Visit: 25 January 2024
Award: 1 Michelin Star
The Angel at Hetton is a country inn and boutique B&B located in the Yorkshire Dales, with origins dating back to the 15th century. Michael Wignall and his wife Johanna took the helm in September 2018. This lovely gastro pub has a style that is casual and contemporary, providing superb food and great hospitality.
In October 2019, within the first year of taking on The Angel, Michael Wignall and his team were awarded a Michelin star in the Michelin UK & Ireland Guide 2020. AA Hospitality Awards awarded four rosettes for Michael’s cooking. In September 2022, The Angel was awarded the Best Restaurant with Rooms in England for 2022/23, by the AA, and retained it’s 4 AA Rosettes rating. The Angel retained its Michelin Star in the 2023 Michelin guide. The Estrella Damm Gastro pub 2024 awards listed The Angel at Hetton at number 13.
We started dinner with four snacks. First was a bowl of slightly warm Vasherin Mont d’or cheese served with a potato tuile biscuit topped with a dill emulsion. Then, English trout seasoned with togarashi (a Japanese seven flavour spice mix) served with pickled celery and avocado puree, encased in a mushroom tartlet. Next, a chicken liver parfait with umeboshi (sour Japanese pickled and salty ume plums), served on toasted brioche. Finally, celeriac Chawanmushi (a Japanese steamed egg custard), with crispy chicken skin and diced raisins, served in a cup. The snacks were all very tasty and innovative.
Next, we were served an exceptionally good Devonshire smoked eel and smoked eel rillettes, encased in a nori seaweed tartlet, with horseradish, Oscietra caviar, white aerated chocolate, and Granny Smith apple on top.
The Japanese Hokkaido milk bread (like a brioche) was served with Ampersand butter, a bowl of whipped Colonnata lardo topped with caramelized onions, and a bowl of smoked cod roe taramasalata topped with puffed rice and fresh dill.
Next was a new dish of barbecued tail of creel caught Isle of Sky langoustine, with Loire valley white asparagus, smoked pike roe butter, kombu (edible kelp) and sea vegetables. This was very tasty, highlighting the very sweet langoustines, and was one of my standout dishes of the evening.
The next dish was first of the season morel mushrooms filled with a chicken mousse that was seasoned with chives and truffle, served with homemade Garganelli pasta, braised ox tongue topped with a Parmesan crumb, English winter truffle, quail egg, broad beans and fresh Spring vegetables, with a mushroom dashi. This was another memorable dish.
A5 Wagyu from Hyogo prefecture was served with maitake mushroom, barbecued pak choi, confit hen’s egg yolk, and a smoked brisket dashi gel. The beef was superb, cooked perfectly rare, with outstanding flavour.
Next was a savoury course of a sphere of Baron Bigod cheese dipped in Muscat grape juice, served with Muscat grapes, semi-dried Muscat grapes, celery, on an apple and honey mille feuille, topped with Pedro Ximenez and vinegar sabayon (the vinegar cuts through the sweetness of the wine and adds acidity). A very tasty transition from savoury to dessert courses.
The first dessert was an olive oil sponge served with a vanilla parfait, bergamot ice cream, crème fraiche, Yorkshire honey, and Mexican marigold gel, and finished with a bergamot granita that was spooned on at the table.
The second dessert was a toasted kombu and muscovado tart, banana custard, calamansi, Indonesian coconut sorbet, Mexican marigold, dried banana, pressed banana, with a rum sour puree.
Finally, a selection of petit fours included a chocolate tartlet topped with rock salt, a pistachio macaron filled with pistachio cream and topped with caramelized pistachio and white chocolate drizzle, a single varietal chocolate filled with negroni ganache, and a blood orange pâtes de fruits (a traditional French confectionery made of a set fruit paste) filled with marigold jam and with a sugar coating.
In the morning, breakfast was served as a tasting menu. There were vegetarian options available. We started with a very nice yoghurt, with a toasted nut and honey granola, and Yorkshire rhubarb compot. The bakery selection consisted of toasted Shokupan white milk bread, a choux bun filled with chocolate cremieux, homemade preserve, and Ampersand butter.
There was some excellent home cured and smoked salmon, served with crème fraiche and dill. The cooked selection included a Nidderdale sausage, thick cut Todmorden bacon, a mushroom puree with puffed grains, and a soft boiled free range egg served in the shell.
The accommodation was excellent. We stayed in the newly built bedroom block opposite the pub. The room was large and airy with good air conditioning, a very comfortable bed, and the bathroom had a bath, walk-in shower and two hand basins. All the appliances were high quality. Car parking is available outside the bedrooms in a courtyard, and outside the restaurant.
The dinner was outstanding, highlighting high quality ingredients, superb cheffing, innovation, and some well-balanced Japanese influences. The service was very good throughout our stay, and the accommodation was of a very high quality. This is definitely one of the best gastropub experiences I have had, and I look forward to returning later in the year.
The Breakfast menu:
After catering college, Michael Wignall started his professional career at Broughton Park, under Paul Heathcote, moving with him to his restaurant in Longbridge, Preston. This was followed by L’Ortolan, near Reading (under John Burton Race). Michael then became Head Chef at Waldo’s Restaurant, Cliveden Hotel in Berkshire, under Executive Chef Ron Maxfield (four Rosettes and a Michelin Star). Then, in 1996 he was appointed Head Chef at Old Beams, Staffordshire, and earned his first Michelin star and the Good Food Guide’s Country Restaurant of the Year.
Following this in 1998, Michael became head chef at the Cumbrian country house hotel and restaurant Michael’s Nook, where he stayed for four years, retaining their four AA rosettes and Michelin star.
In 2003, he moved to The Burlington Restaurant at The Devonshire Arms in the Yorkshire Dales. Only six months after joining he was awarded a Michelin star and four AA rosettes.
In 2008, Michael was appointed as Head Chef at Latymer Restaurant at Pennyhill Park. He built the restaurant up from just two AA rosettes to two Michelin stars, the first star was awarded in 2009 and the second in 2012, and five AA rosettes in 2011.
In January 2016, Michael joined Gidleigh Park, in Devon, taking over from Michael Caines, retaining the two Michelin stars.
Two years later, at the beginning of 2018, he left Gidleigh Park and took over The Angel at Hetton. He was awarded a Michelin star in the Michelin UK & Ireland Guide 2020, and four AA rosettes, which have been retained to date.