A slap-up pub dinner is pretty much compulsory after a day striding across the North York Moors, but what you might not expect is to scrape the mud oﬀ your boots and sit down to a salty-sharp oval of oyster-tinted ice cream, sprinkled with caviar and served in its shell, the slippery mollusc concealed inside. But this is how a tasting-menu dinner begins at the gourmet restaurant inside the Black Swan Hotel, Helmsley, a picturesque market town on the national park’s edge.
Ambitious new chef Alan O’Kane lets his imagination and skills, honed at the Savoy, run riot. Creamy duck liver is brought to life with a shock of soured cherries; lamb is impossibly soft with a silky layer of fat; even the bread is smeared in beef-dripping butter. As for the heavenly, deconstructed Snickers dessert, it’s a cheeky nod to its humble beginnings – this place has been an inn since the 15th century. Long may it continue in O’Kane’s capable hands.
The Gallery, Helmsley
Ambitious gastropub from £65 blackswan-helmsley.co.uk