Restaurant review: The Dining Room, Driffield
Fine-dining establishments often come with a fine price tag, which makes them inaccessible to many.
Not so The Dining Room, which occupies a relatively unassuming position in Driffield's main street.
According to its website (www.dining roomrestaurant.co.uk), the venue prides itself on "creative, yet unpretentious cuisine using fresh, local and seasonal produce".
Keen to put it to the test, I popped in for an evening meal with my father, who tends to bristle at anything even remotely pretentious or overpriced.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
His initial reactions were slightly muted by the fact he had forgotten his reading glasses, and therefore could not see what was on the menu or how much it cost.
After talking him through the options, he chose the haddock chowder (£6.25) to start with, followed by the breast of Leven duck (£15.95).
I need to spend a long time perusing a menu, so had downloaded one earlier that day, not that it made much difference – everything sounded so tempting, I could easily have eaten anything and everything on there.
I eventually plumped for the black pudding and apple starter (£6.50) with corn-fed chicken supreme (£13.95) for the main.
Special diets can also be catered for – just call the restaurant in advance.
While waiting for our meals to arrive, we enjoyed a spot of eavesdropping and realised the guys on the table next to us were from Cambridge.
They had seen rave reviews for The Dining Room on TripAdvisor, so booked in during a visit to the market town.
This made me realise the power of the internet – many of my friends from Driffield had not heard of the restaurant and yet the good news had travelled hundreds of miles beyond the county's boundary.
While waiting for our meals to arrive, we were served complimentary hunks of freshly baked bread with a shot of sweetcorn soup, which went down a treat, particularly as the bread was still warm and served with goat's butter and Wold Gold oil.
Presentation is clearly important to the chef and proprietor Martyn Shaw, whose 13 years of culinary experience have included time at the Ivy in London.
But equally important is the taste and texture of the food, and I was blown away by the home-made black pudding starter.
The haddock chowder went down just as well, while I challenge anyone to find chicken as beautifully cooked as the one in my chicken supreme.
My father's duck had a perfectly pink middle, surrounded by beautiful brown meat, and served with a tender leg confit that made him question why he doesn't have duck more often.
We were almost – but not quite – too full for dessert, so opted to enjoy the atmosphere before choosing the finale of the meal.
The clean, unfussy decor and wooden tables helps to add to the relaxing vibe, while the attentive waitress, who we later learned was Lorena, partner to Martyn, made us feel really welcome.
She also shared Martyn's passion for local food and, without prompting, informed us of the provenance of every- thing served before us.
Martyn told me he likes the opportunity to support other businesses and local suppliers, and it is something he wants to further develop in the future.
It is maybe because I grew up in the Wolds, but the thought of eating food grown in my former stomping ground always makes it taste that much better.
To finish off, my father opted for the cheese board (£6.95) which comprised four artisan cheeses served with apple, celery and biscuits.
I went for the vanilla panna cotta with poached rhubarb (£5.50) which was a perfect combination of rich, sweet and sharp flavours.
Reflecting on our meals, we realised we could not pick fault with anything, despite trying – after all, a critic's job is to be critical where necessary.
The restaurant may be a relatively new addition to Driffield's dining scene but I can see it becoming a firm favourite for those who enjoy fine food, perfect presentation and great service.
The Dining Room
Type: Traditional with a twist, and an emphasis on local produce.
Where: 42 Middle Street South, Driffield, YO25 6PS.
Open: Wednesday, 6.30pm to 9pm; Thursday, noon to 2pm and 6.30pm to 9pm; Friday, 6.30pm to 9.30pm; Saturday, noon to 2pm and 6.30pm to 9.30pm; and Sunday, noon to 3pm.
Call: 01377 254444.
Accessibility: Ground-floor dining area.
Vegetarian: Options available.
Family friendly? Yes.
Parking: On street, nearby.
On the menu:
• Seared Scallops 'nicoise'(£7.25): Served with fine beans, marinated anchovy, quail egg and black olive powder.
• Yorkshire Blue pannacotta (£5.95): With pear textures and walnut toasts.
• Herb Crusted Bridlington Haddock (£13.95): Served with saffron fondant potato and artichoke puree.
• Spiced pumpkin parcel: (£12.50): With winter bean and tomato cassoulet and thyme oil.
Quality of food: Excellent.
Atmosphere: Relaxed and friendly.
Service: Very good.
Value for money: We both had three courses, an alcoholic drink and coffees and the bill came just short of £64, which, for the quality, I thought was excellent.
Would you go again? Definitely.