Like a bird

After wondering for a month or so what was happening to the beloved old Box Tree, we've finally got news that Simon Guellar has bought out the lease from Madame Avis. It's where he started out, of course, and he's done a few recent stints there. Madame Avis has presumably decided to maintain her investments elsewhere in the town. We await with everything bated to see what he does with the place. What with this, Greco's changing hands, India the elephant opening and The Crescent with its sub-airport revamp, there are exciting times ahead. No, I really mean that.

More corruption

I note from the talented chatiry another tale of Ickley corruption...a councillor attemtping to gain entry to a concert by using his position. Now, this really doesn't surprise, it's the sort of petty corruption people in the town get used to. At the other end of the scale, I was amused to learn that when filming his now infamous Silsden piece, Gordon Ramsay's people had phoned up Tubby's asking for a table for six. 'No' was the short reply from the always unhelpful and argumentative Robin. Ten minutes later they phoned back, 'did you realise this was for Gordon Ramsay?' 'The answer's still no...' Came the reply. Rather ironic given Ramsay's own decalred hatred of queue jumpers....

India, the, uhhr, waste of space

It's been a long time coming but finally we have India, the Restaurant opening in Station Plaza, where the much missed Condotti's used to turn away potential customers on Sundays 'because they'd run out of food, and were having to make a special trip to Tescos'. Like the venue of Greco's, this site is turning out to be rather cursed for eateries. It's not even as if Ilkley needs another curry house--it's got three proper ones already and another couple of take-aways. Surely a good pizzeria (like Condottis but with ingredients), a Mexican, or even something a little more off the beaten track, would fill a gap. But, no, another curry house it is. But, judging from first impressions, India the restaurant (useful helper that descriptor--just in case you thought India the sub-continent had decided to relocate itself from the Himalayas to beside the Skipton line, which would obviously be an easy mistake to make) is not going to last very long. Okay, it looks nice, with the waterfall and so on. But the service is already starting to attract opprobium...within a week of opening, I've already heard three tales of parties waiting over an hour for service, being ignored when trying to pay (a fairly basic mistake), and bookings being lost. There's more over on ilkley-more. The best way of describing the staff would be 'ignorant'. Something to do with thinking they've already impressed through parking up the Mercs outside. Maybe they're taking Ilkley for granted, assuming they have to do nothing and they will still make money. A waiter at another Ilkley curry house described being asked over for an interview. When he arrived, he was completely ignored by the people who'd asked him over. It became obvious that they (the staff) were also ignoring the customers when one of said customers wandered over to ask said waiter from competing curry house for help. Hey, personally, I find that if people don't want to take youor money, the best thing to do is just leave.

Ilkley Eating

Someone's been getting here today by way of google (where I'm now on the third page for some reason)where they've been searching for Ilkley restaurants. So, for their benefit, the current listing from best to worst goes: 1. Farsyde--one trick pony, but done well 2. Tubby Wadlow's--struggling to find its feet after Andy left, but make a fine Martini 3. The Thai--on Church Street, which I can never remember the name of. 4. Bar T'at. I kid you not, great pub food. 5. The Box Tree. Great when they have a guest like Guellar there, otherwise over-priced, over attentive and just nowhere near as good as they think they are. 6. Betty's. Over-priced, but, hey, that's not why you go 7. The Greekish place on Railway Road. 8. Cow and Calf--plummetting downwards 9. Steps--the worst eating experience (and I went back for more!) I've had in Wharfedale. And Greco's would be about here if it was still open. Or you could go to Addingham to The Swan for Sausages n Mash. Or Bolton Abbey, where the Devonshire would top the list above food-wise at least. I've left out the curry houses (Jaipur Spice is the best till the weekend at least), the fsh chip takeaways (Olicana is the best), and the Chinese (Po Sang I guess). I also haven't eaten at The Yard yet... Course if you want the best of the best of the best, take a trip to Leeds and go to Anthony's, rapidly being seen as one of the top in the country...

Cowardly calf

and, while we're gustationising, it's been amusing to see the new landlord of the Cow and Calf doing something special for every feast day of the year. St. George's Day they think it's really important to do a themed event...Leap Day it's a free meal for the first couple to use it to propose (like you would) in the pub. Perhaps he's missed the basic lessons of restaurant school. It's not about the free offers and the free publicity. It's about good food, good service and having a good time. Like it used to be at the c n c. And not about the currently abysmal chow and ever worsening service (someone please slap those teenagers who pretend to be interested in bringing food to the table...)

Nouveau Ickley

and while I'm on the food front, it seems that Tubby's is following in Farsyde's footsteps. Up until Andy left to do Treacle Moon, I'd have to say Tubby's was just edging the race for best restaurant in Ickley. It's suffered a bit since he's gone, but the current chef now seems to be stamping his authority on the menu (rather than just doing a greatest hits from past years). Unfortunately, his authority seems to involve the one-trick pony Gavin has been riding at the Farsyde for the past half-decade; fruit with everything. So we get steak with an apricot sauce, red snapper with berry jus, and on and on. The current Tubby menu has nothing that doesn't combine meat and fruit, and neither does Farsyde (leaving aside fish and veggie). What is this fascination with this combination? Were all the chefs dropped in a tray of sweet n'sour when they were kids? Or is it the birth of an Ickley style of eating? Frankly, none of this stuff is exactly El Bulli is it? Still, at least it's not been deep frozen and then warmed through in a microwave. Steps--bringing canteen cooking back to life.

effing Sils-effing-den

Surprised that yorkshiresoul hasn't commented on the Gordon Ramsay prog, given YS's a chef (not to mention a fifth level paladin or thereabouts...) There was a lot of fuss afterwards, principally from people complaining he'd treated Silsden residents badly, and portrayed them as oafs. No comment from me on whether they might be, but personally, I thought he was more than nice to them. Silsden is a 'quaint town' as he described it, almost pretty. But it's not ready for the nouveau revolution. Never mind Heston's latest extravaganza. Ramsay seemed almost sympathetic to the people he was talking too, and I get the feeling this is another case of the meejah complaining rather too much. It was something of a surprise to me that the average resident of Silsden would be happy to pay £8-95 for a pie. Must be more money there than I thought. And, as someone, who likes his food, I have to say how encouraging it was to see Ramsay literally shaking with anger at the state of the kitchen at the end--actually devoured with passion about the possibility of poisoning someone. Does set one to wondering what the kitchens at most places in the dale are like...if food inspectors are as rare as policepersons, we're in for a fine old diarrhetic summer.

Treacle Moon

Which definitely sounds like a damn fine jazz track (either from Louis and his Hot Five or the sort of Miles Kind of Blue days).

What it is, though, is a damn fine deli. Bread, pies, ice cream (including the finest chilli ice cream) made on the premises by young Andy, who is the ex-Chef of Tubby's.

Compared to the Rocky Deli, the service is friendly, the cheeses are tops (and so are the meats the carnivores in the family tell me), and he does catering too.

He even made me a pie specially for xmas dinner. So this is by way of payback.

Just opposite Lishman's too...

The phrase comes from, I believe, Byron, who, when asked how his honeymoon went, replied, 'Call it rather a treacle moon'.