Staycation: The Alice Hawthorn, Nun Monkton
by Abigail Spooner
Where is it?
In the enchanting village of Nun Monkton (halfway between York and Harrogate), which lies remotely at the end of a long country lane. Quintessentially English with its serene duck pond on the sprawling village green, phone box library and free roaming cows, it feels like the scene from a Jane Austen novel.
What’s the accommodation like?
Our recently renovated room above the pub is tastefully decorated with an inviting armchair in the corner, which I sink into whilst munching on the homemade oaty biscuits that have been left for us. The neutral colour palette is anything but twee and lends an instantly calming effect after a long drive. A large bathtub stands proud in the centre of the bathroom, with the option of a luxurious walk-in rainfall shower too.
What did you eat and drink?
We begin the evening in style with a tart rhubarb Bellini while we browse the seasonal food menu; it has a strong Yorkshire influence peppered with modern touches. Succulent scallops arrive baked in their shells and bathed in an oozing Gruyère and cheddar sauce with a crisp gratinated top. As I lift my fork from the pool of cheese, it stretches out in front of me in the most tempting and delicious way. I mop up every morsel with hunks of bread, scraping the shells with greed. Mum enjoys a starter of tempura-battered ‘popcorn prawns’, dunking them one by one into a flavoursome sweet chilli and wasabi mayo.
It isn’t often that guinea fowl graces restaurant menus, so I always order it when I can. Here it’s pan-roasted to perfection with earthy morel mushrooms and doesn’t disappoint. The fondant potato is golden and buttery, while baby leeks and a minted pea purée add freshness. Mum tucks into Yorkshire Dales lamb, and I make sure I steal a taster of the mouth-watering crispy braised belly from her plate.
For dessert, we decide to share a strawberry Eton mess with fragrant basil sorbet and a cinnamon-infused crema catalana, which has just the right amount of custardy wobble and is pierced with crisp almond shards.
What is there to do?
The oh-so indulgent scallop starter.
Sainsbury’s magazine insider tip
Choose one of the garden rooms if you prefer a contemporary, design-led feel, or one of the four pub rooms for classical Grade II-listed charm.
How to book
Rooms at The Alice Hawthorn start from £120 per night for pub rooms and £140 per night for garden rooms, including breakfast. For more information, visit thealicehawthorn.com.