Linton Bridge has been closed since the Boxing Day floods of 2015.
Perhaps if I’d paid closer attention to the news pages his past 16 months, this fact might have lodged itself somewhere. But I didn’t, and so I end up driving right up to the “road ahead closed” barrier a few hundred yards short of the Windmill, already five minutes late for our table.
One satnav-aided ten-minute detour later, we finally reach the gorgeous stone frontage of this fiercely traditional Yorkshire village inn, where our apologies are generously accepted and we are shown through to a table in the tartan-carpeted, beamed ceilinged dining room, where diners are talking in whispers and the gentle thrum of vintage rock ’n’ roll is pulsing from the sound system.
Around another corner is a substantial extension, mostly reserved for dining, where large skylights create a light and airy feel. From here, beyond french windows, the lawned beer garden slopes away from a stepped patio towards a golf course and the River Wharfe.
Food is served pretty much every session here, and we’re soon working our way through a comprehensive menu which offers the Windmill’s quality interpretation of most pub dining favourites. The website makes particular reference to their ‘acclaimed parfait and sizzling steaks’ and both of these feature in our order.
I start with a wedge of the beautifully creamy chicken liver parfait, served with a good heap of granary toast; my partner enjoys the home-made tomato soup, drizzled with a swirl of balsamic. We both opt for sizeable carnivore main courses. For me, it’s the giant suet pudding, oozing rich steak and kidney, and served with a small hillock of mash and a fulsome liver and onion gravy, for my partner a slab of sirloin steak served with all the trimmings.
Sadly though, the shared dish of nicely al-dente vegetables passes largely unnoticed in the face of such meaty indulgence.
This all represents quality pub dining, but it’s also remarkably sensibly priced with our total bill for a hefty two-course dinner including a pint for me and a large glass of house red for my partner coming to a shade over £45.
The Windmill has also managed to remain as a popular local drinking house, with a strong regular trade, and right at the heart of life in this well-kept village with its big shiny cars and ruinously expensive real estate. The drinkers tend to head for the two cosy, comfortable rooms which open off from the left-hand side of the bar where exposed stonework and highly-polished brass lend a farmhouse atmosphere.
Messrs Theakstons and John Smith have a fixed place on the bar, though the guest beer changes regularly and this time it was the dry and bitter Lucky Penny from Long Arm Brewery in Ealing, so strident a taste that I was surprised it was only brewed to a sessionable 4% ABV.
The last time I wrote about this place, back in 2011, I gently bemoaned the lack of bedrooms. Someone obviously took notice as two boutique bed and breakfast apartments, have now been created in the old stable block.
The simplest tastes are also catered for – with that pub staple pork pie and peas (£4.50) on offer for anyone in leafy Linton who happens to be living on a tight budget. Who knows, there may be such people
Main Street, Linton
Type: Picturesque village inn
Opening Hours: 9am-3pm and 5-11pm Mon-Thurs, 9am-11pm Fri-Sat, 10am-10.30pm Sun
Beers: John Smith’s Bitter and Theakston’s Best, plus one changing guest ale plus Foster’s, Kronenbourg and Moretti
Wines: Very good choice
Food: Great selection of quality pub meals served daily, plus themed evenings
Children: Welcomed. Kids’ meals and high chair available
Disabled: Ramp access and disabled toilets
Functions: Areas of the pub are available to hire for private parties
Beer garden: Large patio area and garden to rear, further outdoor tables to the side
Parking: Large area
Telephone: 01937 582209