In our last edition of ‘Meet The Chef’ we really enjoyed finding out more about Chris and were so intrigued by the stories of his food that we just had to see the magic for ourselves… here’s a review of the trip our editor Lisa Warrener took earlier this year.
At a first glance of this quaint little English pub, you’re instantly drawn in as it has such an inviting aura about it. As we walked through the doors of The Bay Horse the smell of freshly cooked mussels immediately ignited our senses in the warm and cosy pub. Everything about the atmosphere made us feel welcome; even the locals just having a quiet drink were friendly towards us.
And if that wasn’t enough to make us feel at home, we were then greeted by the lovely landlady Chrissie, who met us on arrival with a famously delicious grapefruit gin! After this we settled down in no time, enjoying the homely touch of an open-lit fire nearby.
Ordering the food was an exciting prospect after hearing so many good things about Chris’s cooking. For starters, we simply had to order the mussels – especially after hearing so much about them and smelling them being cooked! The price for what you get is second-to-none, £8 for half a kilogram of deliciously fresh Shetland mussels served in a white wine and garlic sauce. They were cooked to perfection and even served with two bread rolls to mop up the gorgeous sauce at the end.
Another starter we sampled was the beautiful prawn and crab cocktail, which was stunningly presented and tasted so fresh that we had to check it wasn’t still moving! At £7 a portion, we thought this succulent and tender dish was absolutely worth it and left us wanting more.
One of the great things about the food menu at The Bay Horse is its abundance of locally sourced ingredients, and for this reason we ordered The Homemade Bedale Beef & Guinness Pie for one of our mains. This was beautifully cooked in a shortcrust pastry and came with all the trimmings; gravy, vegetables, and a choice of triple cooked chips or mashed potatoes. We opted for mashed potatoes as the side, which wonderfully complimented the pie. The beef was so tender and soft that it literally melted in our mouths. Of course, we couldn’t forget Chris’s famous ‘black gold’ gravy, which lived up to its reputation, being fabulously tasty. We thoroughly enjoyed this hearty meal which only cost £13.
A traditional pub meal would not be complete without a classic steak dinner. After scanning the menu we opted for the 28 Day Aged 16oz Cote De Beouf, which did not disappoint. The succulent steak was served with tomato, mushroom, onion rings, triple-cooked chips and Stilton sauce. We requested the cut to be served medium rare, and that is exactly what we were served; it was cooked to complete perfection with just enough fat to enhance the flavours. The chips were gorgeous – golden and crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. The onion rings were cooked in a lovely light batter and were extremely tasty. The stilton sauce was deliciously creamy with a subtle blue cheese finish. At a price of just £24 for the entire dish, we would definitely order this again.
For dessert we chose the treacle sponge served with custard, which was the perfect ending to an evening meal. We think the custard is best served cold with this dish, as it compliments the already warm, light sponge. The dessert was finished of with a generous amount of syrup with added that extra bit of sweet-tooth satisfaction.
Having the pleasure of talking to Chris throughout the evening, we could tell he had got his passion back following his illness just by the way he was talking and expressing himself. It was obvious he was loving what he was producing! His enthusiasm for food and his dishes was clear to see by everyone, which was lovely. His wife Chrissie was the same, and together they both looked so much more relaxed and happy.
And the whole show was put on by Chris alone as he is the only chef. When starting up the business he wanted to be in full control of the food, so the only other staff he employs are a waitress and pot washer. Other than that he takes hold of the reins in the kitchen, and even closes the pub down whenever Chrissie and himself go on holiday, so they only ever have to answer to themselves! They are an inspiring partnership who are very much involved and hands-on with everything to do with The Bay Horse Inn at Great Heck.
We had such a fantastic night and meal under great hospitality from both Chris and Chrissie – for this reason we will definitely be returning to sample some more of the menu!