Two Days in York
York is only two hours on the train from London, making it a quick and easy escape for the weekend. It’s one of the oldest cities in the UK, with the remains of the old Roman wall still intact in many places, plus lots of atmospheric alleys, cobbled streets, and beautiful buildings. The past few years have seen an explosion of new restaurants opening too and we must admit, that this was (of course) the main focus of our trip. Read on for how to have the perfect food-fuelled weekend in York.
Eat and Drink
Le Cochon Aveugle
Opened in 2014, Le Cochon Aveugle is a tiny little gem of a restaurant that was given a glowing review by Marina O’Loughlin for the Guardian. True to the French name, there’s definitely a bit of Parisian-style bistronomy going on here with high end food cooked in casual surroundings by just a couple of chefs in the open kitchen at one end of the room. The full tasting menu which comes in at a very reasonable £75 on weekend evenings (it’s £60 during the week) and is excellent from start to finish. Highlights from our visit include the black pudding macaron; the beef tartare with Tunworth cheese and celeriac; and the amazing Orkney scallop cooked in sea urchin butter. YUM. If you’re looking for a full on special meal for York this should definitely be on the list.
Cave du Cochon
Also just like Paris, the team have a small wine bar just down the road. It makes for a perfect pre-dinner stop for a glass of wine if you’re dining at Le Cochon Aveugle, or you can even make a night of it if here if you fancy something more relaxed.
Founded by power couple Adam and Lovaine Humphrey, Arras first opened its doors all the way over in Sydney back in 2007 before transporting over here in August last year. The restaurant takes inspiration from both British and international cuisine, with a heavy influence on seasonal ingredients. Location-wise it’s within the city walls, just a two minute walk from the city centre. The building itself is a former coach house so it has high ceilings and plenty of natural light, and the decor is luxe with bold art work painted onto the walls. Highlights includ the Greek salad with roast salmon, feta mousse, tomato jam, olive caramel and fried red onion and the bavette which was served with grilled pineapple, confit egg yolk, crispy bacon, pickled beetroot, burnt onion and ricotta. And we would definitely recommend saving room for the cheese trolley.
This is the most recent high-profile restaurant to arrive in York and it’s a winner. Run by Tommy Banks who runs the Michelin-starred pub The Black Swan at Oldstead nearby, Roots adopts a very seasonal approach with a menu that changes with the seasons a la Noma. Much of the produce comes from Tommys own gardens at The Black Swan and the ingredients are really allowed to shine through. We were there for The Hunger Gap menu, which runs from January to May and loved the smoked eel doughnuts; lamb and fermented turnip bao; and the incredible crapaudine beetroot cooked slowly in beef fat – it’s seriously worth going for this dish alone.
The Principal could not really have a better location, being quite literally next door to the station. This means if you’re just up for a quick weekend from London you can be in your hotel room within minutes of stepping off the train. The building itself is a classic old Victorian building with some beuatiful interiors – ask for a room in the main building if you can as it has more charcter than the modern extension. It does have a small pool too though it’s pretty dated. If you’re looking for a comfortable room and a good location however, then The Principal is a good shout.