Stray Foodie is a bi-monthly food review written by Michelin-starred chef, Frances Atkins.
In 1997, Frances opened the Yorke Arms near Pateley Bridge, where she was the owner for 20 years. During her ownership, she held her Michelin-star status for 16 of those years.
Vista View Bistro, How Stean Gorge, Nidderdale
It was a dreak night and I was in one of the most beautiful parts of deepest Nidderdale; How Stean Gorge is a place of such outstanding natural beauty, especially on clear sunny days of which we rarely have. This was not the case on this occasion, as we bumped along a windy road to our destination. Ahead of us rose an amazing, stilted building that towered over dramatic turbulent water with lustrous jungle land and deep vegetation.
A vision of creative owners, Mr & Mrs Stanley Beer who have developed their Gorge with great dedication over many years to its current acclaim. What a beautiful place to live and continue to develop a business. Full of exciting opportunity in this new world of hospitality that we find ourselves in. Exciting outdoor pursuits with fresh, tasty, good food seems to be the order of the day.
My old man and I were there for an early dinner and we felt lucky, as How Stean – as it is known locally – is not often open in the evenings. Like a lot of people, it was the first time out for us for some time. As we entered, the feeling of cleanliness was exemplary and made us feel very safe.
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My old man’s face was a picture of sheer contentment as he devoured a very beautiful Prawn Cocktail. I examined a starter of vegetables and thought, here we have some style. Jowayne, a young and ambitious Chef has given his food a lot of love shown by a neat, clean hand and a good balance of flavour. Although I would have been happy to see or feel more colour and excitement with the menu. Having said that, to find such honest food in the depths of this fine country is a plus. Maybe I was being over-influenced and relaxed by the Spa-themed music during dinner which was ethereal and stark.
The time to visit is obviously during the day with all the lovely Autumnal hues. You will sit and gasp at the extraordinary views over a glass or savour the very good and satisfying local beef or feel spoilt by what’s on offer on the menu; something for all tastes, I am told. Let’s hope Chef puts his Fruit Mousse Spoon on the dessert menu – something I have come across before – and of course it was well worth the drive up the Dale.
Whenever you decide to visit, which is a must during these times, you will be rewarded by friendly Yorkshire hospitality that stimulates you and gives you the good feeling of being British. My little journey for dinner x2, three courses and a glass of wine each cost £85.20 excluding service. Don’t be afraid, there are more economic ways of enjoying this treasure.
To find out more about Vista View Bistro click here.
To read more about Frances’ fantastic career click here.