Wednesday 11 April 2007

The Star at Scampston, near Malton, North Yorkshire

Throughout the spring and summer, well-heeled Yorkshire gardeners gather for lunch at the indoor or outdoor tables in this restaurant adjoined to a large, recently-restored walled garden belonging to neighbouring Scampston Hall. For £13-a-head, diners can help themselves to a buffet offering succulent slices of rare beef, ham and pork pie, supplemented by an unusual, but appealing range of salads, pasta dishes, fruit, bread and cheeses. Equally-fine sandwiches and soups are available a la carte and can be washed down with a glass of chilled wine, British beers, cider and soft drinks. Warm and engaging service makes everyone from doddery pensioners to dysfunctional young families feel welcome, while the luxurious lavatories are equipped with a range of upmarket Molton Brown toiletries. Strolling the Walled-Garden, which costs £5-a-head, is a treat for serious gardeners, but others should probably skip it unless it is late spring or early summer when the flowerbeds will be flush with colour. 8/10