June 2017: Mehdi Amiri has taken over the reins at Samuel's; his CV includes stints at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Le Manoir and Wynyard Hall.
Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
An “impressive dining room in a grand and beautiful hotel”, set on “extensive grounds”, where some guests “arrive by helicopter”. Stephen Bulmer’s food is “not cheap” but “for the (spectacular-fine-dining) standard very good value” (and when it comes to afternoon tea, there’s “no competition” – “an example of how to do it for all”).
A “wonderful dining room in a lovely country house hotel”, where chef Stephen Bulmer’s menu is “always interesting” and his cooking never less than “good”.
A “most memorable experience all-round” – the “magisterial” dining room of this large country house hotel makes a “very romantic” backdrop in which to enjoy Stephen Bulmer’s “exquisite” cuisine, matched with a “proper” wine list.
“What a fantastic setting!” – in a “stately” country house hotel, this “romantic” dining room with “gothic overtones” offers “exquisite food” and a “seductive” wine list, and wins recommendations from all who comment on it.
Samuel’s Restaurant was built by Samuel Cunliffe-Lister in 1880 as part of major works that were carried out at Swinton Park when he bought the estate on retirement. You will see portraits of him on the walls, along with one of his children above the fireplace.
A spacious and airy room, with sweeping views over the gardens and Home Lake, the most distinctive features in Samuel's are the ornate gold leaf ceiling and enormous mantlepiece.
The restaurant menus, created by Executive Chef Simon Crannage and head chef Chris McPhee, emphasise seasonal and local produce inspired by the fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in the hotel’s four acre walled garden (the largest hotel kitchen garden in the UK), and the menus change accordingly. The hotel is also surrounded by a 20,000 acre estate stretching from the River Ure in Wensleydale up onto the moorland Dales and estate venison, rabbit, smoked trout and game are a few examples of the local ingredients sourced from it.
We strongly recommend that guests reserve tables in advance as occasionally the hotel may be fully booked with a private event.
A smart dress code applies when dining in Samuel’s Restaurant, although this is relaxed a little at weekend lunchtimes to accommodate those wanting to take a walk before or after lunch. We ask that guests do not wear shorts, t-shirts or beachwear/shoes in Samuel’s, nor jeans and trainers in the evening.
Simon Crannage, Executive Chef moved back to Yorkshire in 2007 after 20 years working up and down the UK with some of the country's brightest chefs. Simon's passion is game, which makes him the perfect choice of Chef at Swinton Park where he can source all his ingredients locally.
His style is Modern British Cuisine which includes a wide range of modern techniques and classical flavour pairing. The menu for Samuel's is seasonal, his inspiration coming from the fruits, vegetables and herbs that are grown in the hotel's four acre walled garden.
Some of his career highlights include scoring 8/10 in the Times, Giles Coren, Design of Food with cider for Bulmers Orchard Reserve, retaining three AA Rosettes throughout his tenure at Samuel's, Swinton Park, and launching his own 'Chef's Table' brand of stocks and sauces which are available to buy in the hotel. The hotel recently also won the 2016 Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Award.