It is very rare that a restaurant exceeds my expectations but Alexander’s in Skipton managed that feat last weekend. Everything from the food, the atmosphere, the decor and the service were top notch. My long-suffering partner, who has listened to my restaurant moans and groans over the years, was delighted that I gave it 10/10 as now he knows where to suggest when he fancies eating out somewhere special.
Our booking was for the pop-up Off Piste area, an Alexander’s seasonal delight that runs until late January. Inspired by holidays on snowy slopes, Off Piste is set in a replica ski lodge at the bottom of a beautiful outdoor terrace.
The walk down to the “lodge” – which is actually made from canvas but is remarkably realistic – is magical thanks to a crowd of twinkling Christmas trees and festive music.
Inside, the pop-up features Scandinavian-inspired decor and is decked out with vintage skis and sleighs, fairy lights, candles, sheepskins, faux fur rugs and blankets. There are also heaters to keep you warm. It’s remarkably atmospheric and very Christmassy, especially as you are served mulled wine or cider and a set Alpine menu.
Alexander’s say “the Alpine recipes are the ultimate in comfort food” and that’s very true and there is plenty of it! First it’s roast chesnuts, then winter vegetable and sausage broth followed by smokes and cured fish, pickles and chutney. Next up is Alpine pizza then Frankfurter sausages with sauerkraut, Alpine stew served with tariflette and then a finale of chocolate, honey and cognac fondue with fruit, marshmallows and home-made honeycomb, aka cinder toffee, for dipping.
I had the vegetarian version, which included winter veg broth with chesnuts; tomato and butternut squash stew with tarteflette; olives roast artichokes and marinated pepper; vegetable sausages with pickled vegetables; tarte flambé and chocolate fondue with fruit, marshmallows and honeycomb. It was amazing! The chef cooks in the Off Piste “chalet” as you eat, drink and relax. It looked and felt a lot like Christmas and I loved every minute so much so that I’m planning to back again.
Big shout out for the service from the lovely, friendly and smiley staff and a note to say that you may find yourself sharing a table but don’t worry…everyone is so excited by the food and busy tucking into their feast, it’s really not a problem. Prices are £40 per person.