After a hectic week in the Excelle office, the leisurely drive over winding country roads towards the Yorkshire Dales set the perfect scene for a relaxing break to The Angel Inn. I’d been so excited to visit this hotel, and practically stalking the website and Instagram feed for any and every update hinting at what was to come. Now, I’ve always thought of myself as a country gal, but getting out of the car in the picturesque village of Hetton put my village to shame; save for a couple of birds, the place is silent and you can basically feel your stress melt away. Nestled in the rolling landscape of the Dales, the hotel is peace personified with a seriously chilled vibe.
After checking in, I was shown to the room in the adjacent building, Sycamore Bank. We were staying in the Meadow Studio, a lovely double room on the first floor featuring Royal Oak furniture and an en suite including bath. The room has the country chic, old world-y charm you would expect and look for in a hotel like this, but with nice modern amenities including free WiFi, an iPod docking station and mini bar run on an honestly basis. This was filled with wines, bottled beers, spirits and mixers and nice touches including fresh milk and lemon slices. The room had full hot drink making facilities, and a jar of homemade shortbread biscuits – honestly these biscuits were heavenly, a delicious treat of sugary, buttery naughtiness and a week on I’m debating contacting The Angel to see if I can buy a box from them!
Big towelling robes and slippers are provided, and the bathroom features under-floor heating, which was a lovely touch. It was a fantastic surprise when the friendly staff came knocking with our pre-dinner canapés – a delicious new potato with cherry tomato and duck. I’ve never experienced this at a hotel before and it was a great pointer of what was to come with our meal.
Heading across to the restaurant for dinner, we were greeted by the staff and shown to our table in the cosy dining room, settling with a Yorkshire gin and soda (seriously, try it!) courtesy of Whittakers, and Estrella lager for Jack. The Angel is famous for it’s seafood, and as a non-fish eater I was a tiny bit concerned about where that would leave me. The menu is extensive though, with options to tempt everyone’s preferences.
After making our choices, the attentive staff brought us amazing homemade, cheesy brown and plain white rolls, served with sea salt and black onion seed butter. I’m usually quite conscious of not filling up on bread before a big meal but this was too delicious to resist! Next came a sharing amuse bouche, with a theatrical twist. Served in a Kilner jar full of smoke, on opening the amazing aromas filled the air around us, before we tucked into smoked chicken, with a pine nut crumb on a beetroot and apple salad. The flavours in this were fantastic, a dish I’d have gladly ordered.
I was quite savvy in ordering my starter, choosing the Duck and Pork Scratchings (£5.50). This was fantastic, served in a rolled plate resembling an old-fashioned popcorn cone, and suited the ‘snack-y’ vibe of the dish. As the starter was fairly light, it served me well in the rest of the meal by not being too full! The scratchings were super crispy and very tasty. Jack’s option was the definite winner though, opting for the Baked Queenie Scallops, with garlic butter, Gruyere cheese and bacon. The scallops were served on their shells, perfectly cooked with lashings of garlic butter and the creamy cheese complimenting the smoky bacon. Although between us we didn’t try The Angel’s signature ‘Moneybags’, we had no regret in our choices and were eagerly waiting our mains.
After a little break (and another gin!), our main courses came. Jack opted for the local Venison Sausage, while I chose the fork tender Oxtail. The fork tender bit was crucial here, and the tiniest of nudges had the meat falling away from the bone. The dish was served with Gouda potato gratin, Swissh chard and an amazing prune and red wine jus. The meat was so tender and tasty, and Jack’s Venison Sausages were equally impressive.
We were really full at this point, but in the interest of Excelle Blog readers we decide
d it would be rude to not sample the desserts and give you a full report. I chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding I’d been reading about, served with butterscotch sauce and Chantilly cream. The sauce was rich and the sponge perfectly light and fluffy. It was such a shame we were so full as it would have been nice to really savour this dessert. Jack chose the cheese board with a selection of French cheeses, served with homemade, sticky chutney, walnuts and crackers. The cheese is obviously chosen with careful consideration and again, left us wishing we weren’t quite so full
Declining coffee and petit fours in favour of falling into a food coma, we returned to our room and sank into our fluffy pillows. The next morning I checked out the breakfast room solo, and still a little full from last night! The Angel offers a great feast, perfect for walkers visiting the Dales wanting to stock up on some energy before heading out. The menu features a range of hot options including a proper Yorkshire breakfast with local bacon, sausages and black pudding served in full or half portions. Alongside freshly squeezed apple, orange or grapefruit juices, there is also a full buffet table where you can help yourself to a variety of yoghurts, fruits, cereals and a toaster machine with a selection of homemade jams.
Our stay at The Angel Inn was seriously relaxing, and they thoroughly deserve their fantastic reputation for the very best of quality food. With nine rooms, a wine cave for intimate celebrations and weddings, the spectacular restaurant menu and the slightly more relaxed bar menu, you’ll struggle to find such high quality of food, service and accommodation in Yorkshire!
By Ellie Howley
Visit The Angel Inn for yourself!
Hetton, near Skipton
North Yorkshire, BD23 6LT