The Whitby Guide was kindly invited to attend a Prosecco night hosted by Firth & Co Wine Merchants Limited at The White Horse & Griffin on Church Street.
The event was held in one of Whitby’s oldest establishments – the records date this unique and historic place as having been built in 1681. The whole ambiance of this stunning building is that time has stood still from this period with modern twists here and there. The time line of this legendary Whitby institution began when Sir Hugh Cholmley built this property upon the cobbles of Church Street making it the first coaching inn on the route from Whitby to York and Whitby to London. The striking original features from this period are peppered throughout the gothic architecture with the original stage coach area used as the dining room with low wooden beam ceilings and sash windows.
Historic Whitby figures such as Captain James Cook and William Scoresby have crossed the threshold of this timeworn coaching inn to arrange their crews for their famous expeditions. Another Historic character, Charles Dickens has also taken lodging for the night. We are of course talking about the one and only, White Horse and Griffin.
The current team at the White Horse and Griffin uses the historic charm of the building to bring contemporary dishes to life within the backdrop of old creaky floorboards and a stage setting of crystal chandlers and candles.
Our evening of Prosecco began in the private dining room with a roaring fire as winter had decided to come back for two days in May. This room is a prime example of how great care has been taken to restore this building throughout, with exposed brick work and restored working fireplaces, you can image how many deals had been struck in these rooms for voyages and whaling expeditions of long ago.
William Tilling of Firth & Co Wine Merchants presented the first Prosecco that the White Horse and Griffin use as their inhouse Prosecco- Prosecco Treviso DOC from the Astoria Butterfly Collection, Veneto. This Prosecco comes from the Astoria family vineyards in the north east of Italy, Venice. It has green apple and pear infused flavours with pleasant bubbles, this Prosecco is a light and relaxed drink to start any occasion with. The Prosecco Treviso DOC bottle is designed with a special feature of a map of the canals of Venice that has been cut into the glass of the bottle. So, this is like a bottle sat nav for you to follow if you get lost in Venice, you can use it to find your way back to your gondola! Genius!
This Prosecco accompanied canapes on tray with an assortment of delights such as mini crab, mini halloumi with Caeser salad, devilled white bait with a bloody Mary mayo and beef carpaccio on sourdough toast with truffle oil. After all the guests had been served by the White Horse and Griffin serving team it was time to go down a twisting staircase to the dining area.
This area is part of the original stables part of the stage coach in. This room has low wooden beams, bare brick walls with a stunning feature of seating area in an original chimney that adds to the whole character of the place. Will Tilling then introduced the Prosecco that accompanied the main dishes of seafood risotto with local caught lobster claw with parmesan tuile and white truffle oil. The meat course was honey pressed belly pork with pak choi, sweet potato mash and bramley apple syrup. There was a vegetarian option of avocado pannacotta with marinated feta cheese and red pepper puree. The Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG from the Astoria Estate was chosen for the main course as it is a stand-up Prosecco. This Prosecco is six weeks aged to allow for more concentrated finer bubbles, making it a sharper drink.
I chose the belly pork dish created by Chef Andy Nightingale for the White Horse and Griffin’s summer menu. This dish was flavoured with the sweetness of the syrup as the pork melted in your mouth with the freshness of the summer vegetables. As the White Horse and Griffin is 400 years old, the echoes of it’s past are still felt within its walls and our server for the night treated myself and my friend to a ghost story about the very room we were sat in. A woman haunts this room as she met her demise there due to a “fall” down some stairs after becoming pregnant to the owner at the time when the stables were used. This tale just added to the whole charm of the evening, excellent food, drink and surroundings.
The desserts that were created for this evening were accompanied with another bottle from the Astoria Estate, Vento- Fashion Victim, Rose Spumante. The red grapes of this Rose Spumante were perfectly paired with a trio of lemon dessert; lemon tart, lemon posset and lemon sorbet and white chocolate and raspberry crème brulee with chocolate marble. Each dessert merged perfectly with this Rose Spumante as the tartness of the lemon and richness of the chocolate were bought out with this drink.
An evening of Prosecco at the White Horse and Griffin was produced to a very high standard by all those involved from the front of house team, servers and the team in the kitchen. The whole character of the building and its history enhances your dining experience here and I will be returning soon to sample a gin board and its new summer menu.
More information and bookings
Tel: 01947 604857
Address: 87 Church St, Whitby YO22 4BH