THE couple behind the famous Box Tree restaurant in Ilkley are having second thoughts about whether they want to sell it.

Simon and Rena Gueller announced in September that they were selling up to take a step back, go on some well-earned holidays and spend time with their family as they had just become grandparents.

But two months on, they have not received an offer they would consider and now they seem to have rediscovered their love for running the iconic eatery.

Executive chef Simon has forged a new partnership with head chef Michael Carr and the couple said they were ready for a new chapter in the restaurant's long distinguished history, a feeling emphasised when they reunited for a special dinner last Wednesday with Daniel Clifford, with whom they forged a bond before he went off to win Michelin stars at Midsummer House in Cambridge.

Rena admitted it would be a wrench to leave the Box Tree.

She said: "We will leave it on the market for a couple of months but it's got to be right."

She said it was a special homecoming for Daniel who worked under Marco Pierre White's tenure at the Box Tree. He then joined the Guellers and worked with Simon for several years before Simon and Rena took on the Ilkley icon 15 years ago.

Rena added it was great to link up with Daniel, who they consider one of the family, the two having last cooked together 22 years ago.

Now Simon has a similar bond with Michael Carr who joined the team in April and the new partnership seems to have reinvigorated the establishment, with Simon putting well behind him the health scare which threatened his career early in the decade.

Simon also said he was getting cold feet about selling. He said: "I don't want to sell it. I love the place. I think putting it on the market has made me realise you never miss what you have until it's gone."

He added that he had now got the right person to work with and could see his vision coming to life.

The restaurant lost its Michelin star in 2018 ending a run of 14 successive years with the prestigious ranking but the food does not seem to have lost its lustre.

The special reunion taster menu featured some of Simon and Daniel's signature dishes with all the courses not only looking fantastic but tasting wonderful as well and the fact that one plate was rejected because shows that their care and attention to detail is second to none.

The dishes - especially the seared sea scallop with Granny Smith apple, celeriac and truffle puree - have not lost their appeal and the flavours and quality of the ingredients shone through.

The Box Tree has been an ever-present feature of the Yorkshire fine dining scene for over 50 years. Dating from 1720 and one of the oldest buildings in Ilkley, the restaurant was opened in 1962 and quickly became the North’s most successful.

Over the years, it has won numerous accolades and Michelin stars and featured such renowned chefs as Michael Truelove, Edward Denny and the more contemporary Marco Pierre White.

Now Rena seems almost as proud of the restaurant's four years in a row of Yorkshire in Bloom awards as the Michelin star with the front yard of the Church Street building boasting displays of begonias as well as its eponymous box trees.

Luckily so far, the box trees have escaped blight and Rena said it was big job looking after 30-odd specimens but now it seems everything in the garden is rosy.