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December 11 2013 Latest news:
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Chris Titley is transported by the flavour combinations and magical setting of a York restaurant
A week before dining at Burbridges Restaurant in York we had been enjoying a lovely break in the Dordogne. The intervening days brought us back to reality with a bump. Work, school, an overflowing email inbox they combined to dissolve our summer glow.
But then we booked for lunch on our first Friday back. And the moment we stepped into the restaurant, we felt as though we were back on holiday. Burbridges is located at The Mount Royale Hotel, on the wide and leafy road in York called The Mount. Its light-filled dining area exudes a calm classiness but the revelation came as we were shown the secret garden by owner Simon Burbridge.
Id been to the Mount Royale before but had no idea of this haven.
At the far end, swimmers smoothly completed lengths of the heated pool. Paths took us into corners brimming with old English greenery and theres even a stone well, once used as a water source for the Romans.
Amidst this magical garden is a wooden gazebo. The afternoon we visited it was warm and sunny and so opened to let in the Indian summer although I imagine it makes for a special autumnal oasis when heated and lit by the chandeliers.
In the warmth and shade of Burbridges garden, that holiday feeling floated over us again. So relaxed is the atmosphere that we realised we were the only diners with any clothes on. Although I should hastily explain that everyone else eating lunch was in a robe having taken a dip in the pool.
Simon is an excellent host and the staff friendly and unobtrusive. We were delighted to see that the menu was not bloated with choice but restricted to a select number of starters and main courses, abetted by the specials. Even so, the choice was a difficult one as they all sounded tempting.
For a starter, Jo chose the Feta and Orange Salad. All the food was presented beautifully but this turned out to be a work of art. Decorative balls of watermelon and edible flowers were as delicious on the eye as on the palate. And Jo was particularly taken by the feta not crumbly but creamy, she said.
I ordered a starter from the specials. The Smoked Duck Salad was terrific. An orange and raspberry emulsion added a necessary sharpness to cut through the sweet and surprisingly unfatty meat.
Time for the main courses. Jo was intrigued by the Hake and Gnocchi, a combination shed not seen before. Would it work? Even after the first forkful, Jo was able to deliver a resounding yes. The parmesan gnocchi beautifully complemented the tender hake, and the samphire delivered an intense hit of the sea. My Belly Pork was also something of a surprise
The pork was rolled into a cylinder of melt-in-the-mouth flavour. Black pudding, wholegrain mash and savoy cabbage added a variety of texture and taste which outdid any of the French cuisine wed enjoyed on our holiday.
Did we have 15 minutes to wait for the chocolate fondant dessert to be specially prepared, asked Simon? Yes, yes, yes was my reply.
And as the hot dark chocolate oozed into the ice cream, it transported us back to a state of holiday bliss.
The Mount Royale Hotel
119 The Mount
YO24 1DP 01904 619 444