<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today click here

Norse restaurant sets up a permanent home in Harrogate

PUBLISHED: 13:18 17 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:18 17 April 2017

A taste of Norse - Turbot with salsify and pickled cockles

A taste of Norse - Turbot with salsify and pickled cockles


There seems to be a restaurant or café on every street corner in Harrogate with one eatery successfully turning to the public to help them compete, as Martin Pilkington finds out.

The team at Norse which successfully crowdfunded their move to new premises The team at Norse which successfully crowdfunded their move to new premises

For three years and more Scandinavian restaurant Norse has been doing the catering equivalent of sleeping on its mate’s sofa, occupying in the evening the space used by Nordic cafe Baltzersen’s during the day. In spite of that inconvenience it has enjoyed great success – Jay Rayner one of many critics to enthuse about their food. Both establishments in Harrogate town centre are owned by Paul Rawlinson, so there were probably no arguments about the washing up, but he’s delighted that shortly Norse will have a new home of its own.

‘The 8th of April will be first full service open to paying customers,’ says Paul, whose Norwegian grandma’s cookery inspired the original cafe venture. ‘We’re all looking forward to it hugely as it will allow us to improve things like furniture, the ambience, and the breadth of our wine list. And it will be good to see what the guys can do in their bigger and better kitchens.’

The opening in their new premises in Swan Road, near Valley Gardens, once the home of the short-lived Wild Restaurant, has been partly crowdfunded. ‘It was super-successful,’ enthuses Paul. ‘We expected it to be a long slog and to need extra effort to keep it in the public gaze, but it ran away with us.’ The £20,000 target was raised in just four days.

Simon Jewitt, Norse’s head chef, is a partner in the relocated operation. He’s equally thrilled by the response. ‘We’d been allocated 30 days and it took four, which is fantastic. And it’s great to know we have that support, and pretty humbling too.’

Beef  with celeriac and crispy oyster Beef with celeriac and crispy oyster

The recipe for Norse’s success combines both Scandinavian and Yorkshire elements. ‘The last 10 years have seen a massive revolution in food in Scandinavia,’ explains Simon while Paul cites the example of Noma in Copenhagen, frequently named as the world’s best restaurant by food critics. ‘I follow the Nordic manifesto,’ says Simon, ‘which is all about top quality local sourcing from as close as possible to the restaurant, seasonality and not wasting anything. My inspiration comes from using classic combinations of food but employing new techniques, like Scandinavian preservation methods.’

The team works hard to build relationships with suppliers such as Farmison’s, a butcher in Ripon from whom he just bought 30-day-old milk-fed lamb, and he uses the services of a local forager to back up his own efforts locating ingredients like wild garlic, cowberries and wood sorrel. ‘Coming into spring we’re using local rhubarb, a proud Yorkshire moment for a proud Yorkshireman, and as this is a Scandinavian restaurant as well as using it fresh we’re preserving some for later in the year – I just pickled 10 kilos, am fermenting some, and will be drying some out to make powders.’

Norse has built its reputation on high-end tasting menus, which will continue in the new premises, but they’ll also be offering small plates and an option where larger dishes like short-rib of beef, or for vegetarians roast celeriac to be shared by diners.

‘Being independent means flexibility, pushing things you like and enjoy, but I think that more than that, like most independents, we rely on having those stories behind the elements of the business,’ says Paul. ‘It’s about the talent of the chefs, the producers you’re in contact with, having free rein with the menu and really working at the training of the team so we can give great service.’ And as if to give a practical example he and several colleagues were heading off to taste almost 400 wines before choosing a select few for their list.

Harrogate is becoming, it seems, a very competitive town as far as hospitality and eating out is concerned. Is there a danger of too many spoiling the town? Not necessarily so. Steve Patton from the tourism organisation Visit Harrogate says: ‘Harrogate is very lucky in its restaurant provision for a number of reasons. The first of which is that it’s one of the UK’s major conference centres and secondly it’s a fine spa town with lots of cultural attractions, popular as a destination since Victorian times – the economy here is driven by leisure, tourism and the hospitality industry. ‘There are more than 135 restaurants here now and being an affluent area makes it a good market for them but that also makes it very competitive, and can mean it’s tougher retaining staff,’ adds Steve. There is a very wide selection of the world’s favourite cuisines to choose from without venturing beyond Harrogate’s outskirts. A quick scan reveals Turkish, Greek, Thai, Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, American, Japanese, British, Cajun, Italian, Mongolian, Spanish, Brazilian, and of course with Norse, Scandinavian, and there are probably more.

The town has attracted the top national chains, though independents remain the majority. It’s a win-win situation for consumers who can choose from brand names everyone recognises, or be more adventurous and opt for places that have carved out niches for themselves by focusing on their individuality.

But do you think Harrogate has too many restaurants? Would you prefer a greater variety of shopping in the town? Email your views to feedback@yorkshirelife.co.uk

More from Food & Drink

Friday, October 13, 2017

One of the most exciting new openings in Leeds launches its autumn menu. Photographer Andy Bulmer highlights the artistic offering.

Read more
Yorkshire Restaurants Leeds
Monday, October 9, 2017

Busy Bake Off star heads to the Flavours Food Festival in Elsecar and launches a new Christmas book.

Read more
Friday, October 6, 2017

A specialist Ryedale grower marks its milestone anniversary with a trio of celebratory dishes

Read more
Yorkshire Food
Friday, September 29, 2017

A town comes together to support its food, drink and hospitality businesses

Read more
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

There’s always room for more when it comes to mushrooms, as Jo Haywood discovers.

Read more
Yorkshire Food
Monday, September 25, 2017

The winners of the 2017 Yorkshire Life Food and Drink Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony at Rudding Park, Harrogate

Read more
Friday, September 15, 2017

Delicious food served in a relaxed yet stylish setting, Barkers 1882 Bistro is the perfect dining experience to enjoy with your family and friends.

Read more
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pie & Steak night every Tuesday at the Bay Horse.

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Rudding Park Hotel will be serving up some delicious dishes at our annual event on September 25th

Read more
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Food from across the world is served at this cosy West Yorkshire dining location.

Read more
Sunday, September 3, 2017

Here it is, our much debated shortlist of those who have impressed us the most this time.

Read more
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A must-do on any foodie’s calendar, Flavours Food Fest is a feast for the senses. Not only does it offer mouthwatering delights from the region’s best local suppliers, visitors can also enjoy demonstrations from top chefs, beer, Prosecco and gin, live music, and a vintage and trinket market

Read more

The Yorkshire coast has pots and pots of lobsters – so why aren’t more of us tucking in?

Read more
Friday, July 28, 2017

Rosie Millard, chair of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, celebrates with readers

Photographs by Andy Bulmer

Read more
Yorkshire Life Luncheon
Great British Holidays advert link

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Yorkshire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Yorkshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search