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Cow And Calf, Ilkley
Graham Clark, Features Writer
There cannot be many places in Yorkshire that have a more breathtaking and beautiful view than that from the Cow and Calf in Ilkley.

The pub come restaurant come hotel has recently had a refurbishment and on a sunny September evening with the autumn sun setting over the famous rocks, from which the pub takes its name, you realise why they call Yorkshire God's County. Even the view from the toilets on the first floor is stunning.

When we arrived a mixture of walkers, hotel guests and casual passers by were sat outside enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. As you might expect the place is dog friendly with even a bowl of biscuits at the ready placed strategically by the door for your canine friend.

The establishment is set in two parts when you enter, to your right is the area where dogs are allowed whereas to the left is the restaurant area where dogs are not allowed.

Wherever you sit, it's a cosy place with a warm welcoming atmosphere.

On a weekend they offer a Weekend Treat menu with two courses for £23.00 or three courses for £27.00, both options include drinks for two or a bottle of wine to share.

We decided to try something off the main menu. All the dishes are freshly prepared by the skilled teams of chefs. There is also a vegan menu too.

The menu is extensive with mains ranging from the daily specials and regulars such as Hunters Chicken, Wild Mushrooom Risotto, Hand Made Lobster Fishcakes and Fish and Chips.

Our shared starter of stone baked Flatbread topped with garlic butter and a very tasty mature cheddar cheese was not too soggy, not greasy and tasted excellent.

My rich beef and red wine lasagne was one of the days specials, served with either a choice of side salad or triple cooked chips. The lasagne was served piping hot and tasted nearly as good as the view outside. I could imagine if you had been walking on the moors all day this temptingly delicious dish would be the perfect end to a perfect day.

Slow cooked belly pork
My partner chose the slow cooked belly pork served with dauphinois potatoes, green beans, courgettes, honey roasted carrots and an elderflower and blackberry juice. Priced at £15.95 it was served very thoughtfully presented. The belly pork itself was tender and cooked to perfection. Unfortunately though the green beans were limp and luke warm, the carrots too seemed to have been drowned in honey rather than glazed. The manager though did take the issue on board and gave our comments to the chef.

My pudding of sticky toffee pudding came with a choice of ice cream or custard. Seeing as most places these days do not offer custard it had to be the choice for me. A sweet, seriously sticky delight with a light not heavy feel to the pudding, it did not disappoint.

Eton Mess
My partner's Eton Mess was creamy and full of strawberries. Few dishes say more about summer than Eton Mess and for a few moments it seemed summer had returned.

By now the restaurant had gone from young families to couples dining together and a mix of young and more mature diners.

There could have not have been a better feeling than leaving feeling full and having enjoyed a nice meal and taking in the rolling Yorkshire countryside and moors. It felt too that you had been out for a proper meal.

It felt upmarket without being stuffy and it is somewhere we would return to again.

Cow and Calf, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley LS29 8BT
https://www.vintageinn.co.uk/restaurants/yorkshire/thecowandcalfilkley

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Cow And Calf, Ilkley, 14th September 2019, 10:45 AM