One may wander through York looking for a restaurant full of quality, class and panache and happen to stumble upon the twee cobbled street that fronts Kites. This is not necessarily good fortune. A walk up the wooden stairs leads the diner into a black and white arrangement of awkward chairs and side sofas with room for only the smallest of rears.

The three of us were greeted by a throng of happy diners conspicuous only by their absence. A glass washing waitress took us to our seats and gave us the menu. Two of us chose a cheese and onion tartlet to start. For mains we selected Lambshanks with Rosemary Mash and a RIsotto with Chorizo and Mushrooms. The tartlet was reasonably tasty but had rather unfortunately been chopped in half (half a piece each) in what could only be described as an extremely miserly example of food economy.

The lambshanks and their potatoes (mysteriously devoid of rosemary) came in a red wine sauce that was more reminiscent of a poor man’s, watery Bisto (and I like Bisto!). The meat was tasteless and the vegetables added nothing to the overall flavour of the dish. The chorizo was overpowering in the risotto, which lacked any real joie de vivre, limping onto my fork as I reluctantly spooned it into my mouth.

Although the food at Kite’s was nothing special this have could been remedied by a buzzing atmosphere. Unfortunately, Kites doesn’t even have this. Instead eating in Kites gives one the feeling of being stranded in purgatory waiting for the judgement that will be your food. Fortunately though on our return home we tucked in to some Dairy Lea Dunkers which were far more filling and I didn’t have to pay ten quid for the privilege. Long live the chef schools of the North, wherever they may be.

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