Review: The Box Tree, Ilkley

I’ve banged on about the place enough times by now for folk to know that I’m a Box Tree acolyte, so I’ll keep this to the point and swerve any onerous ‘gags’ about dipping into chocolate boxes or drenching mi’sen in the complimentary free aftershave. (Fig flavoured Acqua di Parma on this visit; masculine yet fresh.)

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With the welcome rise of informal gaffs flinging out value-for-money chow, some might view the Box Tree as a bit starchy or old-school: staff are dapper, carpets are thick, they’ll pour the wine ta-very-much.

But as a treat I’m well into the sense of occasion knocking about the place; paintings by artists I’ve never heard of; thick walls enveloping you from the mean streets of Ilkley; the – remember these? – actual tablecloths.

Worth pointing out, too, that we’ve become royally sloshed and “a bit chatty” on each of our visits & at no point did it look like we’d get booted out. It might come under the dreary umbrella of “fine dining”, but you’re still allowed to have a good swill.

A smoked salmon and pickled crab starter was nice enough but perhaps a touch mild-mannered; either the crab needed more sousing or the plate needed more crab in order to get the full pickly thwack. No shortage of flavour on that good, snappy, sourdough, though; and the salmon was a luxurious slab.

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Hats off to whoever was on pork duty; this was as juicy and flavoursome as I’ve had, and an indication as to where some of your extra £££ goes.

As blasphemous as it might sound, I’m not that arsed about Yorkshire puddings – these were so-so –  but crunchy-soft roast potatoes were, like the meat, an upgrade on my own. (I’m exaggerating there, mine are fucking mint, but I do refer to them as “like the Box Tree’s”, even if nobody else does.)

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Pre-dessert, natch. Refreshing and light.

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A warm, velvety rum and raisin souffle with milk & honey ice cream.

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And, better, a decadent wodge of ‘chocolate brownie’; actually more like a high end version of the plastic pot of chocolate cheesecake I’d neck as a kid: a Good Thing.

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You’ll cough up £37.50 for the Sunday Stuff here, a good 10-15 quid more than, say, the Reliance in Leeds or Manchester’s TNQ.

I reckon, particularly for a special occasion, it’s worth it. Particularly if, like me, you’re a sad bastard who still gets excited about Going To A Nice Restaurant.

The lunch and evening menus, munificent both on portion size & on wallet, are a good way in.

Twit me up.

Box Tree website

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