|My friend and her husband used to
spend holidays here when they could book a chalet for a
week and go fishing in the River Esk.
How things change! The chalets have gone – all but
one, which is now a charming café/tearoom which won the
Yorkshire Moors and Coast Tourism Award of the Year
Set in three acres of beautifully landscaped gardens,
the Victorian tea gardens and licensed café on the banks
of the River Esk can’t be missed as you approach
Perry’s Plants sells a tremendous selection of rare
and special plants for all your needs. There’s an 18
hole putting green, an ample free car park and riverbank
walk when you visit River Gardens Café. Serving cooked
meals and home baking all day every day from 10am to
5pm, it’s renowned for good food.
Well behaved children are welcome, and dogs on leads
too, but we chose to go on a weekday whilst peace and
Having spent quite a while perusing plants, as we
approached the café, Michael’s immediate attention was
drawn to a board announcing fresh Whitby crab! On the
reverse side, I spotted homemade cherry pie. We need
look no further for other items on the menus.
Entering the timber chalet was a unique experience.
Warned of its sloping, wooden flooring, we chose a table
by the window overlooking the River Esk.
Others overlooked the gardens and putting green. I
enquired about crab sandwiches, and the waitress
apologised for the delay of crabs, but suggested we wait
about 10 minutes for their arrival. However, in less
than five minutes she kindly returned and took our
The interior was attractive in its simplicity and
Plain wooden floors, well-cleaned wooden tables and
un-cushioned wooden chairs were in keeping with the
wooden walls and ceiling.
Dried flower heads and honesty hung from the above,
and a herb (artificial) be-decked each table. Curtains
were appropriately designed with a variety of
The smiling waitresses were all polite and efficient,
and attentive to each customer’s requirements. Our meals
were delivered to our tables with the appropriate
cutlery, and sachets of sauces were available.
Our eyes sparkled with delight as we savoured the
scrumptious crab sandwiches. We’d ordered brown bread
for choice, and this was really fresh and wholesome
filled with a generous quantity of crab. Served with a
salad garnish and crisps, the meal was most attractive
The salad comprised lettuce, and one slice each of
tomato, cucumber, orange and onion. It was all gorgeous
and cost £5.
Next followed a good helping of homemade cherry pie
with light, crumbly pastry and cherries (complete with
stones) to lend a faint hint of almond. We had a choice
of cream or ice cream to accompany it, and the fresh
cream completed a perfect dessert for £2.95
From the selection of teas coffees, we ordered a
latte, which comprises espresso coffee combined with
steamed milk, topped with a small amount of foamed milk
(ie one third espresso and two thirds milk), £1.60.
Again, it was perfection – hot, foaming and
delicious. Brought on a tray with sugar basin and milk
jug to accompany it, what more could one ask?
Meals may be taken inside or out where you could
enjoy a glass of wine or cool beer whilst watching the
river flow by.
There’s a great choice of food at this excellent
café. Sandwiches £3.30-£3.50, salads £5.35, quiche
£5.35, ham or prawns £6.95, light bites £2.35, soup £3,
quiche, chips and salad £5.50, scampi, chips and salad
£7 and Radford’s steak pie, chips and gravy £6.50.
Afternoon tea compromised assorted sandwiches, a
scone with jam and cream, a homemade cake and pot of tea
The toilets were situated outside at the end of the
cafe, and were adequate and functional – no frills!