Cow and Calf, Ilkley Review: A pub with perhaps more of a view than value

If ever you have spent any time at the Cow and Calf rocks in Ilkley you will more than likely have been struck by views from them far and wide - but also how wonderful and wild it can be up there.

By YEP reviewer
Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 11:45 am

For years the other half has wanted to go for a pint in the pub that is perched at the top of that hill before you descend into the town of Ilkley.

So when the opportunity came about to head out for a pub meal after work, the destination wasn’t hard to decide.

In any case, it was just nice to escape the home office, but just a short drive took us out of suburbia and into some rolling greenery which is always welcome.

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A port in a storm when the weather is wild over Ilkley Moor - the Cow and Calf pub on Hangingstone Road.

We were shown to our pre-booked table which would have been fine to recline at but felt a bit like being back at school with low chairs, so asked to move.

Staff were happy to accommodate and showed us a table in the window, which as it goes was perfect for the idyllic idea of that pint, as with weather being a bit wild for August we could watch out of the window as the rain rolled in and out again over the hills in the distance.

The menu was perhaps a bit limited, unimaginative or 'samey' same and some dishes on the website menu were not on offer on the night.

However, with the hospitality industry facing extra pressures around staff and supply chains, many issues can be attributed to that.

Mushrooms in butter and garlic.

Starter choices were baked camembert, pate, garlic prawns, prawn cocktail or tempura prawns.

We chose salt and pepper calamari and oven-baked button and portobello mushrooms.

Main courses were lamb, fish and chips, salmon, gammon and chicken and mushroom pie. We opted for beef and red wine lasagne and handmade fishcakes with poached egg.

The starters were the highlight as the calamari was light, fluffy, seasoned gently, but not too much, while the mushrooms were plump, juicy, tasty and definitely suited the garlic butter they were baked in. The doorstep wedge of lightly toasted sourdough to dip in was also a nice touch.

Calamari starter dish.

The lasagne was steaming hot and with the chips and garlic bread was a hearty and wholesome meal but the fishcake meal, which was the same cost, was perhaps a letdown.

Served with asparagus, the menu said, but literally there were three sprigs and some chips which were so deep-fried it was like crunching fat.

However, it has to be remembered that places are under pressure and when they are part of a chain, in this case Vintage Inns, are all following set procedures.

The pub, however, is a perfect port in a storm. It is cosy, welcoming and a glass of wine watching the wild moor weather roll in and out from that window was worth it.

Beef and red wine lasagna.

Address: Cow and Calf, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8BT

Telephone: 01943 607335

Opening: Monday to Friday, 7am-11pm; Saturday, 8am-11pm; Sunday, 8am-10pm.


Value: 6/10

Atmosphere: 6/10

Thai fishcakes with poached egg and asparagus.

Service: 7/10