A former seventeenth-century riverside coaching inn set on the cusp of Yorkshire’s most up and coming foodie town, The Talbot in Malton is a thriving farm-to-table restaurant with rooms, and the perfect cosy winter getaway.
Coaching inns have provided the perfect stopping point for travellers for the past 300 years at least. In 1740, the Talbot was converted from a hunting lodge to coaching inn, and it welcomed plenty of high-fliers, along with locals, rogues and runaways. Since its revamp, it continues to welcome high-fliers, and stays firmly a place where you want to dress well and, perhaps, behave badly.
THE PACKING EDIT
I’ve always been a firm believer in the importance of first impressions, and The Talbot was on point. The key hotel resident canine Bruce, a lazy bulldog, provides a warm greeting to make you feel at home straight away. The reception at this recently renovated Georgian lodge is a softly candlelit welcome, with muted green and grey walls giving the hotel a homey feel throughout. Along the corridor, wide sash windows give panoramic views of the rolling green meadows and snaking River Derwent below, whilst pastel-hued armchairs invite guests to lounge fireside in the cosy communal areas.
The capital of Ryedale, Malton sits in a wide valley that marries the moors and sea. A location made famous as the place Dickens penned ‘A Christmas Carol’, it was just another struggling market town until 10 years ago.
That’s when Tom Neylor-Leyland, heir to the Fitzwilliam Estate, came onto the scene with the purpose of re-inventing Malton as Yorkshire’s Foodie Capital, a town abundant with fish and fowl. Having noticed how popular the local bounty was in London’s Borough Market, Tom set about to re-vamp the town and introduce a monthly food market – now celebrated as Yorkshire’s best.
Meandering our way up the staircase to our cosy room, we pass walls adorned with a mix of oil paintings and abstract line drawings – splicing the traditional with contemporary flourishes for a modern country club feel. Inside our bedroom – a deep indigo-blue oak-panelled room – a king size bed and mustard-yellow velvet headboard are cleverly coupled with rustic, mismatched wooden furniture.
The décor here is resolutely laid-back yet achingly chic, creating a bohemian-pile-meets-country-estate type vibe. The bathroom is well-stocked with locally-made complimentary bath products, and a rainfall shower adds to the indulgence of the experience.
The Talbot is at the forefront of Malton’s revival foodie scene. The restaurant’s culinary offering is spectacular, with seasonal ingredients such as local game and seafood holding front and centre stage. Of particular note was the freshly picked crab on toast with mayonnaise, fennel and dill salad – the perfect light and refreshing starter to begin our three-course meal.
The restaurant’s speciality, an exquisite twice-baked dale end cheddar soufflé with spinach and grain mustard, is worth unbuckling your belt for, before feasting on local produce with their fillet of Yorkshire Beef and Béarnaise sauce, hand-cut chips and watercress salad. The bar’s drinks menu is also worthy of high praise, with their signature English Garden cocktail winning first prize – a delicate concoction of locally made gin, pressed apples and elderflower.
At breakfast, which is well above average, hot dishes are served at the table from a short menu, including delicious devilled kidneys, and fruits, cereals, pastries and cheeses from the buffet.
Besides the bar and restaurant, there is also a private function space – a majestically high-ceilinged room with a beautiful long wooden dining table often used for feasts and parties, and deer antlers hanging grandly on each wall. The Talbot’s gastronomy scene doesn’t end at its hotel, however; there is also Talbot Yard, a community of artisan foodies just a stones throw away from the main lodge. Found in the old red-brick stable yard across the road, Talbot Yard is made up of a gin distillery, coffee roastery, gelateria, baker and friendly butcher who talks me through exactly where each cut has come from that day (no meat, incredibly, is from further than 10 miles away).
Take a slice of foodie expertise away with you? Malton Cookery School is surrounded by some of the UK’s best artisanal makers and food producers. They specialise in game, seafood and baking and how to put on a perfect dinner party.
As the flagship of Made in Malton artisanal food production, it’s clear that Talbot Yard and its neighbouring restaurant-with-rooms are spearheading this town’s return to the map – surely aided by Bruce the bulldog, who is likely bringing in his own fair share of visitors to the town too.