As you may have seen online, M and I travelled up to York this week for a short city-break. York is such a gorgeous city, full to bursting with quaint cobbled streets, incredible historical architecture and really good food. On walking around, one thing that struck me is how many indepedent retailers, cafes and restaurants there are; something which I just love, and the quality of the food available is really high.
For dinner on Wednesday night we had been invited to try out the 7 course tasting menu at Adam Jackson’s, The Park Restaurant, located just a short 10 minute walk from York Minster and The Shambles.
Adam Jackson, The Park Restaurant’s Owner & Head Chef, launched the restaurant after he, as head chef, helped The Black Swan at Oldstead to it’s first Michelin Star. Since opening, The Park Restaurant has gained Three AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence for four years running (2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), as well as being featured in the Michelin Good Food Guide.
On arrival the first thing that struck me is how classy and yet homely the restaurant feels. Set in a Georgian town house, with sweeping bay windows, tall ceilings and period features, you can tell the decor and furnishings have been chosen specifically to make the space feel cosy whilst maintaining the grandeur and class of the stunning building, and it has been done really well.
The team were so friendly and accommodating the whole evening; from taking and hanging up our coats on our arrival, to booking us a taxi at the end of the evening, there really was nothing they wouldn’t do for us! Particular credit should go to the waitresses (whose names I didn’t catch, sorry!) who talked us through each course with such detail and passion, they were friendly & chatty, whilst leaving us to our evening together too – a really lovely balance; thank you ladies!
We started with a drink in one of the lounge areas. They didn’t have any beers on tap on that particular night, but had a really good selection of bottled beers so M chose one of them and I went for a Gin & Tonic. I took recommendation from the team on Gins and the Rhubarb & Ginger Gin with Fever Tree Tonic, garnished with fresh Raspberries absolutely hit the spot and started the evening off brilliantly.
We also had some time whilst having a drink to look over the wine list and the menu for the evening. As the restaurant uses fresh and local produce, the menu can vary daily, so this was a nice opportunity to see exactly what we were going to be having for our seven individual courses.
The dining room is absolutely gorgeous, with a high ceiling and a stunning skylight (which we may have taken several photos of for inspiration for our house!). It is also not too big, with space for approximately 20 diners. We particularly liked the dining chairs, which were soft, beautifully upholstered and really comfy (pretty important when you are going to be there for a few hours!) We also liked the dining tables, which were just that little bit wider than a normal “table for two” square table, making everything a lot more spacious when it comes to water glasses, wine glasses, plates in the centre of the table etc.
As we both like a red wine, we ordered a bottle of the Argentinian Malbec to go with our meal, however they do also offer a wine pairing option with different wines paired to each course for those wine-buffs out there!
So, onto the food. I honestly don’t think I can do this food justice in words; it really was a food experience, with every texture and flavour considered and with everything so perfectly balanced; allowing the individual high-quality local ingredients to stand out.
Our first course was “Sea Trout. Hispi. Ginger. Wasabi” which came in the form of two separate small dishes.
The first was a piece of sushi; sushi rice with pickled ginger and topped with a slice of cured sea trout and garnished with caviar. I’m a big lover of sushi, but I don’t think I’ve ever had it with sea trout before – it was delicious and really delicately flavoured. The sushi rice was soft and the cured sea trout had a wonderful freshness to it.
The main part of this course was a bowl containing a piece of salt cured and poached sea trout, sitting amongst a cabbage sauce, and topped with wasabi coleslaw and hispi cabbage.
This dish was light and fresh, and the textures were fantastic, with the smooth cabbage sauce contrasting wonderfully with the crunchy coleslaw and the crispy cabbage on top. The wasabi in the coleslaw wasn’t overpowering, which I think is important as wasabi is such a strong flavour; it added a nice heat, without drawing from the individual flavours of each element. The sea trout was cooked beautifully, falling apart and so soft. The flavours all balanced really well and really highlighted the delicious sea trout as the focus. A well-rounded, clean and fresh dish to start our dinner.
