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.