Guy Fawkes Arms – Scotton, Knaresborough

Last Saturday was a gorgeously sunny and mild day in Scotton, a small village just two miles from Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. A fine day to be celebrating my parents’ golden wedding anniversary at a country pub.

The Guy Fawkes Arms is under new management, and mum and dad had already done a recce (thanks for passing on the research skills, pops) and decided this was where they wanted to celebrate their fifty years of marital bliss.

Staff were welcoming, friendly and really helpful from the word go, and there was a good selection of real ales on tap from around the region (including Leeds Pale from The Leeds Brewery) and a good choice of wines too (we had a Viognier – dry white – with our fish courses, reasonably priced at around £25.00 a bottle).

IMG_1544_Guy Fawkes lunch menu
Sample lunch menu – click to enlarge

Our table for eighteen was in a separate room from the main bar area, just off the kitchen.

For starters I had seabass fillet with Thai vegetables – just gorgeous, with palate-cleansing ginger flavours and a generously sized fillet (more like a main course dish so quite filling).

Seabass fillet with Thai vegetables – starter

Feta, sundried tomato + olive salad with balsamic drizzle – starter

IMG_4147b_Belly pork_blackpudding_Guy Fawkes Arms_Scotton
Belly pork, black pudding, sweet chilli salad – starter

For main course, I had battered haddock with chips and mushy peas. The haddock was *huge* with the lightest batter I’ve ever had – it literally shattered when I put my cutlery in it. So good. The chunky fried chips were perfect too (soft in the middle, crispy on the outside) as were the minty mushy peas.

Haddock, chips and mushy peas – huge main course portion

IMG_1561_steak and ale pie
Steak + Black Sheep ale pie

IMG_1559_seafood linguine
Seafood linguine – with some mashed potato and mixed veg too

IMG_1560_trio of game breasts
Game breasts – pheasant, pigeon, partridge

Dauphinoise potatoes

IMG_4152_lamb_Guy Fawkes Arms_Scotton
Sunday roast lamb with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes + mixed veg

Others had steak and Black Sheep ale pie in short crust pastry, seafood linguine with white sauce and parmesan (containing large pieces of filleted salmon and white fish), and a trio of game breasts + dauphinoise potatoes – pheasant, pigeon and partridge with a redcurrant glaze, for their main courses. No-one was disappointed.

This is seriously good gastropub food.

Sticky toffee pudding

For pudding, K had sticky toffee pudding *and* a cheeseboard of Wensleydale, goats cheese, Yorkshire blue and Cornish yarg (most of which ended up being taken home, unsurprisingly).

Cheeseboard – Wensleydale, Goats cheese and Yorkshire Blue, Cornish Yarg

The verdict: Quaint old country pub in a lovely location, excellent staff and service. With Martin Peachey as head chef (formerly at
Becket’s, top Knaresborough restaurant) the food is excellent – in a league of its own.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Pub, gastro-pub food
~ Address: Main Street, Scotton, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire
~ Postcode: HG5 9HU
~ Tel: 01423 868400
~ Website + menus: Guy Fawkes Arms website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Guy Fawkes Arms
~ facebook page: Guy Fawkes Arms on fb
~ Location: Guy Fawkes Arms map

Nearby dining + drinking:
~ Black Sheep Brewery – tours + visitor centre, Masham
~ Carriages – Knaresborough
~ Drum + Monkey – seafood in Harrogate
~ Major Tom’s – craft beer + stonebaked pizzas, Harrogate
~ Storm at The Dower House – Knaresborough
~ Sukhothai – Harrogate, top Thai in Yorkshire
~ The Tannin Level – Harrogate

Guy Fawkes Arms on Urbanspoon


The Draft House Battersea – best Sunday roasts (2012)

Update 2013

In the spirit of LardButty telling it how it really is it’s only fair to let you know that The Draft House(s) lost the *favoured pub* status in 2013. An isolated mishap could have (and would have) been overlooked but – on the few occasions I’ve visited in 2013 – service has been a let-down. It’d be dull to go into too much detail, but just to give you an idea:

i) Jan 2013 @ The Draft House Tower Bridge – poor service + cheeky tip:
Ate food in bar area (not restaurant) one Sunday afternoon. Table service was slow but as we were sitting so close to the bar we ordered our drinks at the bar ourselves. Now, we don’t mind paying £5+ a pint for an interesting real ale, but to add a 16% (yes, 16%) tip on to the drinks we’d got up and fetched ourselves was a little cheeky.

ii) 26 May 2013 @ The Draft House Westbridge – very poor service, ate elsewhere:
Sat in restaurant (mostly empty – it was a sunny day) intending to have a leisurely Sunday dinner here. Ordered snacks (foot long pork scratchings and sth else) while choosing our main Sunday dinner course. Browsed the draft beers in the bar room; placed drinks order at bar; bar staff said to sit down and they’d bring drinks through to our table. At our table, the snacks had arrived (ate them) but the drinks didn’t. Twenty or 30 mins after ordering beers at bar, we returned to bar room to see if they were coming – pints had been pulled when ordered but had been left, forgotten on corner of bar. Disappointing. After countless failed attempts to get the attention of the sole waiter/server in restaurant (to place our main food order) we gave up. Instead we went for a lovely little pub crawl around Battersea and had a really good meal with good service somewhere else.

iii) 29 July 2013 @ The Draft House Tower Bridge – inability to pull a fresh pint:
Lunch time drink with a friend over from Belgium. She ordered us two draft beers. Hers ran out half way through being poured. The bar girl apologised that there’d be a wait as the barrel needed changing (not a problem at all) and took payment in advance. Barrel changed, the bar girl topped up the glass (that was half full with the last spits from the previous barrel) with the first spits of the new barrel. And served.