The second course was “Homemade Breads and Flavoured Butters.” We has two different types of bread; Lancashire Bomber (like individual cheese scone/rolls) and slices of Stout and Onion Loaf – both homemade and still warm! They came with two different butters; Beurre Noisette (like a burnt, caramelised butter) and Marmite, as well as a pot of Yorkshire salad; chopped red pepper, baby gem lettuce, cucumber and a fresh vinaigrette. Both breads were delicious, with the lancashire bombers being a particular favourite, and the butters were smooth and delicately favoured. The marmite butter, without a doubt was a highlight for us – M doesn’t like marmite at all, but he loved this; and paired with the cheesy, warm lancashire bomber it was absolutely delicious! In fact, after eating this marmite butter and seeing M absolutely demolish it (as well as hearing every single one of the other diners enjoying it too) I would argue that it’s “love it or hate it” unless you are eating at The Park Restaurant!
Marmite: Love it or Hate it, unless you are eating at The Park Restaurant!
Our Third course was “Venison. Carrot. Red Cabbage.” This dish also came in the form of two smaller dishes. The smaller dish was a Venison Parfait, topped with Truffle Butter and Grated Hazelnut. This was a lovely little addition – no more than a mouthful or two but the parfait was rich and smooth, and the small circular biscuit it was served on added just enough bite to add some crunch to the texture. The flavours were delicious with the nuttiness of both the truffle and the hazelnut really adding to the rich meatiness of the venison.
The main part of this course was a delicious plate of Venison Fillet, with Spiced Carrot Purée, Pickled Red Cabbage, Toasted Seeds and Hazelnut with Linseed Crackers and topped with Grated Italian Summer Truffle. The Venison was cooked beautifully, falling apart in the mouth, and the flavours of the dish worked so well to bring out the richness in the meat. This richness was brilliantly balanced with the crunch and sharpness of the Pickled Red Cabbage and the softness and sweetness of the carrot purée, whilst the different textures from the crunchy crackers, hazelnuts & seeds contrasted really nicely. This was one of the highlights of the meal for me; I love venison and this dish really made the most of the beautiful flavours and richness of such a delicious meat.
Fourth up was the “Cod. Chervil. Mushroom.” This dish consisted of a Pan-Fried Cod Fillet, topped with Deep Fried Panko Breadcrumbs (Fried in Beef Dripping) and Monks Beard. This was accompanied by a Fricassee of Mushrooms with Salsify, Broad Beans and Asparagus, and the whole dish was then topped with a Mushroom and Chervil Foam. This dish was really delicious, with the cod absolutely perfectly cooked; crispy on the top and bottom from pan-frying, and so soft in the middle. When a piece of fish is the centrepiece of a dish, it’s so important that it is cooked absolutely perfectly and with this dish, it completely was! The Mushroom Fricassee was a really lovely accompaniment to the cod; which is saying something given that both M and I aren’t all that keen on mushrooms, but we both ate every single morsel! The foam on top was a really lovely touch too, adding a bright green to the look of the dish and making the whole plate appear even more light and fresh. The crispy breadcrumbs, with a richness to their flavour from the beef-dripping they were fried in, also added a wonderful crisp, so that the whole dish came together deliciously.
