MALHAM, BD23 4DB
For location alone, this handsome old coaching inn takes some beating, sitting as it does in some of Britain's most impressive, cavern-riddled limestone scenery. A dense covering of creepers masks its stone walls, and there's still the old mounting block from coaching days. Beyond the attractive tiled entrance are the little rooms with original beams, fireplaces, wooden floors and log-burning stoves that the exterior promises. One of Blackburn brewery Thwaites' Inns of Character, it's right on the village green, which presents much easier terrain for the fell-walkers, cavers and other outdoor types who drop in here for morning coffee or a pint of Wainwright bitter, named after fellow Blackburnian and fell-walking guide writer/illustrator, Alfred Wainwright. Traditional, home-cooked meals originating from trusted local suppliers might begin with venison parfait and parkin croûte; or smoked salmon with capers, shallots and horseradish cream. From there the choice broadens into sharing boards and salads, grills, classics and fish dishes. Taking an example from each group, you could choose a Yorkshire Blue and roasted beetroot board; grilled pork chop with chimichurri sauce (a piquant South American concoction); Steve's shortcrust pie of the day (the Lister supports British Pie Week in March and other food-focused weeks throughout the year); or spiced hake and mussel stew. On Sundays giant Yorkshire puddings accompany the roasts. Puddings and cake are home made too, including apple and blackberry crumble, and vanilla crème brûlée. The children's Half Pints menu includes all their favourites, from fish and chips to creamy pea risotto. Feel free to arrive with a well-behaved dog and muddy boots - no-one will object.