Queen o' t' owd Thatch, South Milford review: Post-lockdown delight at quality dining pub
In my defence, it was the first time I'd been out for tea in many months.
So of course when I was seated at a top spot outside the Queen o' t' owd Thatch, surrounded by post-lockdown bustle, I was feeling pathetically smug.
But you get the sense that a cosy anticipation for what lies ahead is the norm at this place, a self-described dining pub tucked away in South Milford near Selby.
It happens to be in the old Support Bubble's neck of the woods, too, so I'd been eyeing it up, and unlike many pubs in the surrounding areas at the moment was available for reservations through its online booking system on a Saturday night.
In normal times, it has picnic benches outside on its nice patch of lawn and is well-decorated inside but, in line with restrictions, has kitted itself up with a gazebo and a heater (which thankfully we were sat right near - they could do with a few more).
The menu is fairly small but select, letting the seasons dictate produce while still offering "pub classics", only done with a little extra thought, as well as specials.
On this occasion, a number of tempting options have run out or have been changed - a consequence, suggests the friendly waitress, of the post-lockdown rush and the delicate act of knowing how much stock to get in right now.
The Bubble therefore takes a bavette steak, in lieu of the sirloin, and I go for fish and chips with mushy peas.
But to start, she has stilton and broccoli soup and I try the Scotch egg with homemade date brown sauce.
Now there are Scotch eggs and there are Scotch eggs - and this, reader, was a Scotch egg. Golden, crisp crumb with oozing, jammy (crucially, not runny) yolk and made complete by the beautiful fruity brown sauce. The flavours of the soup - which came with a crunchy warm bread roll - were "balanced excellently," I'm told, especially considering it was a replacement offer.
On the mains, my fish batter was thick but not obtrusive and didn't deflect from the juicy haddock. The steak came "perfectly medium-rare", says my companion, with a port and stilton sauce - a little thin, perhaps because we had to remind them it was ordered, though "worth it" - with (decent) chips and cress salad.
Dessert wasn't offered - it was getting near to closing time - but the Bubble assures me the sticky toffee parkin is a winner.
The food, along with a Coke and a pint (Ilkley's Joshua Jane), worked out at just shy of £44.
In all, this pub offers great quality but unfussy food delivered by a polite and quick-to-accommodate team of staff.
Address: 101 High St, South Milford, LS25 5AQ
Telephone: 01977 685096
Opening hours: Mon, 5pm to 10pm; Tues-Weds, noon-3pm then 5pm to 10pm; Thurs-Fri, noon-3pm then 5pm-1pm; Sat, noon-11pm; Sun, noon-8.30pm. All times currently subject to change.)