Scarborough is my kind of English seaside town. Just a little bit down at heel, it evokes a nostalgia for childhood holidays you either had yourself, or sense that, coming from these islands, you should have. Either way, it's hard to look now at endless rows of B&Bs, retro ice-cream parlours and two-penny falls palaces through eyes unadjusted by a lense of mild ironic detachment. But I love all this stuff. I don't think there's a more melancholy sight than a beach-side pleasure park on a drizzly November afternoon, and melancholy is one of my very favourite things. Happily enough, the pleasures in the meal we had at Jeremy's on the Saturday evening of a visit to friends on the North Yorkshire coast were neither ironic or nostalgic ones. The (excellent) choice of our hosts, Jeremy's specialises in good cooking of fine ingredients, in very sensible combinations.
|Mackerel fillet, radish and fennel salad, gooseberry sauce|
|Smoked salmon scotch egg, tartare sauce|
|Confit leg and roast breast of duck, confit potato, parsnip puree, cumberland sauce|
|Rib-eye steak, thrice cooked chips, chanterelles and green beans|
I'm not usually that arsed about puds unless there's something a bit special going on which there certainly was here. Between the four of us we shared a "Northside Seaside Special" and "Jeremy's Chocolate Plate".
The former of these two was an impressive display of different techniques. A gorgeously fresh doughnut, some trifle, a nougat parfait-type thing wrapped in - I think - some sort of fruit leather and an almost caustically sharp lemon sorbet starfish sitting on a beach-like crumble replete with candied mint leaves. Got all that?! The fact we forced all this down after already having stuffed ourselves should tell you that everything on this bit of wood was delicious.
Ditto the chocolate plate. A fondant was so rich it made your jaw ache, while the mouse and vanilla ice-cream were smoothly soothing.
The wine list, like the menu, read particularly well. We started with a berrily fresh Romanian pinot noir, before a glass of excellent tempranillo. With a lot of choice at under £20 a bottle, mark-ups are reasonable.
The short of it is that this was a thoroughly enjoyable meal. Obviously a good deal of credit for that goes to the excellent company, but the food was never less than extremely tasty, with some moments of proper class. There felt like there was a real generosity from the place, partly due to those stonking portions, but also from the service which was warm, confident and thoroughly capable. Prices for the a la carte menu are not cheap, but feel like good value considering the obvious skill and attention paid to getting good ingredients and maximising their flavour. Any quibbles over the cooking were minor, and outweighed easily by the fact that everything just tasted really very good indeed.
On further investigation, none of what I've written here should be a surprise; the man looking out from the semi-open kitchen, for whom the place is named, is Jeremy Hollingsworth. He is possessed of a killer CV, having worked for many of the culinary firmament, perhaps most notably having held a Michelin Star at London institution Quo Vadis when it was run by Mister Pierre-White, during his pre-stock cube period. I hope it doesn't sound disparaging to suggest that Scarborough is lucky to have him. Last Saturday night we felt pretty lucky to have been taken to, and so ably fed in his excellent restaurant.
Jeremy's, 33 Victoria Park Avenue, Scarborough, YO12 7TR
01723 363 871
We were just about to head back to the car when the most amazing smell announced that we'd stumbled across a smokehouse.
If you ever find yourself in this part of the world, I strongly recommend - actually, scrub that, I insist that you grab some kippers from Fortune's. I love a good kipper and have really enjoyed the Craster rendition of this delicacy in the past but if anything these were even better. Singing with flavour, they were wonderful grilled with just a dab of butter for company.