Safe to say August is not my favourite time of the year in Whitby, which is a shame in a tourist town. The crowds, visitors meandering aimlessly along the middle of the street, glaring at motorists in such a way to suggest they have no right to encroach on their space, and swooping gulls – at times you need the patience of a saint.
So it’s with a huge sigh of relief that September finally arrived, the kids returned to school and parents the length and breadth of the country got back to some sort of normality.
I love September. The first week always brings with it fine weather (I have never known the first week of autumn term be anything other than warm and sunny), and a chance to enjoy life at a more casual pace.
So we decided and treat ourselves and head a short distance out of town to The Forge at Aislaby, an elegant country pub with a warm welcome.
A bulging car park suggested it may have been heaving inside, despite it only being about 6.15pm. Actually, it was quiet, just a few regulars at the bar having a well-earned drink on a warm evening. But the popularity of the place soon became evident with plenty of folks popping in while we settled down to our evening meal.
We couldn’t make up our minds on whether to go for the starter and main, or main or dessert, but having starved ourselves all day, kicked off proceedings with .
I picked the brie en croute, puff pastry parcel with brie, walnut and apricot stuffing, light but tantalising with the individual flavours all standing out.
Mrs A had the garlic and stilton field mushrooms which she said were nice, and the cheese not to overpowering.
At the same time, our son Jordan had the kids’ scampi and chips, which came with the usual selection of bamboozling inquisitive child questions, which always seem to be unleashed at the dinner table – who would win in a battle between the Avengers and Dr Who? Who is your favourite baddie from Star Wars? (answer: Darth Vader).
The evening menu and accompanying specials chalkboard offered plenty of choice, with Mrs A going for the chicken breast burger topped with brie and chorizo. The onion rings which came with it were nice and crispy.
I was really pleased with my choice, the pork fillets served on a bed of wholegrain mustard mash with a cider caramelised onion and cream sauce. The pork fillets were cooked just right – lovely and tender – and the mustard mash a perfect accompaniment.
It wasn’t the hugest portion of veg in the world but that would be hyper-critical, and not something I felt was worth raising.After that little lot, there surely couldn’t be any room for a dessert. Normally, we’d concede defeat and settle up, but the menu looked that bit too enticing to say no.
I finished off with a hot apple crumble (I’m sure the bowl kept refilling itself, it seemed neverending!), Jordan had three scoops of ice cream which he liked, and she who must be obeyed went for the lime and ginger cheesecake, which she described as “rich and creamy.”
All in all, we felt right at home at The Forge with friendly, attentive service, good beer, and food, and it represented good value for money too.
Overall rating: 9.