With my husband and one of our grown up sons, I have just celebrated a significant birthday at the Hare Inn, and the whole experience was wonderful. I feel moved to write this review as I think that this venue deserves to be more widely known, particularly as it is somewhat tucked away and certainly deserved to be more busy even on a wintry Thursday night. We had an à la carte dinner which wasn't cheap but was well worthwhile given the calibre of the food and the skill of the chef; this is true fine dining with great originality and flair and even playfulness. The place itself is wonderfully atmospheric - there has been an Inn on this site since Medieval times, and the present building is old, with low beams for the unwary. It is sited in a small moor top village but actually not all that far from the main A170 or indeed from Rievaulx Abbey. We were shown into a cosy sitting room where we chose from the menu whilst sipping our pre-dinner drinks and a warming sherry glass of beef bouillon topped with horseradish foam that was provided free of charge. The menus themselves are refreshingly minimalist - no "pan fried" or "village shot", but simply the lead ingredient followed by a list of the accompanying ingredients; Liz the co-owner who served us is extremely knowledgeable and able to give any additional detail you need to know. We all opted for the scallops starter - the scallops themselves were beautifully just cooked through with a slight caramelisation on the outside. My husband and son both had lamb for the main course which had amongst its accompaniments small globes of poached apple, parsley root (rather like very mild parsnip and very good) and the best black pudding they have ever tasted. I opted for the duck which intiguingly had been partly cooked in an infusion of lavender - there was no noticeable flavour of lavender as such, but somehow it brought out the flavour of the duck; amongst the accompaniments were fennel both as a puree and as a couple of small pieces, and the most gorgeous wine-poached pear that I have ever experienced; the whole thing worked together beautifully. For pudding my son and I both went for "pistachio" which was a plate of the nut in various delicious manifestations. My husband opted for cheese and biscuits which he found generous and excellent. We also sampled the single malt whiskies, and I was delighted to find that the relatively little known Glenfarclas (which we have long loved as one of the very finest Speyside malts) had found a place in their exclusive list. As it was a special birthday, we pushed the boat out with an excellent but very expensive Gévrey Chambertin, but there are more reasonably priced bottles available. Another point I would make is that whilst the individual courses didn't look terribly big, the whole meal was surprisingly filling and left me with a feeling of entire satisfaction and well-being. One additional point - they are very keen to accommodate vegetarians and dietary restrictions, so it would be the perfect place for any coeliacs for instance who wanted a proper fine dining experience; however given the size of the operation they do need a bit of notice, so it's important to book in advance and tell them about any particular requirements you may have. As for the cost, for three adults the food (i.e. without drinks or tip) came to £126.55, but some of what we chose was at the more expensive end of the spectrum; for what we got in terms of sheer quality, I think that's not at all bad value.
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