My crime? Lick the plate clean. I could not resist. At the sight of the whole restaurant, I brought it to my face and gorged myself on the sauce. Not once, but three times. A seven course tasting menu and I licked the plate after three of them. For shame.
My only defense is that the food we enjoyed on an unhurried evening in super comfortable surroundings was truly quite extraordinary. If you could have tasted it, you too would have licked your plate. You think you could have resisted the temptation, but I’m here to tell you that you’re lying to yourself. It would take superhuman powers to resist, which is very fitting as the Man of Steel himself was sitting in the same seat as me a few days before.
The sequel to the famous Netflix movie Enola Holmes was shot in beautiful Old Town Hull and the cast and crew stayed for a week at the Tickton Grange Hotel, where Hide is located. Henry Cavill – the current Hollywood Superman – was among them, enjoying food every night worthy of Krypton’s last survivor. No one saw him lick his plate, but I think he probably snuck to the nearest phone booth to clean his intimate dishes out of sight of ordinary mortals.
Tasting menus are a relatively recent arrival at Hide. After the departure (after more than 30 remarkable years) of chef David Nowell, the new co-chefs, Callum Williams and James Pulford, decided to take a new direction. They’ve kept the best bits of Tickton’s culinary tradition – local ingredients from East Riding and hyper-local ingredients from the hotel gardens – and have taken cooking in their own direction. Oxymoronically simple yet complex, most dishes are based on the three ingredients listed on the menu. You find yourself thinking that the lessons will be a little basic, but they are anything but.
Have Halsham pork, HU17 greens and apples. Nothing in this description hints at the skill in balancing the flavors of the crispy rectangular pork croquettes, raw ham, apple dumplings and the pile of roasted onions mounted on kale. Add in a thick, rich juice and unidentified crispy chunks and you’ve got superb depth and texture to end up like a miniature version of the best Sunday dinner you’ve ever had.
Bridlington Lobster Tail, Isle of Wight Tomato, and Basil are simpler but no less amazing. The tastiest tomatoes I’ve tasted outside of Italy left the excellent lobster in the shade, so you end up wondering how it is possible to grow such luscious and delicious tomatoes in the UK.
A yuzu, mango and coconut dessert once again belies the apparent simplicity by being both sweet and crunchy and soft and fragrant. Yuzu (an East Asian fruit like a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine) is presented as two egg yolks, around which are arranged the other ingredients – and marigold flowers.
We were also served wonderful snacks filled with surprises (like candied duck leg candy and a superb local crab on a tapioca cracker) as a starter and we enjoyed other fantastic beef, cod and seafood dishes. strawberries, but space demands I move on to the best dish of the night. When it arrived on the table, I didn’t know what to do with it. Some sort of eclair coated in dark cream and sprinkled with what I could only guess to be tiny apple cubes and chocolate shavings or grated beef or some other imponderable. I really couldn’t tell. It turned out to be a generous finger of buttery sourdough with charcoal cheese cream, pickled kohlrabi and grated truffle. It tasted and smelled like autumn. In the nicest way imaginable, it reminded me of windfall leaves and parquet floors. The blend of these unusual and evocative flavors was perfect. If autumn has an essence, Callum and James absolutely captured it.
Quite honestly not much to see, but it turned out to be one of the most amazing plates I have ever tasted and on its own would make your trip to Tickton worthwhile. Of seven dishes, not a single bite was less than exquisite. This only convinces me that Hide at Tickton Grange is systematically overlooked by the public and the industry is a confusing aberration. How a place can stay this far under the radar for decades is an absolute mystery.
I checked my old reviews and found that Callum Williams’ talent had me excited as early as 2015, when he left Winteringham Fields and was cooking at Monks Walk in Beverley.
I am very happy to report now that Callum has found the perfect home for his abilities in Hide and I hope he and James will continue to make dishes suitable for plate lickers and superheroes for many years to come.
Hide away at the Tickton Grange Hotel & Restaurant, Tickton, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 9SH. Phone. : 01482 543666. www.ticktongrange.co.uk. Open from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., every day.