Yorkshire Life Luncheon - Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa, York
PUBLISHED: 12:08 25 April 2012 | UPDATED: 20:06 02 November 2015
Guests join us for a five-star lunch at one of the county's top hotels. Jo Haywood reports Photographs by Andy Bulmer
When they talk about star quality, they’re talking about the Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa in York.
It recently became the city’s first five star hotel and the only AA five star rated hotel in the county. There are just 90 other AA 5 star hotels in the UK and, excluding The Grand, only 23 outside London, so this is high praise indeed.
And, as if that wasn’t enough of an embarrassment of riches, The Grill Room at The Grand has also been awarded two prestigious AA rosettes for the quality of its culinary offering.
‘This is our first five-star venture, but as soon as we saw the building we fell in love with it and realised nothing less would do it justice,’ said John Horvath, the Cedar Court group’s hotel director.
‘Achieving five-star status in a recession was ambitious to say the least. But the support we received from the people of York gave us the confidence we needed to press ahead. There were, of course, some cynics who questioned whether we could pull this off, but we’ve proved them wrong.’
The £25m Cedar Court Grand opened in May 2010 following an extensive and invigorating refurbishment programme of the former North Eastern Railway headquarters – one of York’s most iconic Edwardian buildings.
The Grand has 107 bedrooms, including 13 suites and a lavish penthouse. Many of the rooms have views of the historic city walls and York’s spectacular minster. And, as a grade two listed building, many of its prized original features remain intact, including beautiful mosaic tiling, parquet floors and wood panelled meeting rooms.
The hotel, which enjoys a central position within walking distance of all this wonderful city has to offer, is also home to a luxurious spa, set for expansion later this year. Housed in the building’s atmospheric vaults, it offers a range of therapeutic face and body care treatments, and guests also have access to the gym, sauna, swimming pool, steam room and relaxation rooms.
But our guests had not joined us for a trot on the treadmill or a mood-melting massage; they were expecting great food in a five-star setting. And they weren’t disappointed, as The Grand more than lived up to its name.
Our lunch got off to a colourful start with a green-for-go pea and mint risotto given a salty kick by a parmesan disk with the crunch and lacy appearance of a savoury brandy snap.
Next came a glorious steak cooked to pink perfection with a deliciously earthy foie gras parcel, followed by a cleverly deconstructed tiramisu that whipped diners into something of a foodie frenzy (to match its whipped mascarpone) as they sang its praises.
Our guests were also quick to sing the praises of head chef Martin Henley, who led his team into the dining room to receive a resounding – and well deserved – round of applause.
John, who was supposed to cut his lunch short to head off to a meeting at Cedar Court’s Wakefield property but couldn’t resist staying for the glorious pudding (and the glorious company, of course), was among the first to praise his colleagues. But he, and the rest of his hard-working team, are not the types to sit back languorously basking in the limelight. Winning five stars and two rosettes is one thing, but retaining them is a whole new ball game.
‘Five stars and two AA rosettes are difficult to achieve and very easy to lose,’ said John. ‘We now have a local, national and international reputation to maintain. I’m not saying for a second that it’ll be an easy ride but, with the continued help and support of this fantastic, five-star city, I’m sure we can continue to live up to the high standards we have set ourselves.’
If you would like to find out more about The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa in Station Rise, York, call 01904 380038 or visit cedarcourtgrand.co.uk.
Pea and mint risotto with Yorkshire parmesan
Fillet of steak Rossini with seared foie gras, fondant potato and spinach
Deconstructed tiramisu with joconde sponge, whipped mascarpone and coffee sauce
Rias Baixas, Albarino 2010, Valminor, Galicia, Spain. This fresh, crisp wine comes from the North West of Spain, just above Portugal. It is a premier wine – you won’t find it in the supermarket buy-one-get-one-free aisle – and has enhanced echoes of sauvignon blanc.
Falernia, Carmenere Reserva 2009, Elqui Valley, Chile. The carmenere grape is unique to Chile and, in this instance, is tended by two Italian brothers in a valley offering the perfect growing conditions. The resulting wine is a rich and pleasantly full-bodied red that works wonderfully well with a great steak.
Skillogalee, Liqueur Muscat NV, Clare Valley, Australia. The rather unusual name of this wine comes from the name of an Irish gruel that fuelled immigrants making their way to Clare Valley in Australia. It is made in the same way as a tawny port and the result is an almost syrup-like fortified wine that’s perfect with puddings (it works a treat drizzled over vanilla ice cream). As an added bonus it comes in beautifully crafted bottles adorned with hand-written labels.
All the wines at our lunch were provided by Enotria of London. For more information, visit enotria.co.uk.
The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life
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