This year’s Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards have been announced, and eight Yorkshire pubs, restaurants and eateries have been named in the top 100 places to eat in the UK this year. The awards are voted for by an elite academy of chefs, restauranteurs and food writers, so you can expect a top-quality experience if you choose to visit one of these establishments this year.
The list includes old favourites such as the Angel at Hetton, widely known as the UK’s first gastropub. Skosh, which opened back in 2016 in York, has quickly made a new for itself, selling exuberant food in a simple setting of muted colours and simple wooden furniture. This contrast has pleased visitors and residents alike.
As well as Yorkshire having the most restaurants on the list outside of London, The Angel at Hetton also one Gastropub of the Year and Tommy Banks won Restauranteur of the Year. After all the restrictions, it will be nice to enjoy some great eateries over the next year.
Angel at Hetton (#2)
Taking the silver is Michael Wignall, who took over the pub with his wife Johanna in partnership with James and Jo Wellock in 2018. One of the UK’s most respected and accomplished chefs, Wignall has won a Michelin star in every kitchen he has run since 1993.
Wignall’s menu consists of his à la carte menu (£55 for two courses, £70 for three) or a tasting menu – that’s available at both lunch and dinner. You can expect to tuck into some of the most inventive food in the country at the moment. Set inside an idyllic 15th -century pub, you can stay in one of the nine bedrooms in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – a pub with views, that’s for sure.
The Black Swan at Oldstead (#10)
The Black Swan, the Michelin star restaurant, was named the best pub in the world back in 2017 by the review site TripAdvisor, and this year Tommy Banks was named restaurateur of the year. The pub-turned-restaurant has a menu inspired by ingredients grown in its field. The two acres of growing beds in the garden along with foods foraged around the Olstead area are included in the restaurant’s tasting menu.
The dishes are seasonal and along with some fish dishes and also uses pickled and preserved items to create a unique tasting experience. The menu of small plates frequently changes but always includes stellar ingredients.
The Moorcock Inn (#14)
Another pub-turned-restaurant, The Moorcock Inn has a cult following and is known as one of Britain’s most exhilarating food experiences. Aimee Turford and Alisdair have used their high-end restaurant knowledge and created a unique dining experience. They serve up food cooked on a collection of wood and charcoal ovens using adjustable grills out the back of the pub.
They have a focus on sustainability using fish and seafood caught from local waters and vegetables that are either organic, homegrown or foraged where possible Diners are encouraged to share dishes, such as spiced lamb bun, new season onion fondue, nettles, pickled elderflower and mint; barbecued turbot with seaweed sauce, preserved lemon, pickled beach herbs and ramson oil; and cheesecake custard doughnut with yuzu cha.
Found inside the York city walls, Skosh serves up small plates with a mix of influences such as Britain, Europe and Asia. The menu includes a range of exciting choices from raw, veg, fish and meat options such as chicken liver parfait with summer truffle ponzu and milk bread; north sea squid spiked with punchy with nahm jim; and beetroots, goats curd and furikake.
Chef Bentinck has had a range of experience working in restaurants such as The Pipe and Glass, Van Zellar, Northcote and The Star Inn at Harome.
Man Behind The Curtain (#19)
Another one of the UK’s most exciting dining experiences, Michael O’Hare’s Michelin starred 14-course £132 tasting menu is an arty and provocative experience taking some of its cues from Spanish techno-emotional cuisine and including a notable amount of Asian influence.
The North Yorkshire-born chef dishes on the current menu include ajo blanco with an iced tomato consomme and vanilla; Iberico pork with garlic, egg and anchovy; and the delightfully colourful macarons ‘Damien Hirst’.
Chef-patron Luke French has created an urban restaurant influenced by nature. He mixes the finest available ingredients with true innovation bringing a breath of fresh air to Sheffield’s dining scene. French offers both the option for an a la carte experience as well as a smaller tasting menu. Customers can create a bespoke dining experience with the range of small plates on offer.
The set menu is a reasonable two courses for £23 or three for £29 or a nine-course taster menu for £50 or 12 for £65, which is where you can let loose and pick a range of dishes to try from the old and new dishes on offer.
Le Cochon Aveugle (#41)
Found on Walmgate in York, Le Cochon Aveugle (The Blind Pig) is a dramatic way to eat. Guests discover what they’re eating when the dishes arrive at their table. The restaurant adapts dishes to the seasons and what ingredients look good that day – and tests Overington’s classical French training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
There are a few signatures: its striking black pudding macarons are likely to feature The meal an exciting ever-changing feast. The food has an impressive wine list curated by the chef’s wife Victoria, and focuses on organic and natural wines.
Chef Tommy Banks’ York city centre venture has all the charm of The Black Swan at Oldstead but sits within a modern setting. Inspired by Banks’ farming background, the menu uses an eclectic range of produce. The team have identified three British growing seasons, which they call the Preservation Season, the Hunger Gap and the Time of Abundance, which the kitchen works around.
Roots is a Michelin starred tasting menu format that uses ingredients from the family’s 20-acre farm and three-acre garden to create an 11-course £95 menu that features a range of dishes like raw beef, horseradish and charcoal; and monkfish with smoked butter and pickled mussel. Whatever the dish, you can expect an innovative, fresh and tasty experience like no other.
Feature Image Credit: Black Swan at Oldstead