Now, readers of this blog may well be aware that D and I are/were (I'm still not sure what tense is appropriate so I'll hedge my bets) huge fans of J Baker's Bistro Moderne in York, to the extent that we seldom ate out anywhere else when we ate out in that fair city. But Le Langhe, an Italian deli and cafe which serves restaurant food at the weekend, had been on our radar for a while, and on the basis of tonight's meal could well merit future visits. Le Langhe is something of a York institution, twice up scaling it's premises in the last decade, and we often visited the deli to buy the amazing Italian meats and cheese on offer (they do this Barolo cured ham which is to die for) but had never made it for dinner. Shame on us.
A, a friend of mine from university days, booked it having heard good reports about the food although word on the street (she's the mother of a small child which seems to give her access to all kinds of privileged information - sort of like jungle drums for parents) was that service was a bit hit and miss. And we did have to wait a good five minutes for menus because the printer had jammed, but other than that the waiting staff were perfectly friendly and sweet, if a little gauche. Also, despite the limited number of covers, there was no table turning going on that we could see - we were booked in for seven and left a leisurely two hours later.
The menu wasn't huge which I personally consider something of a plus point. A and R both opted for main course pasta dishes which looked and smelled delicious - especially the pumpkin and goats' cheese pappardelle. But, when I saw calves liver with pancetta and sage on the menu, I couldn't resist. I adore offal.
This was scrumptious - well cooked, the liver tender with the faintest blush of pink, the pancetta crispy and salty, the medicinal note of the sage well balanced and underneath it all, a neat little portion of creamy potato gratin to squish into the iron rich gravy. Also worth noting was the really interesting wine list which served a decent number by the glass - I tried a red called Dolcetto which I don't think I've come across before, which ripe fruitiness went beautifully with the food.
We had eschewed starters in favour of desserts and they didn't disappoint. First up was a lemon and prosecco sorbet to cleanse the palate:
And then a delicious hazelnut tart with figs and chocolate mousse for A and I while R opted for pannacotta. The tart looks rather dull and brown in the picture but as with the main course, I was impressed with the way the flavours had been balanced - the delicate taste of the nuts holding their own against the honeyed sweetness of the dates.
So, happy faces and replete tummies all round. It's not the most sophisticated restaurant in the world, but the cooking was of a very high standard as far as I could see and I definitely want to take another look at that wine list. They offer a seven course tasting menu which, on the basis of tonight's dinner I am very excited to try out next year. I never need much of an excuse to visit my beloved York...
The Old Coach House, Peasholme Green,
York YO1 7PW