An historic drovers inn in one of North Yorkshire’s most picturesque villages will reopen in November.
The Owl at Hawnby, near Helmsley, is a hidden gem in the heart of the North York Moors National Park and will be run by Yorkshire-born chef Sam Varley and his team.
Sam is chef and co-owner of Bantam, the Michelin-acclaimed restaurant in Helmsley.
It was described as “fantastic” by neighboring Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks in the Guardian. Bantam is now also listed in the top 100 local restaurants nationwide in the Good Food Guide.
After working everywhere from Australia to Scotland to Soho, London, Sam launched Bantam three years ago.
Now he is looking forward to his new challenge – reviving The Owl. “I love pubs and I’m concerned about the rate at which they close,” he said.
“I’m excited to help to preserve such a fantastic one in such an amazing location.
“The food and drink that I will be serving at the Owl will help to maintain and enhance one of the loveliest pubs in Yorkshire.
“It will be covering all bases, from walkers coming in for a pint and a snack, to guests staying for dinner and bed and breakfast. Everyone will be treated to the warmest of welcomes and tremendous food.
“There will be a clear distinction between the bar snacks and the full restaurant menu, but all our food will be created in-house and served with the same attention to detail and care we take at Bantam.”
He said the potential at the Owl was “amazing”, and many of the ingredients for the menu would be sourced locally.
It will serve Bantam’s take on pub classics such as pies – think pheasant and bacon, for example – and the house cheeseburger with chips.
Sam’s menus will include delights such as ham hock and game terrine, with pickles and sourdough toast; monkfish scampi and tartare sauce; devilled kidneys on toast; Barnsley chop, puy lentils and green sauce; roast cod, girolles and beans; and pot roast grouse with trimmings.
To follow, if there’s room, there might be damson sorbet; steamed lemon sponge and custard; or chilled rice pudding with poached blackberries and oat crumble.
Jamie Savile, from Mexborough Estates, said: ““I am very confident that Sam’s move to the Owl will be a tremendous success, making the most of the inn’s enormous potential.
“We want the Owl to remain the heart of the village, where everyone from villagers and local farmers to visiting fell runners, cyclists and hikers rub shoulders with the shooting parties, gourmets and beer enthusiasts.
“All can expect superb hospitality, great Yorkshire food and beer. We can’t wait to get started and make the Owl a proper pub for everyone to enjoy.”
For more updates, see the Owl at Hawnby’s Instagram.