A restaurant tagged on to a farm shop on the outskirts of Pontefract doesn’t sound like the sort of place we usually review on these pages but online chatter about how good it was made us curious so it was added to the list.
Beast Restaurant only comes alive as the sun goes down. By day it is Moo, the cafe/bistro for Farmer Copleys .
The Copley family have farmed the land in what is quaintly called Purston Jaglin for more than 140 years. Until 2003 it was a working farm which had the added sideline of a small farm shop which attracted a small but loyal following.
It was then that the present custodians took over, Robert Copley and his wife Heather, the fifth generation of the family, who had big plans for the future.
Since then there have been massive changes and now thousands of people visit each year.
The bistro/restaurant is the latest in a long line of improvements designed to add to the whole farm shop experience and it is a pretty ambitious one to boot.
More than £1.2m has been spent on the venture which opened last October.
The 157-seat venue was converted from an existing farm building and every time I’ve looked in during the day it is really busy and has a really nice atmosphere.
When Moo becomes Beast by Night licenced restaurant there are some subtle changes. The tables are dressed with smart crockery and cutlery, the staff don trendy denim and tweed uniforms and the decorations change.
As its name would imply, there are a lot of meat dishes on the Beast menu including a selection of steaks cooked on the Robata charcoal flame grill.
Anyway, back to our visit. We opted to go early evening to avoid the rush so had no trouble getting a table - in fact it was not very busy at all.
The decor is minimalist with corrugated tin, rough-painted wood and enormous bull murals on the walls - but it works.
My only comment about the ambience is that perhaps curtains or blinds could be incorporated into the night-time trans formation - looking out onto a farmyard is not the best view when you’re having a romantic meal for two - not that we were!
Diners can either sit in semi-circular booths or at tables - we were ushered to a comfortable booth by a smiling smartly-dressed waiter who couldn’t do enough for us.
Menus were provided and drinks ordered – a pint of lager for my companion and a glass of the delightfully named Frothingham bitter from Great Newsome Brewery, Hull for me – and very nice it was too.
The menu changes frequently depending on what is in season but there are some staples that remain on it all year-round.
The farm rears its own lamb and beef and the free range pork, poultry and game is sourced locally.
They grow their own rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, liquorice, pumpkins and gourds which are incorporated into the dishes.
From the nine available starters I went for pressed Yorkshire ham hock terrine (£7.25) which was garnished with a fruity piccalilli and accompanied by Baker’s tin loaf bread. My companion thought the hog roast spring rolls (£7.95) sounded interesting so opted for those.
Both dishes were imaginatively presented. The terrine was firm, very meaty and not too salty and the piccalilli really brought out the flavour of the ham.
The spring rolls were stuffed with meat and were incredibly filling – or so I was told.
For the mains there was no need to look further than the signature steak section – I’d come here on the promise of a fine home-reared slab of beef and was not going to be tempted elsewhere by the likes of pan seared seabass fillet, saddle of lamb, stuffed free range chicken breast nor even local venison. My companion followed my lead: I had a fillet, he a ribeye (both £23.50).
Now I’ve eaten steak the length and breadth of the land and I have seldom tasted such a divine offering as the piece of meat I had at Beast – talk about melt-in-the-mouth.
There was no need for a steak knife, although one was provided, and the juicy, tender steak was quite delicious.
It was served an earthenware platter with a dish of home-cooked chips, onion rings and a jug of sauce
The Beast’s owner Rob is obviously such a fan of apple and rhubarb crumble (£5.75) he get a dish named after him. I can’t fault his taste so that’s what I chose when presented with the dessert menu. The chef’s homemade cheesecake similarly tempted my companion (£5.75).
Rob’s crumble really hit the spot but there was so much of it I couldn’t finish it which was a real shame.
Cost for the meal plus drinks came to £87.05 – sounds a bit expensive but it was worth every penny.
BEAST BY NIGHT, PONTEFRACT
Address: Ravensknowle Farm
Opening hours: Thursday to Saturday: 7pm until midnight
Telephone: 01977 600200