Food & Drink: Not Italian, not a cafe, just a success: The right restaurant in the wrong county. Emily Green visits a riotous bistro in Cleveland where the locals queue up for a table

Yarm is a handsome market town in a corner of Cleveland that feels as if it ought to be in North Yorkshire. This may be because it used to be in North Yorkshire before suffering a bit of gerrymandering. Like too many British market towns, Yarm no longer has a market. It has a Safeway. Unlike most British market towns, however, it has a riotous restaurant serving good food - mainly to locals.

D P Chadwick's, described on its frontage as a 'licensed continental cafe', has a British ring, as if D P Chadwick might have invented liquorice allsorts or run a chain of ironmonger's. In fact, it refers to the restaurant's owner, Daryl Peter Chadwick, a 26-year-old ex-army parachutist from Darlington.

Mr Chadwick joined the Parachute Regiment at the age of 16, straight out of school. Ten years on, he would not recommend the army for everyone, especially himself. Within two years of joining, he was back in the North-east working in a succession of hotels and restaurants. When he opened Chadwick's in December 1992, he was aiming to create something along the lines of an Italian cafe. Well, it is not Italian and it is not a cafe, but he does have a raging success on his hands.

The large square room looks like any basic bistro; it is the casual charm of the owners and the lusty cheer of the customers that make it work. There are no bookings. Queues of locals, raring to eat and drink, form at the bar, where Mr Chadwick is the wizard with the corkscrew. Ask for something light and white and he may produce a decent bergerac for pounds 8.50. To be precise, a new-fangled 90 per cent semillon, 10 per cent sauvignon blanc blend from Hugh Ryman.

Bring binoculars to read the menu, written in small semi-cursive on a blackboard at the far end of the bar. Or simply take the first thing you can decipher: it will probably be good. A fennel and monkfish soup was perfect, a slightly creamy stock still light and slightly aniseedy; there was plenty of fish in it and a decent showing of crisp croutons. A plate of thinly sliced bresaola was fine. I suspect the beef, wine-soaked then air-dried, was bought in. For some reason, it came with a nest of salad that included unseasonal little asparagus sprue, maybe from Spain, maybe from Mexico. The bresaola is served with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

A couple of items were a shade dull (as were the shop-bought ravioli with a passable walnut and spinach sauce). More frequently, as with a piece of turbot in red wine sauce, it was good.

If the chef, David Brownless - an old friend of Mr Chadwick, whom he met working in a local hotel - has improvements to make, it is in dropping some of the hotel-food flourishes and paying more attention to basic goodness, such as pasta and charcuterie. One good dish that could be simpler was a light cheesecake in an aggressive grapefruit sauce.

The wine list is short but capable of producing for pounds 15 an exceptionally good 1991 Hamilton Russell pinot noir from South Africa. It would be wonderful if this expertise with pinot noir, a tricky grape, had been directly handed down from the Huguenots, because the wine had a distinctly French-style farmyard charm. However, I would bet a bottle or two of the stuff that this particular wine owes its funky elegance less to the French and more to the Californians.

But attempt such winespeak at Chadwick's at your peril. It is packed with Yorkshire types whose explosive laughter could blow an airy oenophile south of Kent. We sat next to a party of young women with broad Middlesbrough accents. One, a little in her cups, was trying to describe an acquaintance. 'She's so common,' she began. 'I mean so common, I mean soooo common, why she's more common than me]'

What else to say about the right restaurant in the wrong county? I wish I lived in North Yorkshire.

D P Chadwick's, 104b Yarm High Street, Yarm, Cleveland (0642 788558). Open Tues-Sat 11.30am-9.30pm (last orders). Children welcome; special portions on request. Vegetarian meals. Blue Note jazz on hi-fi system. Light meals pounds 4-pounds 7, three courses, wine, coffee, service and VAT from pounds 20-pounds 30. Cash and cheques only.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments