Top 50 Gastropubs

The Alice Hawthorn

Nun Monkton, North Yorkshire

A charming country pub, off the beaten track, halfway between York and Harrogate.

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Simple ingredients turned into something wonderful is the mantra at the Alice, a 200-year-old pub tucked away in the Yorkshire countryside at the hub of a medieval village that boasts England’s tallest maypole.

Named after a racehorse, the Grade 2 listed redbrick building has been sensitively modernised to create a bar and restaurant and Scandinavian-style letting rooms set around a beer garden planted with roses.

Chef John Topham has created a fresh, seasonal menu based on local ingredients but with a somewhat exotic twist.

Starters range from potted wild rabbit with Victoria plum pickle to popcorn prawns with wasabi and sweet chilli mayo to wild mushrooms on a toasted brioche topped with confit egg yolk and watercress.

Among the mains are slow-braised beef cheek with aligoté potato (a kind of cheesy mash), cavalo nero, parsnip crisps and stout juices and roast cod loin with black cabbage and hazelnut pesto, spicy aubergine and crispy potato. Then finish on a rum baba or a hot chocolate pudding.

And the extensive wine list includes champagnes, dessert wines, ports and a sparkling number made in Nun Monkton itself.

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