Roots York
Roots York
Roots York
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SquareMeal Review of Roots York

Silver Award

The eagerly anticipated second restaurant from Chef Tommy Banks of the Michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead was always going to be a success. Having revamped what was the old Bay Horse pub into a contemporary space for fine dining; Banks has stuck to the ethos that won his original venue so many accolades: everything revolves around seasonal ingredients grown and foraged on the family farm, which are transformed into mouthfuls of pure joy. Nothing is too heavily handled, which allows each piece of produce speak for itself in its simplicity, for full on flavour.

Here, Banks has based his cooking around three seasonal menus: ‘The Hunger Gap’, ‘The Time of Abundance’ and ‘Preservation Season’. Our visit coincided with the latter – an autumnal line-up full of hedgerow fruits, brassicas and root vegetables such as celeriac, crapaudine beetroot and cabbage.

You are free to choose a selection of dishes from an a la carte offering, or can let the kitchen choose for you by plumping for a ‘Roots Feast’, for £55 per person.

To begin, we were offered some beautifully light ‘sour bread’ and seed crackers, although the accompanying Lincolnshire Poacher cheese ‘custard’ was a flavourless let-down. After that, it was success all the way, from sweet and tangy ‘sour pea’ falafel with carrots and pork fat to lamb and fermented turnip ‘bao’ (a perfect pairing), and a dish of buttery ox cheek with cauliflower and kale. Desserts offer twists on classics such as tiramisu (reimagined with carrot and chicory root) or you can play it safe with Mary Banks’ apple cake, which comes with Oldstead honey, crème fraîche and foraged berries.

If visiting during the 'Time of Abundance' you can expect dishes like Thornback ray wing, 'tartare' sauce and hazelnuts or salt beef, mustard, gherkins and Old Winchester cheese.

There are also plenty of pleasant surprises on the helpfully categorised wine list – although prices are a little steep given that glasses are all 125ml. Still, eating here is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

Good to know

Dates, Special occasions, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

Roots York is featured in

UK's Top 100 Restaurants

Location for Roots York

68 Marygate, York, North Yorkshire, YO30 7BH


Opening Times

Wed-Mon 12N-2pm 5.30 – 8.30pm

Reviews of Roots York

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2 Reviews 

Paul A

Better than its big brother
29 July 2019  

A short stroll from the centre of York, this former pub has been adapted to house a modern restaurant with a modern dining concept - shared plates. The first thing to strike us was the charming and clearly properly schooled staff keen to ensure that the customer comes first, as was demonstrated by our being moved from the table assigned to us to one where we could have a good view of the open kitchen. A good start, especially as Tommy Banks was in the kitchen, unlike at the Black Swan a couple of days earlier, and maybe it showed, the quality of the dishes being superior here. Our glasses of English sparkling were shared with some tasty seed crackers which came with sourdough bread, chive butter and a creamy cheese before we had ordered and which we subsequently discovered was the first course on our choice of the “Roots Feast” or tasting menu, in this case a selection of 10 dishes from the current “Time of abundance” offering, one of three seasonal versions as a function of the ingredients available. The feast started with a nasturtium Caesar salad with multiple constituents which, although slightly vinegary, got the palate set up for the next dish, a delightful combination of cured sea bass with golden strawberries and a creamy sauce with a gherkin addition. The potential problem with two plates being served at the same time was demonstrated with the next round - carrot and fennel salad on the one hand and lamb bao bun on the other. Meat before salad for the temperature? The salad went down very easily, with its fennel oil topping, perfectly roasted, yummy hazelnuts, raw carrots and carrot tops matched with pickled fennel and asking for meat to follow. The lamb belly was absolutely top-notch and enhanced by surprisingly delicate fermented turnip and extremely good buns. Interestingly, the raw deer dish we had not been keen on at the Black Swan was on the menu but not served here, and we went straight on to some lovely beef brisket, salted for 7 days, topped with one of our favourite local cheeses, Old Winchester, and served with the inevitable gherkin and a ketchup and mustard emulsion. A very successful first main followed by an equally inviting fish dish, a more than decent portion of excellent day boat coley with a smoked butter sauce, not unlike the Black Swan version, but here with clams, roasted onions, samphire leaves and a chervil powder. We were very happy to have a second meat main, especially as it was really tasty hogget with its accompaniment of baby vegetables and courgette. The Roots take on Angel Delight came next, an almost chocolatey Jerusalem artichoke mousse with a Jerusalem artichoke syrup tuile and chicory, and then, our final indulgence in this well-conceived lunchtime extravaganza, gooseberry cake, beautifully sharp gooseberry, elderflower cream and elderflower and gooseberry tuile. This would make a super palate cleanser, but we were happy with it anywhere. A most impressive experience and terrific value even with the one disappointment of the bread being counted as a course.

Food & Drink

Jean T

29 March 2019  
Fabulous food in an amazing setting with absolutely professional but friendly staff.

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