Roots York

Silver Award

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

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cosy, Fine dining, Romantic
Other Awards
One Michelin star, SquareMeal UK Top 100
Food Occasions
Dates, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Roots York

Roots York is the second restaurant from star chef Tommy Banks, who first won a Michelin star for his debut site The Swan at Oldstead in 2013, at the age of just 24. Now with more than a few years of experience under his belt, Banks has turned his attention to York and his efforts have paid off - in 2021, Roots became the first ever York restaurant to be awarded a star.

The restaurant sits on the former site of the old Bay Horse pub and the restaurant still has some of the homely characteristics of a countryside boozer, featuring wood panelling, original fireplaces and patterned rugs. The smattering of tables around the room make it clear that this is a venue for feasting though, while large windows flood the space with natural light and cosy banquette seating peppered with colourful scatter cushions make the space warm and inviting.

Knowing his strengths, Banks has stuck to the same food philosophy that brought him so much success the first time around - Roots York serves a menu of seasonally changing and uncomplicated dishes, in which fresh ingredients that have mostly been sourced direct from the family farm are given the chance to shine. Diners are given the sole choice of a tasting menu and thanks to the aforementioned dedication to seasonal produce, you are likely to find that dishes change between visits.

Whatever is on the menu when you visit though, you can be sure it will be something that is simple yet remarkably effective- from a main course of scallops with sour honey and pickled mussels, to an intriguing pudding of rhubarb served alongside raw milk and Jerusalem artichoke.

Prices are as you’d expect from a fine dining joint, and if you have the budget, it’s worth perusing Roots extensive list of global wines.


Does Roots York have a Michelin star?

Roots York has one Michelin star.

Helpful? 0
Meet the team
Roots York

Tommy Banks

Chef Patron

Tommy Banks was born and raised in the small North Yorkshire village of Oldstead and comes from a farming background, which has translated into the fastidious sourcing seen at his restaurants. Banks heads up The Black Swan at Oldstead where he was awarded a Michelin star aged just 24 and his York restaurant Roots was awarded a star in 2021, becoming the first restaurant in the city to be given the accolade. Alongside his restaurant portfolio, Banks also operates a high-end food box service called Made in Oldstead, as well as making regular TV appearances on Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu.

Roots York is featured in

Location for Roots York

68 Marygate, York, North Yorkshire, YO30 7BH

Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 12:00-13:30
Fri 12:00-13:30
Sat 12:00-13:30
Sun 12:00-13:30
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 18:00-20:30
Fri 18:00-20:30
Sat 18:00-20:30
Sun 18:00-20:30

Reviews of Roots York

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2 Reviews 

Paul A

29 July 2019  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 5
Better than its big brother

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.

Jean T

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