Restaurant review: The Green Room, 138 Victoria Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

'I was lured into the restaurant by a pot of lemon posset'

Like a downmarket version of Happy Families, Victoria Road in Scarborough is a ragbag of terraced shops comprising butcher, baker, ironmonger, Ali Barber's hairdressers, newsagents etc. It is not where you expect to encounter culinary finesse. I must have passed the Green Room scores of times, usually en route to the Stephen Joseph Theatre for a production by the town's best-known resident, Sir Alan Ayckbourn. Call me dopey but my wife had to enlighten me about the connection between the theatre and the name of the Green Room.

During our annual summer stay in North Yorkshire, we generally cook at home, luxuriating in the fantastic quality of local surf and turf, but I was lured into the restaurant by a pot of lemon posset. Acquired from a spin-off deli opposite, this citric quintessence indicated the prowess of the young chef/patron Rob Porter, a local boy who worked at Longueville Manor in Jersey before setting up for himself seven years ago. It was quite likely the best £1.10 I have ever spent. A day or two later, my wife and I were installed at one of the Green Room's half dozen tables. With a polished wooden ceiling and a defunct enamelled range in one corner, the interior might be a film set for a French bistro. Visible through a large hatch, the kitchen attracted attention with occasional dramatic eruptions of flame and the curiously comforting rattle of pans.

Our waitress Linda, who turned out to be Mr Porter's mum, said, "We've got three menus to choose from tonight". Not what you get at every backstreet restaurant. There was a six-course tasting menu at £30 and an à la carte option at £30 for two courses or £35 for three. Finally, a fixed-price menu came in at £12.95 for two courses or £14.95 for three.

In a move possibly unprecedented in the history of restaurant reviewing, we went for the cheapest. It has to be admitted, however, that this was not so much a blow for culinary egalitarianism as the appearance of certain personal favourites, including the seductive posset, among the fixed-price options. Who could resist a starter of 'own recipe corned beef hash'? Instead of the customary homemade slurry, the hash came in the form of large, spherical croquette. Judiciously seasoned, it wore a fried-egg hat and sat in a restrained, homemade version of HP. My wife's three Withernsea crab fritters were "lovely and crispy with a good crabby taste – but what's the flavour of the mayonnaise?". "It's Bloody Mary," said Linda with a wince. This nice Yorkshire lady added, "I don't like saying that".

My wife's main course was 'pan-seared calves' liver', another default preference that lived up to expectations. From a Scarborough farm called Stepney Hill, the plump strips – pink, tender and tasty – had more character than the customary Dutch calves' liver and came on a bed of idiosyncratic 'bubble and squeak' consisting of crushed potato with onion, watercress and little salad leaves.

Chosen from a couple of specials chalked on a blackboard, my mallard breast was generous in quantity (eight slices) and wonderfully juicy within the perfectly seared exterior. Topped with mandolined courgette deep-fried to a crisp curl and underlaid by tasty beetroot-infused mashed potato, it was a singularly satisfying dish, again notable for a characterful flavour lacking in domesticated duck. I'd have been happy – well, unalarmed – to pay £20 for this course alone. Mr Porter explained the bargain: the specials came from a hunting friend. "His supply is unpredictable – that's why it's cheap. Sometimes it's mallard. Sometimes it's pigeon. Sometimes he turns up with a whole deer."

The accompanying dish of vegetables was an unexpected bonus. We polished off a heap of stick beans, sweet potato and cauliflower. The intriguing white nuggets proved to be parsnip. Fresh, white and young, they were in a different league to the woody Christmas veteran roots. Almost all the vegetables came from Linda's garden. "The neighbours think I'm mad with hanging baskets of strawberries and tomatoes."

Inevitably, my wife finished with posset, the same tangy pud sold at the shop but bolstered with blackberries and strawberries. My cheeseboard, which was accompanied by a stack of biscuits and a tremendous dollop of fresh, light tomato chutney, consisted of Smoked Wensleydale, creamy Garstang Blue from Lancashire and a pleasing ewe's milk cheese from local producer Shepherd's Purse.

On a Wednesday night, there were just eight diners in the Green Room but the quiet was deceptive. "We're packed tomorrow and with two sittings on Saturday, we may have 50 in here," announced the amiable Mr Porter from the mini-theatre of his kitchen hatch. "This is the lull before the storm."

Food ****
Ambience ***
Service ****

The Green Room, 138 Victoria Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire (01723 501801)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
John Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
    10 best girls' summer dresses

    Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

    Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
    Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

    Westminster’s dark secret

    Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
    Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

    Naked censorship?

    The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

    As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
    Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

    Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil