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Chef Tommy Banks and family open The Abbey Inn, Byland

A 19th century, historic inn transformed into a country pub overlooking the gothic ruins of Byland Abbey, once one of England’s grandest monasteries.

The Abbey Inn, the latest opening from The Tommy Banks Group has opened its doors (Thursday 25 May). The relaxed, 70-cover pub with three, luxury rooms based in North Yorkshire is located down the road from the family’s Michelin-starred restaurant The Black Swan. The Abbey Inn exhibits the hyper-local, sustainably focused ethos for which the Group is renowned, with produce grown and reared on the family’s farm in Oldstead
taking centre stage.

Tommy Banks commented on the opening; ‘Washing pots in this building was one of my very first jobs when I was a kid, so to now open my own pub in it is a dream. It’s a beautiful venue, with so much history in its four walls.’

‘One of my main goals in opening a third place is to continue my mission for championing hyper-local, sustainable produce. We’ve been rearing our own cattle, sheep and pigs for a while now, and The Abbey Inn allows us to get one stop further in our journey to complete carcass balance and true nose-to-tail dining.’

Boasting views of the gothic ruins of the historic Byland Abbey, The Abbey Inn was built by monks in 1845 as a farmhouse, but by 1853 had been converted into a public house. The Grade II listed, 19th century inn has been sensitively refurbished by the Banks family, taking care to preserve and highlight the old building’s original features. Dining tables have been crafted in the workshops on the farm at Oldstead and the pub’s sign has been hand carved by Tommy’s father, Tom Banks.

Spearheading the food, alongside Tommy, is Head Chef Charlie Smith, who has worked for the Group for over five years across The Black Swan, Roots, York and Made In Oldstead. The pub serves reimagined classics with their signature Oldstead style, using outstanding ingredients from the nearby farm and garden, including their own meat, reared a mere mile away from The Abbey Inn.

Those stopping in for a drink can choose from bar snacks (£3.50-£12.50) like the Pork Pie with Oldstead Piccalilli; Pork fat fries with fermented ketchup and BBQ beetroot sauce; a Charcuterie plate including coppa and lomo made from their own rare-breed pigs, not to mention the Ploughman’s that showcases some of the area’s best produce and suppliers.

For starters (£10.50-£14), there’s Smoked baby beetroot, ewe’s curd and ‘rhuboshi’; Oldstead Dexter tartare with fermented peppers and bone marrow; and Glazed Herdwick lamb rib with yoghurt flatbread and fermented carrots to name but a few.

Mains (£20-£27) are wholesome and hearty, like The Byland burger, on which the team have been working tirelessly. The patty is made up of Dexter chuck brisket and short rib, topped with bacon and chicory jam and served alongside pork fat fries. A vegetarian Hen of the Woods burger is also a highlight, as is Halibut cooked over charcoal alongside Charlotte potatoes, yoghurt whey and chamomile sauce.

The pub’s Sunday Roast include options of Pork with pig cheek toad in the hole and Salt-Aged Dexter Beef with braised oxtail toad in the hole – both served with seasonal vegetables, duck fat roast potatoes, brassica cheese and, of course, gravy.

The dessert (£9-£12.50) menu features the likes of Carrot and chicory tiramisu and a seasonal tart, with The Abbey Inn soft serves taking centre stage. Using homemade soft serve ice cream from Jersey cow’s milk and locally foraged ingredients, the ever changing flavours include; Douglas Fir with lemon verbena and white chocolate; Strawberry and sweet cicely and York cocoa house chocolate and rye cookie.

As well as the family’s expertly curated premium canned wines, Banks Brothers, The Abbey Inn offers a concise, 30-bin wine list showcasing producers from lesser known regions. The pub’s cocktails, led by James Banks, highlight produce grown or foraged in and around Oldstead like the Byland Spritz featuring Oldstead ‘Campari’, Rhubarb Schnapps and Marigold Distillate and the Abbey Inn Summer Cup which features a homemade bramble liqueur.

The pub’s three bedrooms (opening 31st July), like the pub, have been sympathetically designed in keeping with the history and the heritage of the inn. Guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the roll-top baths and wake up to the stunning views of Byland Abbey. Two night packages will be available for guests to experience the magic of The Black Swan, as well as the Abbey Inn, as part of their North Yorkshire sojourn.

As ever, The Tommy Banks Group is devoted to employing those passionate about hospitality, sustainability and seasonality.

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