Bagdale Hall, Whitby: Giving a new twist to some traditional tastes

Bagdale Hall, Whitby
Bagdale Hall, Whitby

It’s always a good sign when you struggle to get a table at such short notice for a Saturday night reservation – even if it was Goth weekend.

But nevertheless it is good to see one of Whitby’s oldest restaurants thriving once again.

There has been a buzz about town concerning Bagdale since the arrival of new head chef Ryan Osborne.

He learned his tricks of the trade at the award-winning and popular Green’s of Whitby where he spent 13 years.

He has revamped the menu at Bagdale and has described his food as “traditional with a twist”, and admits to maybe taking some inspiration from his mentor there, Rob Green.

Indeed seafood features well on the menu and you would expect a place of Bagdale Hall’s standing to make the most of what is on the doorstep.

We went for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, which apart from the £20 price tag went down well, while we caught up and perused the menu.

Starter choices (from £4.95 for the soup to £8.95) include a locally smoked salmon and prawn cocktail with pea and mint puree, or moulles mariniere cooked in white wine cream onions.

Non-fish fans could opt for truffled wild mushroom risotto or pressed and spiced pork terrine with pineapple and ginger chutney.

Swerving the starters, we decided to go straight for the main course with the hope of saving room for dessert later.

Again the choices were traditional but definitely with the added twist as promised.

Seabass is trimmed up with queen scallops, mussels and truffled fish cream while locally smoked haddock is teamed with bubble and squeak and a poached egg.

There is, of course, more predictable pickings like braised beef in black sheep ale with caremalised onion mash, or good old Whitby fish and chips.

We both opted for pan fried Yorkshire chicken, truffled mash and the creamy and tarragon reduction.

When it arrived it was a fairly impressive and mouth-watering sight with obvious attention to detail in the way it was presented on the plate.

The piece of chicken was huge and cooked perfectly while the creamy sauce complemented it. The spring vegetables amounted to a sprinkling of beans and peas – at £14.95 would it be too much to expect a portion of veg without having to order as an extra?

That said, we were not left feeling hungry but still managed to order desserts, which also seem a bit steep on the price at £6.95 each. We went for hazelnut chocolate torte with white chocolate ice cream and sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. Both were clearly home-made and delicious, and the portion sizes were just right.

What direction the revamped Bagdale Hall restaurant will take in future who knows, but it is certainly on the right lines.

The atmosphere, service and setting were all just right and for a place that dates back to the 1500s the menu is the right mix of traditional and experimental. The quality of the food couldn’t be faulted with the price being the only thing sticking in the throat.