Since writing this, I’ve noticed that other customers have had similar experiences, judging by comments on Tripadvisor, including quotes like “an expensive pub which would be fine if the food and service lived up to it”, “unimpressed with the service” and “Waited an hour for food to be delivered – no show and in the end asked for our money back”.

It’s incredibly disappointing to see such a great pub (chain) lose its way.

Recommending… The Rake
If you’re around London Bridge and fancy an interesting cask ale, served by friendly knowledgeable staff who like a chat and to share some tips about the range of beers they’ve got on (like The Draft House *used to be*) then head over to The Rake at 14 Winchester Walk, London, SE1 9AG, just around the corner from Borough Market where they guarantee ‘no crap on tap’. Check out their facebook page for daily listings of ‘what’s on the bar today’.

Vast beer range at The Draft House Westbridge (Battersea)

Feb 2012:
We’ve been to The Draft House Battersea quite a lot lately, sometimes for food, sometimes just for a drink.

As it’s now reached *favoured pub* status, this Draft House branch warrants its own listing (you can read about The Draft House Tower Bridge, here).

To help you decide for yourself if it’s worth a visit (don’t just take my word for it) here are a few recent Westbridge culinary treats, so grab a beer and scroll on…

Sunday dinner one fine summer’s day
After kayaking, capsizing + swallowing a mouthful of the Thames, August 2011 – desperately in need of a better taste:

Sunday roast: pork belly with mouth-wateringly crispy crackling + roast parsnips

Medium rare chilli burger @ around £10

Sunday dinner in autumn
BK in town – he deserved another intro to the Draft House. Well, he’s getting old. He forgets…

Perfectly runny Scotch egg with curried mayo starter @ £3.25

Sunday roast: beef, parsnips, Yorkshire pud + trimmings @ around £10

Medium rare burger (looks like a ‘smoke’: cheddar + house-cured bacon) @ £9.75

And one winter night, Feb 2012
Hamburger special: The Yolk – 8oz burger with flat fried egg + glazed hollandaise @ £9.50

You’ll be hard-pushed to find a finer burger than the hamburger specials at the Draft House. Everything about this place has ‘thoughtful’ and ‘care’ stamped on it. Even the bar staff are passionate and knowledgeable about the range of drinks they sell.

And if you don’t like gastro food or any of the vast selection of beers, you can’t possibly dislike the wallpaper:

Wallpaper on stairs down to loos

BK pops into The Draft House, corner of Westbridge Rd

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5 (2012); 2.5 / 5 (2013)
~ Type: British
~ Address: 74-76 Battersea Bridge Road, London
~ Postcode: SW11 3AG
~ Tel: 020 7228 6482
~ Nearest station: Battersea Park, Clapham Junction
~ Website: Draft House Westbridge – Battersea website
~ Location: Draft House Battersea map

The Draft House on Urbanspoon

Draft House – home of the thirds

Follow this link to read about Draft House Battersea, with a 2013 update

Draft House Tower Bridge is the third branch in the Draft House chain.

Having visited the Clapham Junction and Battersea branches a few times and enjoyed the selection of real ales, and the ‘home of the thirds’ concept (you can try a third of a pint of three different beers to maximise tastings) we’ve been keen to try the food for a while. We did so last night at Tower Bridge.

Located a five minute walk away from London Bridge station, the Draft House was nicely busy but much less packed than those by the station (it was a Friday night, the start of the weekend). We were celebrating a birthday so tried a good selection of draft ales (including Mac’s Gold NZ, Porterhouse red, Wandle ale, Budvar dark) and bottled (Konig Ludwig and Weihenstephaner wheat beers; the Brooklyn chocolate stout was wonderfully treacly with deep dark flavours but thoroughly lethal @ 10% volume and not one I’d be able to drink much of regardless of the price @ £7.25 a bottle).

Draft House interior is simple and cosy: wooden floors and tables with candles in old beer bottles, and comfy green benches to sit on, while there’s an American diner style layout to the restaurant side (table booths run the length of the wall). The menu comes with a suggested beer-match for each dish though draft beers change regularly.

For starters our party had roast beet and duck egg salad, ricotta dumplings and truffled cauliflower (heavenly), a pot of pate and smoked hock and trotter (bone marrow – cooked well enough but simply not pleasant – this got left).

Draft House Tower Bridge – Lardbutty pub/restaurant of the week:
Roast beet salad
Roast beet + duck egg salad

Ricotta dumplings + truffled cauliflower

Our main courses included macaroni and forest mushroom gratin with steamed spinach (very good, I’d happily have this again and the pairing with Thwaites Nutty Black ale was a good match), steak tartare and a 10oz burger made from 28-day aged Oxfordshire charolais beef (very tasty though slightly greasey) served with salad and fries followed by a cheeseboard of artisan cheese, Williams pear chutney and house oatcakes.

Our bill came to £160.00 for four including the service charge @ 12.5% (not unreasonable by any means). Food was very good, range of drinks was exceptional and service was down-to-earth and chatty. We’ll be continuing to visit the Draft Houses for some time yet.

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5 (2011-2012); 2.5 / 5 (2013)
~ Type: British, pub
~ Address: 206-208 Tower Bridge Road, London
~ Postcode: SE1 2UP
~ Tel: 020 7378 9995
~ e:
~ Nearest tube station: London Bridge
~ Website + menus: Draft House Tower Hill website
~ Location: Draft House Tower Bridge map

The Draft House Pub on Urbanspoon