Sunday, 5 July 2015

Norse, Harrogate

It's always exciting when you discover a new favourite restaurant, especially when it is a mere half hour drive away. It may still be early days - we're still in the getting to know you phase, the will he or won't he call me back phase - but I have the feeling that with Norse, D and I have found somewhere to which we will return again and again.

As the name suggests, the food has a strong Scandinavian influence throughout which can be felt in the fresh flavours, extensive use of herbs and citrus and the odd portion of raw fish. But the use of local, and often unusual, ingredients (woodruff ice cream, anyone?) make it an affectionate representation of the best of British as well.

We had the tasting menu (of course) which was ridiculously good value, kicking off with some fabulous rye sourdough bread with goats' butter, artichoke puree and toasted grains.  Hard not to fill up on this before the meal had even got going.

Toasted grains
A pea and cheddar veloute with cep custard and pickled girolles was an early highlight, managing to balance the sweet, the sharp and the earthy notes perfectly.  Unfortunately, the balancing act fell down a little during the Whitby crab course - the one misstep of the evening.  The crab meat itself was a bit lacklustre and did not provide the sweetness required to balance out the bitter notes of lemon verbena and beer.  It was the one course that was less than successful, and for that they are forgiven.  Any kitchen that can provide a dish as sublime as the Lancashire smoked eel with dill purée, that arrived a little later, deserves top marks.

The pudding, too, was near perfect - a strawberry cheesecake that included the lightest, most perfumed elderflower foam and the aforementioned woodruff ice cream, all combining to make one of the nicest puddings I have had in a long while - and usually, I'm a chocolate girl all the way.  This was a bowl of British summertime by way of a shady woodland dell, absolutely sublime.

Strawberry cheesecake
All in all, I strenuously recommend this place if you happen to find yourself in Harrogate - although it should be noted that it only turns into Norse in the evening - during the day it is a coffee shop called Baltzersen's (I've just looked at the menu, and am rather keen to go and try the meatball open sandwich).  It's an absolute little gem of a place and I know that you will all wish us well as we embark on a hopefully long and happy relationship.

22 Oxford Street
01423 202363

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