I had looked forward to our visit to what I had been told was one of the best restaurants in Whitby, our phone call had whetted my appetite despite the warnings about the front step which was indeed steep with little space around the tables to manoeuvre, and that we would have to eat in the bistro as the restaurant itself was upstairs and anyway not open on the lunchtime we had chosen, but the WC was superb. Decor was in keeping with the style of the place but a pot plant in the window was showing signs of distress if not actual decease.
Service was variable, with only one serving staff on. A drinks list was offered but the bar was out of several of the ingredients, not good for mid-season in a place that boasts of its cocktails
My queen scallops roasted with a pesto and parmesan dressing were great, lobster with a Caesar salad was pronounced good by those that ordered it but I thought it dominated by garlic.
Perfectly cooked halibut was served with overcooked mussels, a broccoli purée and orange sauce, the prawn and spring onion fritter had flour in it so wasn't served. The dish interested me from the description but didn't work at all, too many conflicting flavours and the broccoli had been grossly over-cooked. An additional portion of chips turned up as french fries (skinny chips) with some kind of flavouring dusted over them rather than the chunky chips served with the other dishes. Fish (Pollack) and chips with mushy peas disappointed; the batter was floppy, the fish over-cooked and too many of the chips too crispy, the peas were fine. Scampi and chips was much enjoyed by our 10 year old grand-daughter.
A trio of seaside desserts looked fun on the slate it was served on, but proved impossible to retain the sauce which dripped on the floor, the table and surrounds. Cinder toffee cake was gooey, moist and sweet, tutti frutti ice-cream in a cone was good and some tiny 'apples' (pale green and cherry-like) on their stems with a caramel sauce were a novelty if somewhat underwhelming.
Three local cheeses were chilled but Ok although one was an older piece with mould developing on the underside. The celery was limpish and browning, one of the grapes rotting. One might eat it at home to finish stuff up but it wasn't good for a top class restaurant.
Plenty of wines by the glass, the two I had, a dry Riesling and a Pinot Grigio were excellent. Fairly ordinary espresso.
The crockery was interesting and entertaining but sometimes impractical (see above), cutlery and glassware adequate but non-descript. Good, strong, but paper, napkins.
At nearly £120 for 3 it was expensive for what was a curate's egg of a meal.
A restaurant like this, one of the 'posher' ones in Whitby, should be providing food as good as the Carlton Bore or the Inn at Hawnby, if not challenging the Fox and Hounds at Goldsborough, especially given the prices they charge, so we were somewhat disappointed with what we had. I think too much emphasis is placed on the cleverness of it all and not enough on the original ingredients and their cooking.