The clink of glasses. The clatter of cutlery. The hum of the kitchen. And the murmer of content diners.
These are all good noises to hear when you enter a restaurant. But this is especially true when you enter the warmth of a bustling bistro on a Monday evening.
Mondays are the dead zone. So many places in the Lake District close on Mondays. Weekend guests have long since hit the M6 and locals are more likely to dine at home. However, some guests stay longer and need somewhere to dine. And for our quartet, Monday was the only evening we were all free.
Which is why, at 7:30 on a cold Monday evening in late October, we entered the Yan at Broadrayne.
As well as the heat and the sounds, we were greeted by a dining room two-thirds full. As I say, not at all bad for a Monday.
The welcome we received was as warm as the bistro itself. Friendly, attentive staff quickly sat us, offered us drinks from a decent selection, explained the menu, and offered us tips on what to have.
Drinks options included local ale and craft beer, quirky cocktails, a decent wine list, and some better options for this designated driver.
Starters were only needed if we were particularly hungry. Well we were. And we were trying somewhere new, so how could we say no?
In fact, we all plumped for the delicious soup of the day. The day’s choice was curried parsnip and pear. An option that sounds near perfect to me. In fact, the only thing that could make it sound better to me was this line on the menu: ‘served with grated gruyere and homemade croutons’.
The soup was silky, sweet and indulgent. The hearty bowl staved off hunger, but made the waitress’ words of warning echo in my head.
Main courses at the Yan really are the centre-piece. In fact, their menu is built around sharing platters for two people. The options included roast beef, a fish platter, roast pork and a veggie choice. There are also around half a dozen other main course choices, if you’re not as keen on sharing, including a burger of the day. On this occasion, it was lamb from the farm – minimal food miles here.
My partner and I had our hearts set on the roast beef platter, and it’s fair to say we weren’t disappointed.
The platters are big on theatre – served on a huge slab of wood, with dishes of deliciousness for us to try and politely share. Ours included thick, juicy brisket; tender veggies; mini stuffed jacket potatoes and bubbling, creamy cauliflower cheese. Oh and a jug of thick, rich gravy. Of course.
Together these made for an amazing roast dinner. Being honest, I’d probably not have chose roast beef, but when you present it in this way, it takes on a new light – greater than the sum of its parts.
The star, as you might expect, was the beef. Thick and moist, with a rich, golden curl of butter-soft fat on the side. It was worth the journey from West Cumbria for this alone.
The warning about needing to be hungry proved apt, so I didn’t bother with dessert. The choices all looks suitably decadent, and the samples I got from the rest of the table proved this to be the case.
A thoroughly decent flat white completed the meal for me, and ensured I was wide awake for the drive home.
The Yan has only been open a few months, but already has a great name for itself. It’s clear to see why Grace Dent, amongst others, have raved about their experience.
Be warned – it gets pretty busy. In fact, you might find a Monday night is the best time to secure a table.