I’ve been meeting with a group of old mates from Leeds University for a number of years for an annual walking weekend, but this year I had offered to host the weekend in Staithes and take on a couple of stretches of the Cleveland Way.
I’d heard great reports about Restaurant 20 in Port Mulgrave from a number of people, but I had never been able to get in as they only took bookings 4 weeks in advance and have just 24 covers. With my pals all liking their food, I had diarised a call exactly 4 weeks before we had planned a Saltburn to Staithes walk and was relieved to get a table.
We turned up at 7pm and I was intrigued to see what the interior was like, remembering the location when it was a small village pub known as The Ship Inn. We were met by Sue (one of the owners) and shown into a light, homely front room, with a section of the room taken up by an open kitchen with a state of the art Josper grill, and her husband Jason and son preparing mackerel.
The menu changes each day but always has an unfussy seafood bias with a Mediterranean twist. The menu had a choice of 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts. I could have chosen everything from the menu but to start with I went for the lamb cutlet, olives, purple sprouting broccoli and wild garlic.
It was lovely, tender and the olive and garlic complimented the lamb perfectly.
The charred mackerel fillets with marinda tomato also was a popular choice with my pals. It went down very well.
For main course I went for the John Dory. I very rarely see this in restaurants these days and the fillet was cooked with a roasted pink fir apple potato, romano courgette, tomato and salsa rossa. Cooked perfectly, crispy skin and flakey fish with a sort of ratatouille finish. Delicious.
Some of the guys went for the Arctic Charr fillet with grilled polenta, swiss chard and anchovy and rosemary sauce. Again a crispy skin and sizeable fillet. It was also met with a big thumbs up.
There was a cheese choice with the desserts, but being greedy and justifying the decision by the number of calories we had burnt on our big walk, we went down the French route and all had a cheese course – a lovely Montgomery Welsh cheddar with quince. Very tasty and flavoursome.
As Gordon Gecko once said – “greed is good’, so we went for dessert as well as cheese. I went for the burnt cheesecake with gariguette strawberries – which was excellent. I did have food envy when I saw the Panna cotta with chocolate which three of the lads had. There were certainly no complaints.
The service throughout was exemplary, with Sue spending time to talk to us about the village, her and Jason’s story (they had run the popular Fox and Hounds restaurant in Goldsborough for 12 years) and the provenance of the food. It was a delightful, very personal experience. Never rushed and really a very special place.
Open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner and with a lunch sitting on Saturdays – I will definitely be back and my "old" pals had a wonderful evening..
To book a table - 01947 459647