Ah Harrogate Town FC, second in the league and arriving at a time when the Bucks could really do with some points on the board. To say things are a bit tough at the New Bucks Head at the moment would be an understatement, but with a few games in hand due to postponements, our league position is quite misleading and I’m not getting too worried just yet.
The journey to the North Yorkshire town is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. My last visit was on 3rd December 2016 and I opted for a pie with gravy back then, behold:
This was in the days before the #ADPG fork arrived, but you’ve got to admit, it’s a vision of disappointment. It tasted of sadness and regret, I should have gone for the cornish pasty!
I had been alerted the the new catering offering towards the back end of 2017 when I received a message from Ian, the owner of Burgers and More in Harrogate and the new caterers at Harrogate Town. Along with Kidderminster Harriers, its an away day I’ve definitely been looking forward to.
Arriving at Harrogate, the Burgers And More branding is evident immediately, and as we walked around the ground, I got the first glimpses of the new menu:
Now, there will be those among you who will look at this and would immediately think it’s expensive. You’re not wrong either. With the match day catering I’ve experienced so far this season, these prices are definitely towards the top end. I was soon to discover, however, that for what you’re getting, it’s actually terrific value for money.
Unlike my other experiences so far, I was actually introduced to the Burgers And More offering by Ian himself in the main stand snack bar. I’ll start by saying that what they are doing at Harrogate isn’t your standard football fare – this is proper food, done really well – and as Ian said on the day, why shouldn’t it be like this? For a lot of the fans of Harrogate Town, coming to the match and grabbing something to eat is now standard. It’s no longer about grabbing something dubious because you’ve not had time for lunch, it’s a dining experience to look forward to – and I’ll show you why!
The ‘burger wellington’ has become a bit of sensation on twitter lately so it had to be the first thing I tried. It’s a ‘beef patty, stuffed with Harrogate blue cheese, topper with garlic mushrooms and cooked in a puff pastry, topped with red wine gravy’. That’s proper gravy by the way…here’s a tweet I received earlier in the week which proves it, and here it is:
I’m gutted I never got a photo of the inside but this was delicious. I’m not a fan of blue cheese normally, but you get just a hint which isn’t overpowering at all and the whole thing just comes together perfectly. I was definitely not disappointed!
Next up was their take on the sausage roll. No unidentified meat and greasy paper bags here, the chorizo and pork roll was simply delicious. I didn’t manage to get a photo of it, but if sausage rolls are usually your thing, you’re in for a treat if you choose this.
Regular readers will know I’m partial to a little bit of cheese, and the 3 cheese roll on offer here was just terrific. A perfect blend of cheese, with a little onion and encased in a delicate seasoned puff pastry…
It’s a thing of beauty for sure, just look inside:
You can see the veritable feast in the background there, so moving on to the southern fried elements of the day. There was chicken which I had with their homemade and own recipe salsa. It had a cheeky little kick but it was fresh and a welcome addition:
And the southern fried ‘halloumi’ which Ian revealed is actually Yorkshire Squeaky Cheese, made by a lass down the road. Cheese is my weakness, and fried and coated in this seasoning mix was heavenly:
Let’s move on, as there was still more to come. As well as the more unusual foodie options, they obviously do burgers, although there was something a little special about the cheeseburger. The cheese has stripes of creamy, delicious charcoal cheddar running through it which gives them the distinctive black and yellow ‘Town Burger’. It looked impressive, but tasted so delicious. The burger itself was cooked to perfection, still moist, full of flavour and a million miles away from those dried out discs of meat I’ve been served elsewhere.
Talking of burgers, a recent addition to the menu here is the ‘Happea’ burger. A vegetarian offering that’s served at their restaurant and has recently been on trial at the ground. Clearly I’m not a vegetarian, but having fellow fans disappointed by the lack of decent veggie options in our league, I was interested to try it. This is a ‘chickpea, garden pea, red pepper and red onion’ patty and it was so, so good. I’m sorry the photo is the burger half eaten…actually, no I’m only sorry I don’t have one now while I’m writing this!
One thing you won’t find here is chips, and to be honest I can’t see how anyone would even think of having fried potatoes with all of the delicious things on offer. However, Ian and the Burgers And More folks have come up with their own take on the ‘burger and chips’ concept with the ‘1919 Stew’. A delicious, rich and meaty stew of chunks of beef burger with potatoes and vegetables, served with a fresh, crusty wedge of bread. I mean, who wouldn’t want a portion of this on a cold and frosty Tuesday night under the floodlights?
What Ian and his team are doing here is really leading the way in terms of match day catering. Whilst my sphere of reference is mostly National League North and a little Evo-Stik Premier tourism, I can honestly say this is the best food I’ve ever seen (and tasted) at a football ground*. I was truly humbled to be given such a personal tour of the menu from Ian and his team, and I only hope that Harrogate don’t get promoted at the end of this season so I get the chance to visit again.
Not to forget, of course, that the Burgers And More restaurant is definitely on my list for a visit (I’m sure the Tour de Yorkshire might be round there somewhere…) and here’s just a sample of their menu:
Not that I’ve ever hidden who I am…there’s plenty of selfies of me on this blog, but I was a little taken aback to be recognised again yesterday (hello, thank you for the kind words about my little blog) and I was also ‘papped’ by Town Pix and Hal Boxhall-Docktree and ended up gracing the Harrogate Town twitter feed, here! Flattering, eh?
Despite the result, which let’s face it, wasn’t entirely unexpected, yesterday may just have been my best #AwayDayPieGirl day out ever…
*I do love Kidderminster, and they will always be my favourite football food in a metal takeaway tray…but its true that Harrogate have stolen the title in my opinion. I’d encourage you to try both before you throw any abuse my way though 🙂