibrant space, grow on the land and in the community. I feel they have every chance of succeeding with their dreams.
■ The Homestead Kitchen, Prudom House, Goathland, Whitby YO22 5AN Tel: 01947 896191. Open: Thursday to Saturday, 12-2pm and 6.30-8.30pm, Sunday, 12-3pm. Dinner for two with wine, £124.
I force myself to stop eating the lamb fatbasted bread after a few bites as it is so moreish.