The Old Bridge Inn claims credit as Yorkshire’s oldest
hostelry, its first recorded date being 1307.
It also has some notability as the home of the Pork Pie Appreciation Society
and its annual tasting competition.
There’s a hardcore of just nine men in the society, yet their group is
recognised as one of the foremost authorities on pork pies. Guess what?
There was no pork pie on the menu when we visited to eat during one recent
lunchtime. But there was a wonderful cheese and onion pie, with a
delightful crispy pastry and tasty filling.
It was absolutely gorgeous. If they had a competition for these, this
would have been a winner.
On a chilly day as the year turns into autumn, we were pleased to see
an open fire in this old inn. It set a welcome tone for our first
It’s a cute little place, with old beams and good old Timothy
Taylor’s on tap, plus a range of guest real ales. A bit of heaven
for a beer buff.
The appearance is of an old-fashioned pub-restaurant, rather
than’ a ponced-up modern interpretation. And three cheers to
Walking in to the Old Bridge on a Wednesday, we were surprised
to learn that they might have difficulty squeezing us in.
Luckily they could, although we might well be inclined to book
ahead for a future meal here. Now, being a bit of a glutton and
a scoffer, I’ve always been one who doesn’t see salad as
real food. What is there to chomp into, I always think.
So I inwardly sighed and had a bit of a heavy heart when I saw
that the weekday lunchtime menu at the Old Bridge is either
“super sandwiches” or salad buffet. Was I just going to
have lettuce and tomato?
Ah well, at least I wasn’t going to suffer from menu
overload like you do at the sort of place where they have an
unsettling number of starters and mains on offer.
As we sat at our table with our drinks (a pint of ale for
me from the Hawkshead brewery in Ambleside and a glass of
decent chardonnay for my wife), I eyed the salad bar
suspiciously. With the benefit of that wonderful thing,
hindsight, I wondered later why I had worried. A bit like
a born-again convert to religion, I am now an evangelist
for salad after this lunch.
Done properly, with the right components and caring home
cooking, it’s a wonderful thing. For £10.50 each we
could walk up and fill our plates as often and
as much as we wanted and also have a soup or dessert.
As we are pudding people, we decided to pass on
straight to the mains after first declining the offer
of bread for our table.
The aforementioned cheese and onion pie was about
the first to be put on the plate, looking as
tempting as it did.
Other things we could have had all right, we did
were beef, ham, scotch eggs, quiche, potato salad,
celery salad, nice looking lettuce and tomatoes
and other salad bite I’ve no idea where they
sourced the beef and barn but the meat had been
exceedingly well prepared by the kitchen, whose
busy woman we could spy through the open door.
Likewise, the scotch eggs had been taken seriously
and given love by their maker. Somehow, we had to
find room for dessert after our feast.
And we’re glad we did as our homemade apple
and blackberry crumble and sticky toffee pudding
maintained the high standards. We chose to have
them with a nice custard. We were strangers to
this pub, but made to feel more than welcome by
a lady who does the place proud. We didn’t
have to rush with the meal.
You can eat at the Old Bridge very well. And
In the evenings and at weekends the meals
revert to blackboard specials and we’ll be
there again to try these in the not too
distant future, no doubt.
Before you ask, there is a vegetarian
option to the salad buffet.