Café Concerto

Address: Petergate
Average food price: £12

In retrospect, the evening had gone wrong; mistakes had been made and lessons learnt. Before reviewing Café Concerto my fellow reviewer James and I had been sampling the fine Yorkshire ales at The Maltings pub (see review below). We had planned a ‘quick afternoon drink’, but it had turned into a long, drawn-out session of the kind that makes women more attractive to men but not vice versa. Not only that, but on entering the café in our combined state of less-than-sobriety, we discovered a pair of campus celebrities – witnesses! One of them looked amused to see us, the other baffled. But more of that in a bit.
The good news is, as I found out the morning after, Café Concerto has a great website which is worth a look if you’re thinking of going (www.cafeconcerto.biz). The pictures of the interior helped to clear the alcoholic fog obscuring my memory and, studying the detailed menu, I was able to work out how much we’d spent (the receipt has still not turned up).
To start, I had some sort of Mediterranean platter. There were different meats, houmous, olives and probably a bit of salad – all good and clearly no challenge to the kitchen. James had the pigeon breast which, he told me about ten times, was delicious. Well presented, too. We had the cheapest white on the list (about £12) because it’s never cool to get the second cheapest wine.
As we ate our main courses (seafood stew, salmon fillet) I began stealing James’s prawns and, to be perfectly honest, was in no state to make notes or carry on reviewing. So at this point I’ll pass the baton onto the campus celebrities, who have kindly provided us with an account of their evening:
“We had no idea that we would be reviewing our meal. We were just innocent diners on a Thursday evening, windswept and freezing, wandering around York longing for warmth, good wine and a much-needed break from the grimy student lifestyle. Serenaded by the tolling of the Minster bells, we stumbled upon the homely Café Concerto, the walls inside plastered in weathered music manuscripts and rustic-looking cellos.
“We were seated in a quiet corner, far away from the bitter winds of the North and were quickly furnished with olives and wine. But one sip of crisp Sauvignon Blanc later, and our sophisticated illusion was shattered: a couple of drunk and disorderly ragamuffins rolled up and settled themselves at the table behind us.
“Despite their tomfoolery, we had a delightful meal. To start, we had a warm mushroom and Brie filo tart. To follow, a generous plate of lemon sole with fresh salad, and a chicken and apricot risotto with garlic bread. Both were unashamedly wonderful, but were still to compete with what was to come.
We finally settled for a tantalising lemon cheesecake and a warm mango and apple crumble, all served with indulgent cream, and all homemade. Excellent.”
Thank you. Essentially then, as my celebs have hopefully illustrated, Cafe Concerto is welcoming, cosy and the food is great. The staff, if they were musically themed like the cafe, would probably be a Mozart string quartet. We returned home on a bicycle.

2 comments

  1. We try to visit York at least twice a year and for the past 10 years Cafe Concerto has always been at the top of our fine dining list. The food and presentation here has always been something special and we have been introduced to many new dishes that you wouldn’t see in other restaurants. Sadly over the last 2 years the standard of food, and service has deteriorated and this restaurant is very much past its sell by date. We dined here on the 26th July 2008 and the experience very much reinforced our previous suspicions that standards had declined. My chosen starter was a Chorizo salad (£6.75) from the specials and when this arrived it was a very sad sight. The Chorizo and salad were flavourless and dumped without any attention to presentation in a soup bowl. Similarly our main courses were equally uninspiring and the meat was tough. When we left at 8:30 the restaurant was 3/4’s empty, a stark contrast to the situation a couple of years ago when you couldn’t get in without booking a week ahead. I strongly recommend you pass up Cafe Concerto and try around the corner at Cafe No 8 which is to die for.

    Reply Report

  2. We couldn’t disagree more. We went at the weekend recently and they were having to turn people away. A restaurant can be practically empty one night and completely packed the next. There’s no logic to it. The food is always excellent and imaginative and the staff are always helpful and never intrusive. If anything, Cafe Concerto has improved with age like a fine wine. It’s a York institution. If you want to see what unbiased professional food critics have to say, then have a look at their website, (cafeconcerto.biz).

    Reply Report

Leave a comment



Please note our disclaimer relating to comments submitted. Please do not post pretending to be another person. Nouse is not responsible for user-submitted content.