We ended up at The Chevin by accident but what a happy accident that turned out to be.
The pub itself is located about half way down the famous Otley Chevin but even then it still offers commanding views over the valley below.
Despite a chill breeze, Oliver was sorely tempted to sit outside to soak up the warming sunlight but it was perhaps wishful thinking on our part because it quickly became apparent that this was complete folly and that if we had opted to eat outside, our fingers would have frozen off.
This is no black mark against The Chevin, though, which boasts a good sized car park and a decent walled-off beer garden, together with another outside decked area near the back door and we reckon come summer when a cooling breeze will be more than welcome, it would be nice to spend an afternoon here, before tackling the surrounding geography.
So, inside it was. We found a quaint, welcoming bar area with an intimate dining room up a short flight of steps, all genteel and snug with county house pictures on the wall and dark oak beams running across the ceiling.
This is certainly a place you’d come to enjoy a few pints after (or even before, perhaps) a good walk. And they have a nice selection of ales on tap, including Landlord at £3.30 a pint, while a glass of house white will set you back £4.95.
The menu is also full of mouth-watering options, like the oven baked Barnsley chop £13.25, the grilled swordfish steak (£13.95) and the wild venison haunch steak (£17.95), all from the Chef’s Recommendations menu, although all come with surcharge of £2, £3 or £4 for ‘additional supplements’.
Still, if you fancy a light bite, there’s a decent selection of substantial sounding sandwiches (served from noon-5pm), which all come with coleslaw, chunky chips or a mug of soup, with offerings such as roast Yorkshire ham and piccalilli (£6.95), steak and onion baguette (£7.25) and Welsh rarebit melt on ciabatta (£6.95), which Oliver was sorely tempted by.
But it was to the main menu we turned our gaze, with my dining partner opting for the scrumptious sounding black pudding, chorizo and bacon salad (£6.50), a glorious display of colour from the fresh light green rocket salad to the deep rich red of the chorizo, plus they were happy to tailor the dish and remove the black pudding element upon request, which was nice.
For my starter, I went for deep fried brie wedges (£6.95) and almost wish I hadn’t.
Not that there was anything wrong with them, it’s just that if you are wanting to do any kind of post-meal physical activity, or if you’re engaged in any kind of waist watching enterprise, this is possibly not the most sensible dish to indulge in.
Still, I have to say, the wedges were cooked beautifully, with a nice, light brown crumb on the outside and just oozing deep, rich, salty cheese in the centre.
Served with a salad (the healthy bit) and a really quite satisfying cranberry and apple chutney, it went down a treat. It was a dish to die for in more way than one.
For my main and in a bid to at least head in the general direction of ‘healthy’, I ordered The Chevin Fish Pie (£12.95), while my dining partner went for an envy-inducing 8oz sirloin (£15.95), which came served with onion rings, mushrooms, tomato and chunky chips and was served medium rare, as requested.
The fish pic I have to commend. It was everything a fish pie should be, which, in the main, is full of fish. I counted three different kinds in there, including cod and salmon and there was more than enough of it, not to mention the bowl being capped by a mountainous range of crisp-on-the-top potato.
Together with the veg, which consisted of some chargrilled courgettes and steamed leek, carrot slices and broccoli, it was more than enough and, indeed, I had to admit defeat close to the end.
And so to pudding, which again seemed to be a list of all your favourite things, with classics like jam roly poly and creme brulee.
But we plumped for a palate cleansing lemon meringue, which came served with vanilla ice cream and was everything I’d wished it would be - zesty, light, refreshing and cool and despite being fit to burst I somehow managed to down the lot.
My partner, on the other hand, clearly less burdened than I, found room for sticky toffee pudding (£5.95), served with vanilla ice cream (£5.95), a real Sunday afternoon favourite and in this case executed perfectly, with a nice, light sponge and a sweet, sticky sauce.
There was a slight mis-step in service in that two of the drinks we ordered never came and we were also left for a good fifteen minutes after our mains before we finally decided to ask to see the dessert menu but overall, service was decent, efficient and polite, with staff genuinely attentive.
Our final bill came to £67.05 but some of the dishes had obviously been discounted as they were listed under ‘Sunday 2 course’.
There are some other discounted menu options available, with an early bird menu offering two courses for £12.95 and a Monday ‘pie and a pint’ deal for £8.95, it’s steak night every Tuesday with your choice of steak, sauce, two side dishes and a glass of red for £19.95 and there’s fish Thursday with a free bottle of plonk when you order two fish dishes but to be perfectly honest, a pub this good and with these views shouldn’t need to try too hard to pull in the punters.
Let’s just say Oliver may have ended up there by accident this time but next time we’ll be going there on purpose.
Opening Times: Monday-Saturday: noon-11pm, Sunday: noon-10.30pm
Address: The Chevin Inn, West Chevin Road, Menston, Ilkley, LS29 6BE
Tel: 01943 876109