Some friends gave us a £10 meal voucher for the Bruce Arms and as we were scoping out the Tour de France route we booked for a Saturday evening meal.
There are just two pubs in this small village north of Ripon and the Bruce Arms car park is quite small.However, there is a large free car park across the road junction from the pub.
There are two dining rooms adjacent to the entrance, the one on the left where we were eating is very pleasant and cosy.We were welcomed and had a drink at the small bar and perused the menu.Choices were quite limited,fine for me but my wife likes a wider choice. To me, a limited menu suggests all the dishes will be expertly cooked, and so it proved.
We ordered calamari and chicken livers to start, fillets of sole and sea bass with asparagus for mains. The menu did have extra items to showcase local asparagus, a nice touch.
We were seated and given bread and marinated olives straight away ( a previous reviewer seemed to be upset by the lack of bread,so perhaps he has had an effect!).
The food was very good, cooked within view of the kitchen from the dining room - always a sign of confidence - the livers being especially good. A nice touch was a large jug of iced water for the designated driver.
As is so often the case, the veg portions were a little mean which is disappointing within season at a rural restaurant. After commenting on this we were told that more was available for the asking, but many people don't like to ask.
Although the voucher we had said no bank holidays and this was a bank holiday we were allowed to use it and the two staff on duty coped remarkably well with everybody.
West Tanfield would be a good spot to view the Tour as the cyclist would traverse the crossroad presumably slowing down a bit, and there will be adequate car parking.Roads close about 9 am and the riders probably arrive between 4 and 5 pm but the Bruce Arms are doing a lobster lunch at£125 a head.
The village and the pub are attractive places in a rural setting and we enjoyed our experience there -well recommended.
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