Located in the market town of Helmsley in North Yorkshire, Bantam is a neighbourhood restaurant serving unfussy food in an unpretentious setting. Head chef and co-owner Sam Varley, a Yorkshire man himself, has been inspired by his family’s love for good food and their trips to Northern Spain. As a result, Varley aims to showcase local produce and create delicious dishes using only high-quality ingredients. Bantam has been heralded as one of the UK's best local restaurants and continues to be not just a local favourite but increasingly a destination for travellers.
A meal at Bantam is mainly centred around the concept of sharing plates, inspired loosely by modern European cuisine, elevated with the best of Yorkshire produce. Start off with a bite from the snack menu such as the pigs head croquettes with plum brown sauce or smoked cod’s roe and crisps. The sharing plates are varied with plenty of enticing meat, fish and vegetable-based dishes. Examples include ricotta agnolotti with confit tomatoes and pumpkin seed pistou, roast monkfish with courgettes and lobster bisque, and ham hock and guinea fowl terrine with pickles and toast. In addition to this, there is a chalkboard displaying daily specials including game, local vegetables, seafood and fruits, all subject to change according to the season and market availability. For dessert, there is a modest menu featuring indulgent treats like chocolate cremeux with Earl Grey prunes and a hazelnut biscuit, or for those of you without a sweet tooth, try the selection of British cheeses.
Continuing along Bantam’s sustainable approach, the wine list features only low-intervention wines from small independent vineyards, and again, the list changes frequently subject to availability. If you’ll be visiting Bantam during the warmer months, benefit from the spacious outdoor seating, the perfect accompaniment to a glass of organic wine and nibble.