I have eaten my way around this planet of ours for fifty plus years but can announce a bombshell. I have just had my worst dining experience.
Not given to hyperbole either way, good or bad, I am as surprised by just how bad a meal could get without special training.
Look, I have never been to the Holly Inn before today; I know nothing of its history or who owns/manages it; I have no axe to grind or scores to settle. Please understand that this is my experience on the day....a snapshot.
We, a friend and I, wer hungry. We passed a couple of Inns which due to circumstances best known to themselvers were "Closed on Tuesdays". I cannot tell you how much I wish that this was the case at the Holly Inn.
Cold, with evidence of a much used Super-cir bottled gas heater (unlit) having been hauled in to service, we approached the bar as the barman stuck another log in to the newly lit log-burner. It would get warmer, we were sure....if we stayed long enough.
The smartly turned out stoker/barman (and as we were to discover, chef) served us with that sullied suspicion of all things english (deservedly, frankly) expected of foreign staff on minimum wages. He was sufficient unto the task, served us drinks, produced phopcopied menus and we settled in to an anticipatory mode in the window seat. The menu was retro. Sandwiches held a pole position but beneath the banner heading of "Hearty Meals" we found...er very little. Lasagne, Scampi, a pie...chicken we were unreliably informed. Er...all with chips and peas. Hmmm. Two chicken pies, please.
That was an over-descriptive hope.
The plates, cold, arrived. rarely have I seen such suitable lack of aplomb. The pie was two soggy crusts, fractured and flopped on to the plate. The crusts would have contacted each other, DID contact each other, but for a few granular pieces of something not entirely identifiable as chicken, or anything else for that matter using the normal senses of taste, sight and smell. It was, frankly, a disgraceful excuse for food.
The five chips were the colour of burned (black at the edges) mahogany yet by some trick of alchemy remained cold in the middle. These were yesterdays chips...I know the signs...who doesn't? What an INSULT to be served such inedible offerings.
The peas. A goodly desertspoonful. I ate them with relish even though they were as fresh as the frozen moment when the pod went pop...and just as hard....and just as cold. I began to feel very sorry for the stoker/chef/barman who must have been overcome with shame that the England he had tried so hard to emigrate to should have placed him in such a position. I told him that the food was dire and he muttered a heartfely but candid "Sorry".
So am I. I could not be more sorry...unless I tell you about the gravy; but no. Enough.
As I said, this is a snapshot of the day.
I can only suggest that the photograph is torn up and the negatives destroyed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A warm and friendly welcome awaits you at The Holly Hill Inn, a traditional English country pub, comfortably laid out with open fires, local ales and lagers including the local, very Yorkshire Black Sheep bitter from The Black Sheep Brewery in nearby Masham and the elegant Peroni to name but two. Superb British and continental fayre, coupled with great wines, four luxury en-suite bedrooms and a function suite complement the venue. Situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and within easy reach of the historic Georgian town of Richmond, The Holly Hill Inn is a popular retreat for locals and visitors alike. We're also just a stone's throw away from the well travelled coast to coast cycle route from Whitley Bay in the North East to Whitehaven in Cumbria. Why not make a day of your visit and stroll down the hill into town to see the largest cobbled market place in Britain and the adjacent Richmond Castle? We have four luxury, en-suite rooms where you can relax and unwind after a day of sightseeing or business. Stay in one of our well-appointed, en-suite bedrooms, with views of Richmond and the castle and awake to a great Holly Hill breakfast ensuring you start the day on a high. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holly Hill Hotel Richmond
- Holly Hill Inn Richmond, Yorkshire