AFTER a brush with royalty earlier this year, owners of The Bruce Arms in the North Yorkshire village of West Tanfield are still riding high and excited about new seasonal produce being served in the coming weeks.

Hugh and Helen Carruthers took on the village pub around four and a half years ago after it had been standing empty for several months.

Following a loving refurbishment of the restaurant and three bed and breakfast rooms, the business has gone from strength to strength.

Mr Carruthers, who is the chef as well as proprietor, is passionate about fresh, local produce – and is keen to get his first delivery of grouse on the menu.

He said: “We have just got our first grouse of the season and some amazing wild mushrooms so I am just devising my menu now.

“We have also just got some fresh turbot and lovely rumps of lamb – I love getting new deliveries and deciding what to do with it.”

Mr Carruthers, who works alongside restaurant manager Alex Birkbeck, said the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry, for the village’sTour de France celebrations, was a real highlight of the year.

“It was a closely-guarded secret – we did know about it but had to keep it under wraps. We had a marquee up in the garden and were serving a lobster lunch and they came in and wandered around,” he said.

“I met Harry briefly and my wife met all three of them. I have worked at a couple of functions in the past for Prince Charles and at Downing Street so it was like being at something like that again.”

Mr Carruthers has previously worked in Michelin starred restaurant the Yorke Arms in Ramsgill, but said he prefers simple food and a good ambience for diners.

He said: “I love quality, local food, good wines and ales.

“I believe we do the best Sunday dinner in Yorkshire – we use beef from Kirkby Malzeard that is hung for 35 days and it is utterly fantastic, head and shoulders above anything I have ever bought before.”

Mr Carruthers described his hospitality business as a restaurant rather than simply a pub.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

“West Tanfield is a small village and there are two pubs. We don’t want to compete with the other, the Bull Inn, which is the village pub, so we tried to make sure our business was very different to that.”

The Bruce Arms 
West Tanfield 
North Yorkshire 
Food served: Tuesday to Sunday from noon to 3pm and 5pm to 11pm