MALTON has in recent years begun to earn itself something of a reputation as a foodie’s playground packed as it is with cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants all competing for a slice of the action.

The town, vaunted by Antonio Carluccio as Yorkshire’s food capital, has upped its game in terms of what it has to offer diners, so we had high hopes when stopped by The New Malton for a spot of lunch with the family.

The cosy pub sits on the corner of the busy Market Place and when we arrived at gone noon on a Friday it was bustling with chatter.

Before we get underway with the meal I will just say that we came in for the day from York and easily found parking – free for two hours - just outside, but had we come by bus or train, there are regular services for both just a short walk away.

No sooner had we stepped foot inside than a friendly waitress showed us to seats in the window and furnished us with menus which are clearly refreshed daily as they were headed with the date. We ordered drinks straight away – nothing exciting – two cokes (£2.50 each), a diet coke (£2.20) and a sparkling water (£1.80) and got stuck in to the menu. At a glance I counted 13 mains which ranged in price from £10.50 for honey roast ham, egg and chips up to £17.95 for the pan fried hake with peas, crayfish arancini and salsa verde, so we’re not talking cheap fare, but there was plenty of choice including a wide variety of sharing boards, sandwiches and starters.

As it was lunchtime I decided to skip the starters and go for a main with the hope of saving myself for pudding. I plumped for the lamb’s shoulder ‘shepherd’s pie’ which came with applewood mash, their own baked beans and HP sauce gravy and broccoli (£14.50). I was told that it was their take on a shepherd’s pie and came in a pastry case rather than the traditional method. And when it arrived it was indeed more of a pie, packed with delicious chunks of lamb and finished off with a gooey applewood smoked cheese topper that added extra depth of flavour. It was proper Autumn food served piping hot with crisp broccoli working well with the HP gravy and the tasty beans.

Jordan opted for the sage waffles (£5.75) and homemade chips (£2.50) from the starters menu and, as it turned out he was glad of the chips he’d ordered on the side as the waffle was only four or five mouthfuls of food. Perfect as a starter but a little on the small side for lunch on its own. He said the waffle itself was a very tasty, herby base for the rich peanut butter and butternut squash puree topping it, cut through with a splurge of chilli jam. A mix of seeds added an exciting extra texture to the dish. He said it was delicious and were it not for the chips (which incidentally were very good), he I could’ve eaten two of the waffles. Peter went for the potted rabbit (£6), also from the starters menu. He thought that the rabbit and pork mixture very tasty, but the sesame cracker was his least favourite thing about the dish.

Meanwhile Lynn went for a chicken, thyme mayonnaise and iceberg lettuce sandwich (£5.75), a more traditional lunchtime choice with salad served beside which she called out as being unusually good.

I needed a breather before moving on to afters, which was just as well as we struggled to choose from the range of puddings which all sounded very tempting. I went for dark chocolate delice with boozy cherries, liquorice and forest fruit ice-cream and cinder toffee (£5.50). When it arrived the square of thick, rich delice and plump cherries disappeared surprisingly quickly and were, it has to be said, perfection. The toffee and the ice-cream I found surplus to requirement with one getting stuck in my teeth and the other leaving me struggling to remember what flavour it was.

Jordan went for the sticky toffee pudding (£5.50) - a spécialité de la maison and he said he could appreciate why. The pudding came on a toffee sauce with ice-cream beside. He said it was a formidable size but just the right density for his taste and, unusually for this desert, it managed to bring all the flavour out without too much sweetness. Although he did say he’d have loved the option to have had this with custard.

Peter had a raspberry and white chocolate sundae (£7) which came in a tall glass but was a little closer to a trifle. He said he enjoyed it very much but thought that a few fresh raspberrys would have lifted it to the next level.

Lynn went for barra brith (£5.50), a traditional welsh tea time treat which literally translated means mottled bread. This interpretation was very rich, packed with fruit and came with malted milk ice-cream and a topping of caramelised banana. We all had a taste of this and it was a favourite.

Slightly pricier than your average pub, The New Malton provides imaginative and creative dishes alongside excellent standard pub fare. The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable and given how busy it was on a weekday afternoon, it clearly has built up well-deserved reputation. Our total food bill minus drinks came to £60.50.

The New Malton

2-4 Market Place, Malton YO17 7LX

T: 01653 693998


Food: Creative stars 4

Ambience: Cosy stars 3

Service: Friendly stars 4

Value: Good stars 3

Reviews are independent and paid for by The Press