I always felt that York was missing some good, high-end-of-middle, quirky little bistro type places, especially once the late lamented J. Baker's Bistro Moderne closed its doors. Le Cochon Aveugle got a fantastic write up in The Guardian earlier this year, and I've enjoyed the meals that I've had at The Star Inn The City, but you'd have thought (hoped) that there would be scope for more. Well, the team at the Dean Court Hotel are very keen to make their restaurant a contender. And with that in mind, a group of hungry people were invited across to a Chef's Table event last week in the stunning DCH dining room, which is situated literally in the shadow of York Minster. If there is a better view in the city, I'd be very surprised.
We had to admit, while chatting to the hotel manager, that as York residents it would never have occurred to us to go there for dinner, and apparently this is a perennial problem for them, as is the fact that their guests tend to favour the safety of the City Chain Restaurant over their own hotel's dining room. And that's a shame, because there is a lot to like about this venue.
There is the view from the dining room, of course. But there is also a snug little bar in which to enjoy a pre (or post) dinner snifter, there is a very friendly team of front of house staff and there is, potentially, some very nice food. The chef, Benji Thornton, is a lovely chap who is obviously extremely passionate about what he does. He not only has an excellent eye for plating but an instinctive knack for interesting flavour combinations. As it was a Chef's Table, Benji cooked the first couple of courses in front of us in the dining room, talking us through the ingredients and techniques he used (and throwing out a few extremely useful tips including the fact that if you want your food to taste good you need to add butter. Lots and lots of butter). Also in attendance was one of his suppliers, a forager who had brought with her the biggest mushroom that I have ever seen. Seriously look at the thing!
|Chef at work|
|Pigeon, beetroot, mushroom|
|Duck, rhubarb, five spice|
|Chocolate, salted caramel, strawberries|
I was invited to the Chef's Table event at the hotel and did not pay for the meal - however, all opinions expressed are my own and are honestly stated. I am impervious to all forms of corruption, even edible ones.
DCH Restaurant at the Dean Court Hotel