MAXINE GORDON and family sample Sunday lunch at a revamped pub on the outskirts of York

WHAT does half a million pounds buy you these days?

Well for local businessmen Richard Brosenitz and Roger Mann, it was enough to turn the former The Windmill & Turnpike pub in Dunnington into a smart and modern eaterie called Twine & Barrel.

Newly opened on the A1079, the T&B (as I'll call if for shorthand purposes) has tempting culinary credentials with former BBC MasterChef finalist Dan Graham heading up the kitchen team.

The large venue, with ample car parking, offers all-day dining, Sunday lunches and a bar menu. We had booked ahead for Sunday lunch and there were four of us, spanning three generations.

My teenage daughter was following a vegan diet and was sulking in the short car journey from central York to Dunnington that there wasn't much at the pub for her to eat (she was reading the menu online). However, on arrival, the waitress informed us that there was a vegan offer: hummous to start and a sweet potato chilli for a main. Granted it wasn't the most adventurous of choices, but my daughter was appeased and enjoyed each dish.

The pub is divided into several areas where you can eat and drink. We sat in a light and airy glass extension at the back; I was grateful for the radiator under the window frame which kept me cosy throughout the meal.

Do have a wander through the pub, though. The interiors are lovely, and the back room – en route to the loos – is a compete contrast to the bright dining room. Here you will find dark wood and cosy furnishings, with lots of tartan in pretty shades of purple – all carefully crafted by local designer Rachel McLane (who was responsible for The Star Inn the City's look). I particularly loved the wallpaper featuring bookcases, lending the room the feel of an antiquated library.

But back to the food. The lunch menu, which was served from noon until 7pm, had a choice of four starters, six mains, and four desserts, priced individually but also at two courses for £20 or three courses for £25.

As reviewing rules dictate we have to sample different dishes, there was a fair bit of haggling over who was having what. No-one fancied the soup, but the other three choices were equally tempting to all of us: a pressing of ham hock with piccalilli and toasted sourdough; twice baked Fountain's Gold cheese soufflé with spinach and chive cream sauce, and smoked salmon with granary bread.

Happily all three were good, with special praise going to the soufflé from my husband, Nick, who said it was "lovely and light with great flavours".

My father-in-law couldn't fault the ham dish: the pieces of meat were generous in size, with a soft texture and just salty enough. It went a dream with the chunky and tangy piccalilli that we assumed was homemade.

My smoked salmon starter was good, lifted above the ordinary by a mouth-pleasing mustard and dill dressing. I had to ask for more bread to eat it with, and this came promptly with a pat of butter.

On to mains and Nick went for the traditional roast, choosing pork over beef and turkey. The outstanding part of this dish was the gravy. It was dark and glossy and wickedly salty and Nick couldn't have praised it more. The pork was thick cut and Nick thought it was slightly overcooked. The Yorkshire pudding and accompanying veg, however, were note perfect.

Grandad Mike had picked another winner with his baked supreme of corn-fed chicken, which came with truffle mash, and a sauce laced with pancetta and shallot. Everything, he said, had been cooked perfectly, and the plate was left clean.

I toyed with the veggie option of cauliflower risotto with roasted cauliflower and tempura cauliflower, but swung at the last minute for the baked salmon en croute. I had no regrets, as again, this was an enjoyable dish – a meaty hunk of pink fish covered in dill and a very thin casing of pastry and lashings of creamy lemon and parsley sauce. I really enjoyed the pile of crushed potatoes on the side which I mashed further with the sauce to create little forkfuls of yumminess!

We were full after two rounds – except Grandad, who tucked into apple crumble and custard. This was rather nice: the Bramley apple cooked down to a Mr Kipling-like gloopiness and covered in a crunchy topping. We liked how the custard came in a separate jug and how the sauce was peppered with flecks of vanilla.

All in all, we decided we liked the T&B and would return. Our bill for the four of us, including a round of drinks, came to £92, which we though was fair.

Service was good and friendly – although, like in many places, we were left waiting for ages at the end to pay the bill, which is a bit of a bugbear of mine.

The T&B is definitely a boost to the local area. Not only does it provide a new bar and restaurant, there is a dedicated event space with wi-fi connection that is available for business meetings, functions and workshops, and for special occasions and private parties.

The team behind the venture need praise – and our support – for bringing an old pub back to life. At a time when pubs are closing at record levels, this has to be a move in the right direction.

Twine & Barrel, Hull Road, Dunnington, York, YO19 5LP

T: 01904 488227


Food: tasty 4/5

Ambience: modern 4/5

Service: Friendly 4/5

Value: Good 3.5/5

Reviews are independent and meals paid for by The Press