Dinner experience at the General Tarleton, Knaresborough
What I loved about it:
The fine dining meal at the General Tarleton was one of the best meals I have ever had. From the relaxed and cosy feel of the venue to the polite, knowledgeable and passionate staff, we instantly felt at ease. The food was exquisite though – every bite was a taste sensation and I never wanted it to end!
Value for money (out of 10):
Fine dining experience at Ralph's Restaurant
We were kindly invited to the General Tarleton to sample their new tasting menu in Ralphs, the venue’s fine dining restaurant.
Located just outside of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire this place is pretty special. From the moment we walked into this country pub we were at ease.
The décor is tastefully done with comfortable seating, warm lighting and that all important proper English country pub ambience.
Ralph’s is located in a separate room at the end of the venue so it’s perfectly private – away from the hustle and bustle of the pub so it’s ideal, if you’re looking for something a little bit special.
The General Tarleton also serves traditional pub grub – expect excellent quality, locally sourced ingredients and seasonal produce. We will be returning to sample their Sunday Roast for sure.
We were warmly greeted on arrival and immediately offered a drink at the bar. For an early November mid-week evening, there were a fair few people out for a drink and for dinner which was great to see.
We were led through to the dining room – Ralph’s – and greeted by our host Emilia who was our server for the evening. The restaurant has just seven tables which all benefit from the warmth of a roaring fire, and with the exposed stone work on the walls, the wooden floor and the gentle background music, we instantly felt cosy, relaxed and at home.
A huge bonus were the seriously comfy dining chairs. So many other restaurants that I have dined in have had hard, wooden chairs. Cold, uncomfortable, and they encourage you to sit up tall – something I don’t want to do after several delicious courses. Hats off to the new owners – Sarah and Jonny – who have nailed that all important relaxed feel.
The menu at Ralph’s is a tasting menu – 7 courses priced at £55 per person. The menu can be paired with a wine flight, also priced at £55 per person.
You may recognise Chris the Head Chef – he was on MasterChef 2018 and was also a semi-finalist in the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts competition. Originally from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, Chris has brought some of his childhood favourites to the menu at Ralph’s here in Yorkshire.
The menu is made up of seasonal and locally sourced produce, supporting the local communities in Yorkshire. Some of it is also from his own garden.
Our server Emilia was joined by Donald – an expert in wine. These two are the ultimate dream team. Respectful and polite, gliding through the dining room and guiding guests through the menu from start to finish.
It really was an experience and their knowledge on the produce and the pairings of the food to the wine especially, was second to none.
Donald’s knowledge and passion for wine is outstanding, and we loved his stories about why he had chosen each particular wine, what to look out for, the smell, the taste and the effect each wine has on each course.
The food at Ralphs was some of the best we’ve ever had the opportunity to feast on. The combinations of taste and texture were nothing short of divine.
It is worth noting also that as I am pregnant – I did inform them the day before and they pulled together a variation of the menu to suit me which was really appreciated. Each small change was explained to me in detail, as we grazed each course.
Here’s some detail on the menu;
We kicked off with canapes – truffled cheese choux bun, cured mallard on blinis with apricot and walnut (my mallard was swapped for pork belly) and fish & chips.
Paired with a glass of Bernard Remy Brut Champagne. A J20 for me this time.
What a way to immerse us straight into the flavours of the menu – these canopes were a little taste explosion on the tongue.
The highlight for me was the cheese choux bun – the cheese just oozed out of the pastry. Hubby said the fish & chips with the pea puree did it for him.
Next up was Chicken liver, gingerbread, pear and coriander (Chicken liver was swapped with Mallard for me) which was paired with a Sauternes – a sweet French white wine which complimented the gingerbread superbly.
Of all the ingredients throughout – this light, airy gingerbread cake was one of the things that really stood out for me.
We were told that it was Chef Chris’ Grandmother’s secret recipe and it certainly was something special. Teamed with pear, it was surprising and delicious.
Our fish course consisted of pan seared sea trout, lobster fritter, pumpkin and herb oil.
Paired with a light white wine (Donald swapped the Chablis for a Sauvignon Blanc – my hubby’s favourite).
For our main course we tucked into salt aged beef, sirloin, beef cheek, celeriac, calva nero cabbage and beef jus. Paired with a Chianti classico, San Jacopo. The red wine was light yet pungent, and enhanced the flavours of the perfectly cooked beef.
Emilia poured the beef jus on our plate whilst she expertly explained each element of it. The combinations of textures in every mouthful were a taste sensation.
Next up was Chef’s cheese on toast (or honey roasted brioche for me) served with fig, walnut and chutney. Well, this was something else! The truffle taste was strong, the brioche sweet, and paired with a glass of port, the hubby was in heaven!
Dessert was next and we shamelessly indulged in two of them.
A lemon syllabub with champagne jelly (I had a lemon posset with berries and a poppy & sesame seed tuile), paired with a Limoncello cocktail – sweet, sharp and just enough. A perfect palate cleanser before the final plate.
The grand finale was a Manjari chocolate mousse, yoghurt (frozen) with bramble and pistachio. Paired with a Elysium black Muscat from California.
As a self-confessed chocoholic, the mousse was nothing short of unbelievable. The frozen yoghurt with blackberries was a pretty epic finish to this exquisite meal.
Stuffed beyond belief, we still found it within us to sample the nougat treats.
The tasting menu at Ralph’s is an epic experience for any foodie. Three hours of indulgence, but more importantly, a date night like no other. An opportunity to spend some quality time with the hubby, and dine on the most exquisite food at this unassuming, romantic, and culinary-experience driven restaurant that is Ralph’s at The General Tarleton in Knaresborough.
I’m waiting with baited breath for this baby to make an appearance so we can head back to Ralph’s, and I can enjoy it in all its glory, and get to stay in one of the perfectly appointed guest rooms.
Thank you to everyone at Ralph’s who made our evening so unbelievably special.