The Fifth Course was our final savoury course; “Pork. Onion. Wild Garlic.” This dish was definitely a highlight for both of us, and M’s dish of the night. The dish was laid out in four sections; The First, a Pork Fillet, wrapped in Parma Ham and stuffed with a truffle lardon. The Second, A Boulangère potato, topped with grated truffle. The Third, a pool of White Onion and Pickled Onion Purée. And the fourth, Pressed Pigs Cheek with Wild Garlic Purée and Pork Scratchings. Served with a piece of purple sprouting broccoli, some wild garlic and drops of salsa verde, delicately scattered across the plate. This whole plate was absolutely stunning. The Pork Fillet was soft and beautifully cooked, without a sinew of fat on it. The Boulangère potato was crisp on the outside, deliciously smooth in the middle, and perfectly seasoned too. The Onion Purée was richly flavoured but not so much to detract from the flavour of the pork, and was a lovely way to add a sauce-like aspect to the dish without making it wet. A highlight for me was the pressed pigs cheek, which was rich and soft, almost like pulled pork but so much more delicate. The small drops of salsa verde were also a really lovely touch, adding a sharpness to the plate. A stunning and cohesive dish, beautifully displayed, wonderful textures and making a real feature of the gorgeous cut of meat – each element had it’s place, and worked to compliment the others – a definite highlight!
Following this, moving onto sweeter things, we had “Lemon. Ice Tea.”. This started with a Lemon Iced Tea to cleanse the palate, followed by a bowl of Honey Panna Cotta, Lemon Gel, Granola, Honey Jellies and topped with quenelle of Lemon Sorbet. The dish arrived with a bowl of lemon and thyme, with liquid nitrogen poured over the top to create a gorgeous lemon aroma to bring the whole dish together for a complete dessert experience.
The lemon was perfect to act as a palate cleanser after such varied and rich flavours in the previous courses, in both the sweet iced tea and the sharper yet completely delicious lemon sorbet. The granola added a wonderful crunch to the dish too, and the panna cotta and jellies brought the soft flavour of honey into the dish; after all, we know that honey and lemon compliment each other brilliantly and this was a really nice way to bring the flavours together.
Our Seventh and Final Course was “Blood Orange. Chocolate. Malt.” This plate was really stunningly presented, with a Blood Orange Delice enclosed on either side with brandy snaps. There was a piece of blood orange curd rolled in malt biscuits, a chocolate orange ganache, orange yogurt covered in malt biscuit and an orange, tonka bean and malt biscuit sorbet coated with neat lines of caramel sauce as well as scatterings of blood orange chunks across the plate.
As a proper chocoholic, and a real lover of chocolate orange, this was right up my street! There were so many different textures on the plate, with the crunch of the malt biscuit and the brandy snaps contrasting really nicely with the smooth ganache and the sorbet, and the layers in the delice were stunning, with a cake base, a creamy middle and a jellied top. The sharpness of the blood orange was really well complimented by the richness of the dark chocolate ganache, and the sharp orange curd was a fantastic addition. The whole dish came together to be completely refreshing, wonderfully sweet, with the sharpness of the orange ensuring that the dish wasn’t sickly sweet, but rather a brilliantly balanced dessert. Yum.
We finished our meal with Tea and coffee (Tea for me and a coffee for him) which came with a little plate of petit fours consisiting of two Whiskey Caramel Chocolates and two Soft Chocolate Biscuits with Passionfruit running through them. We absolutely weren’t expecting this extra addition, and it was a really lovely way to finish off our absolutely exceptional meal.
As we left, we were given a small box as a parting gift, containing two coffee chocolate truffles – they were absolutely gorgeous, with a soft middle and a crisp and crunchy outside – what an absolute treat to cap off such a wonderful meal!
We had a completely brilliant evening at The Park Restaurant. Adam Jackson and his team have come up with a fantastic selection of dishes, with a wonderful balance of flavours and textures; and even after 7 courses plus petit fours, we were full without being unpleasantly stuffed. The menu was light & refreshing; a real celebration of good British produce, cooked to absolute perfection.
A real celebration of good British produce, cooked to absolute perfection.
The whole evening was absolutely phenomenal; from the incredible food, to the stunning setting and the friendly staff; I simply cannot find any fault. Just trust me, if you are looking for somewhere to have a truly outstanding meal in York, this is where to go!
Thank you to absolutely everyone at The Park Restaurant for making our evening so special; it really was sensational.
*Our meal was gifted for review, however as always all opinions are my own*