12 January 2015

The Cow and Calf, Ilkley

I love Christmas, and the most recent one was perfect - full of family, fun, food and festive frolicks. But a couple of days after the main event our house was looking like the result of an explosion in a toy shop and even I was getting bored of Celebrations for every meal so it seemed like we had two options - tidy up or run away. So we ran away.

We had a hotel booked in Ilkley (more on that later!) but since we arrived before check-in time, a pub lunch seemed like just the thing to keep us going for the next couple of hours and headed to The  Cow and Calf to get warmed up and fed.

places to eat ikley

The Cow and Calf belongs to Vintage Inns, who have nearly 200 pubs and restaurants in the English Countryside. This Ilkley branch is just over the road from the famous Cow and Calf rocks from which the inn takes it's name. It's a pretty impressive collection of big ole rocks and the area is well worth a visit - though it was a little cold and slippy on this occasion to do much exploring up high!

cow and calk ilkely in the snow

It's not often I'll bother with a starter - if I'm having more than one course I'm usually all about the dessert! - but when I saw on a board when we got in that the soup of the day was tomato (my favourite), it seemed like just the answer to the cold cold day. It was a tasty enough soup and the brown bread served with it was gorgeous, but I think I've shot myself in the foot a bit soup-wise as since I started making my own with my Tower Soup Maker nothing else has come close.

lovely warming soup

It felt like a pie day. Again, I think it was the cold weather talking to me but the place did have a 'vintage pies' section on the menu which caught my attention too. I decided on the Roast Chicken pie - chicken pieces in a creamy mustard and leek sauce with a puff pastry lid, served with chips and peas. The pie was really good - plenty of filling, as well as being plenty filling!  

vintage pie cow and calf ilkely

The other half went for his favourite, the grilled gammon steak, and said it was great. I can't comment further as he didn't let me share, but I suppose that means it was probably pretty good! 

Vintage inns ilkely
Much as some of the dessert menu options sounded very tempting (Mmmm peanut butter chocolate cheesecake), the knowledge that I had a meal booked in later that evening meant my better judgement won out and I managed to turn it down. By the time we finished the mains we could get into our hotel anyway so we thought we'd head off and go for an nap adventure.

Vintage Inns Cow and Calf Dessert Board
The pub was a warm and cosy contract to the cold outside, and was prettily decorated for Christmas (but was a bit too busy to get any photos of this to show you!) The food was very nice, but the service wasn't the fastest on the day (all the staff were working hard and fast, while being polite and friendly - there just wasn't maybe enough of them on?) so The Cow and Calf might not be the place for a quick bite but if you have a couple of hours to cosily wile away you could do a lot worse! 

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