Customer choice

Ruth Allan is in Hull for the latest in her series on the best places to eat out without breaking a bank

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Hull hasn’t got much of a reputation when it comes to eating out. But with expectations in the red, this leaves it free to please itself. Home to passionate and quirky restaurant and bar owners, with Michelin stars twinkling in the Yorkshire Wolds (South Dalton’s Pipe and Glass is a delightful example), there’s more to Hull and its surrounds than cod and chips. A venue worth special mention is Hitchcock’s vegetarian restaurant in the Old Town. The creaky, Victorian-era door is lashed in faded Harden’s and Good Food Guide stickers and the first person to book gets to choose the theme of the food for the night. If there aren’t enough bookings, they simply don’t open, which is what happened to me on my visit (1 Bishop Lane, Old Town. Tel: 01482 320233. BYOB, £18 for 3 courses, booking essential). Just one example of a style that’s all the city’s own.

The Hull Pie

Lovingly tended by chef-patron Matt Cunnah, this café-diner sells what appear to be the best pies in Hull. Rich, gooey creations, carvery sandwiches, soups (butternut and coconut, curried lentil), brownies and lemon drizzle cake sum up the food. Sitting in the whitewashed café upstairs, the sun glinting through the sash window on to my pie,
I got lost for a while in a generous portion of unctuous, pulled pork, orange-red with the house rub, the buttery pastry the right side of crisp and melding into the filling. Mash, peas, carrots and gravy (meat or veg) were well executed on the side. The operation, Cunnah explained, was inspired by the pop-up food-cart scene in Toronto, where foodie culture is everyday rather than the exception. Specials like spicy yam and roasted red pepper, meanwhile, nod to his travels further afield. Pies like sausage, chorizo and borlotti, and roast chicken with stuffing and lemon thyme are temptations on the fixed menu, and specials are set to swell the number on offer to eight over the winter months. That’s more than one pie for every day of the week.

Tea and coffee from £1.20, pies from £2.75, sides, £1.50, cakes £1.50. The Hull Pie, 19 Trinity House Lane, Hull, HU1 2JA. Tel: 01482 224405. Mon-Sat 11am-4pm, closed Mon

Fudge Bakery

A favourite with mums who afternoon tea, this shop and café is a fantasy of pink and cake. Friday’s special is bread (sourdough, multigrain, Parisian baguette), while cupcakes and American-style apple and cherry pies are Wednesday’s bag. You can sit inside or out on the sun-dappled patio and there’s a fully fledged restaurant with the same name next door. Open lunchtimes for pies (spinach, parmesan and pinenut, seasonal fruit and brown sugar), posh dogs (gourmet sausage rolls), and savoury and sweet loaves, I went for an oversized raspberry macaroon (£1.45), with a fresh ground coffee on the side. Both were sweet and simple, much like the deli selection. Fudge’s comb-in honey is an affordable treat (£3.50), while their “Dough it Yourself” baking kits (£3.65) offer the chance to make coconut brownies or apple and cinnamon buns at home. The only glitch is an interior in which everything is just that little bit too rosy and chalkboards are knotted with hearts. I couldn’t argue with the cake though.

Coffee from £2.15, soup with bread £4/£7.65, salted rosemary loaf £2.95, pies £3.95, fudge and cakes from £2.25. 93 Princes Avenue, HU5 3QP. Tel: 01482 441019, Daytimes only, closed Mon

Henry Yeast & Sons

In the 1950s the independent shopping district around Pearson Park was a favourite haunt of poet Philip Larkin, and Henry Yeast is owned by the same team that runs Larkin’s bar just a little further up the street. Krombacher Dark schwarzbier (which smells like Christmas), Saltaire Brewery’s Cascadian Black (roasted malt IPA, 4.8ABV) and a sherbety, Yorkshire-brewed Moorlands Farm cider were picks from the draught selection, while bottles like Rodenbach Grand Cru (£4.40, a real Marmite brew, good with fish) and Mongozo Fairtrade banana beer (£3.90) are favourites at this Belgium-themed bar. Pork and apricot pâté with courgette chutney (£4.95) and burgers with home-made brown sauce are typical of the beer-matched menu. More substantial, the Cornish coppa salami and 10oz rump steak with thyme butter and frites (£13) is excellent value. Decked in exposed brick and mahogany-coloured wood, it’s like taking a trip to the continent – without the hassle of catching the ferry.

Moules £5.75, mains up to £13, pints from £2.90. Henry Yeast and Sons, 6 Newland Avenue, Tel: 01482 493557. Food is served between 5pm and 8.30pm, then drinks only. Open Tue-Fri, 5-8pm for food, until 11pm for drinks, Sat noon-8pm food, 11pm drinks. Closed Mon


New to Hull, this modern British restaurant is a destination for your highest heels. Housed in a renovated warehouse, the 100-cover restaurant overlooks the Marina and has charmed the city’s residents to the extent that I had to bargain for a table. Best value is lunch (three courses, £14) or the evening market menu (£17 for two courses, including a glass of Taittinger). Sleek Goosnargh chicken liver pâté, with gooseberry preserve, and a leek-led soup showed restraint, while house-baked bread was served on a wooden pallet with a cooled, removable slate bit to keep the butter cold. Seared codfish was served just pearly; pigeon breast with fig tatin (a lovely take on the French classic) and soft prunes wrapped in double-thick, well-cooked bacon with lashings of jus was a carnival of contrast. Pick of the cheese board was a British soft one with Brie qualities called Tunworth. The only letdown was lemon posset, weighted to the bottom of its martini glass with heavy cream. Go for ice of the day instead, a flamboyant 70 per cent Valrhona dark choc chip on a Wednesday. Flashy chandeliers, a rolling cheese board and cream leather booths ooze occasion like candles. As one Tweeter commented: “We had to remind ourselves we were in Hull.”

1884 Dock Street Kitchen, Humber Dock Street, Marina, HU1 1TB. Tues-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch only, closed Mon


Around 20 minutes into the Yorkshire Wolds, Millers Teashop and Café serves local deli goods and homespun meals. An hour before lunch, a field mushroom and tomato quiche steamed on the counter in the wood cabin-style canteen, next to a stool-sized apple pie. The house bestseller is three eggs and chips (£6.75) and they do a fresh crab salad, with fish delivered daily from Bridlington. Fluffy bunnies and ornamental tractors ruin the vibe in the deli and gift store, but on closer inspection, a foodie curator has created something of a masterpiece. Moo ice cream, Stokes real sauces, Raydale chutneys (£2.99) and cold-pressed Yorkshire rapeseed oil are real finds, while the chilled selection keeps on giving with homemade sausage rolls (£1.25), the aforementioned crabs (from £5.15), and chops from nearby Market Weighton. The café has won the Real Yorkshire Tourism Awards’ best cuppa prize three years on the trot. Given how much they like a brew in Hull, that’s really saying something. Set in the unusual surrounds of a Hoseasons holiday park, it’s a kooky stop-off on the way to the ferry.

Cuppa from £1.85, apple pie £2.50, meals from £6.50. Millers Teashop and Café, Raywell Lodge Park, Riplingham Road, HU16 5YL. Tel: 01482 631702

See what Ruth ate in Bradford and Blackpool

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