Saturday, 11th/Sunday, 12th November 2017 – Kingston-upon-Hull (Hull)
This was a much shorter visit than the one in May, as we only stayed one night (at the splendidly-located City Centre Premier Inn right by The Deep) and arrived an hour or so before the start of the performance we were there to see, the “Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca”, over at the Guildhall.
Again we needed to do some walking to get there, this time along what is now known as the Museum Quarter, containing as it does Wilberforce House, the Archaeological Museum with its wonderful Iron Age boats, the Streetlife Museum of Transport, and finally the Arctic Corsair, the city’s last sidewinder trawler, an especially apposite exhibit in light of the work we were going to see. Sadly, we didn’t have that that much time so we had to forego the pleasures of the museums, instead heading for the Guildhall, but not before we had managed a look at the Peace Garden at the back of Wilberforce House, and established that there are no cafes in any of the museums in the Museum Quarter – which seems like a serious oversight to me.
And of course the very large frog – or possibly toad – that could be found out there.
From there we headed back to Trinity Square because I knew there were cafes there. And that’s when we stumbled across the rather wonderful Brain Jar, a cafe-cum-cocktail-bar where a decent cup of coffee was forthcoming. We considered popping back in after the theatre, and before we headed over to Beverley to go for dinner at Whites.
We had just enough time to get to the theatre after that. Later on, it was already dark by the time we finished in the Guildhall, so we headed back to change and discovered that the town was due to be transformed by a parade kicking off in the Land of Green Ginger (yes, there really is a street with such a name) and going round the old town. We considered watching the start, but not before we’d had a cocktail or two, so back to the Brain Jar we went.
Unfortunately, shortly afterwards we discovered we’d been misinformed as to the time when the Land of Green Ginger Unleashed would actually be unleashed. If we didn’t want to miss our table at Whites, we’d have to go before the event got started, which was a shame but unavoidable.
Half an hour later we were in Beverley and parking up next to Whites. John was in the kitchen as usual, and the welcome from front of house was as warm as you could like. With our pre-dinner drink, we were supplied with the latest bread, a linseed and poppy seed offering, with some spectacular butter.
Shortly afterwards there was also a small basket of amuses bouches, a tiny picnic to get us all ready for the main event. There was a lovely sausage roll, a chicken sandwich, and a dinky little carrot and ginger tart with a sweet, savoury crab mayonnaise.
The first official course was a portion of one of my favourite things, smoked eel packed into three delicate agnolotti, with pumpkin seeds, and pieces of soft, sweet pumpkin.
It being autumn, the menu was very much accented towards the sort of foods you want when the nights start to draw in and it gets colder outside. Next up was a piece of beef cheek, slow cooked, served with pears and shavings of strong blue cheese.
A light and delightful consomme of mushrooms was next, the textures and tastes again autumnal and oriental. It was a natural progression from the beef and the cheese somehow.
That progression would continue with the next course, where king oyster mushrooms were thickly sliced and combined with prawns. It was a juicy, tasty tower and well worth the effort that had presumably gone into it for the pleasure it provided the diner.
We now moved to full on fish, a piece of brill, simply accompanied by courgettes. It had a lovely beurre blanc sauce with it and a scattering of caviar, along with some sage. It was excellent, quite strong, but not overpowering. The fish still came through perfectly.
The lamb really hit the heights, just two perfectly cooked pieces, with some celeriac, and onions rings, and some battered pieces of slow-cooked lamb.
Next up were two desserts and a cheese course. The first of the desserts was a tiny fruit crumble, with a lovely crunchy crumble and soft, sweet fruit underneath, and a creme fraiche coating. I’d have happily wolfed down a bigger portion, but would then possibly not have been able to eat the next dish.
The second dessert made me glad the crumble hadn’t been any bigger. A chocolate fondant with salted caramel ice cream and chocolate ice cream, and some poached pear pieces and a handful of sultanas.
We finished off with cheese and chorizo and some apple slices. It was a lovely way to end the meal, especially with a crumbly oatcake holding it all together.
The following morning we had breakfast in the hotel, then headed towards Ferens Art Gallery hoping to get a look at the contenders for the 2017 Turner Prize. It was bitterly cold out, so we didn’t stop outside for long, especially once we discovered that the gallery wouldn’t be opening until 11am, it being a Sunday. We eyed the Roman remains at the top end of Whitefriargate then decided we needed to warm up somewhere. We opted for McCoys where the white chocolate with all the trimmings seemed to fit the bill quite neatly.
We walked back to the hotel past the Minster and headed out of town for lunch with friends at Rascill’s.
We were welcomed at the door by Lindsey, who soon equipped us with kirs, and some of Richard’s famous cheese straws. You will never find a better cheese straw, that I am sure of.
Bill and Elaine arrived shortly afterwards, and we decided on our menu choices from the Sunday lunch menu. Given my well known risotto obsession (see various other reviews including this and this) I had to have the mushroom risotto. Given the colours of your ingredients it’s hard to make such a dish look pretty, but my it tasted good, and the consistency and texture was just right.
Lynne went for the smoked trout and beetroot starter, which I must admit was very tempting in its own way; but no, the risotto it had to be for me. It was spectacular, but I still say I made the right choice.
For mains we both had the roast beef. It was lovely, but huge, so much so that we asked to take the remains of the meat home with us. It was such a large piece, and so tender, but there was no way I could eat it all and still stay awake enough to drive home!
Afterwards, Elaine went for the sticky toffee pudding and we shared a portion of very good cheese, then sat and discussed life, the universe and restaurants with Richard and Lindsey for another hour or so afterwards.
And that was our weekend done.