A new restaurant is coming to 98 Micklegate this Spring. Aiming to use small, environmentally friendly and sustainable farms and producers, Skosh is an attempt to move away from factory produced food and products. The team at Skosh have chosen to promote the opening with a series of pop-ups which will take place in York throughout March. One pop-up held at the Pig & Pastry on Bishy Road will showcase a tasting menu, with dishes including roast hake with cauliflower, parmesan and hazelnuts, and a caper-truffle dressing. The team at Skosh are focused on bringing a memorable dining experience and show a clear respect for the food they serve, ideas which hopefully appear to be gaining ground in the independent food scene. We spoke to Neil Bentinck, the chef-patron of Skosh about his inspirations and the journey that brought him to start up Skosh.
Where did the name and the idea to set up Skosh come from?
My idea for Skosh was simply to create a space in which I would like to eat myself, a relaxed and contemporary environment in which to enjoy interesting food and drink at a price point that represented good value for money. As for the name, I was writing my business plan a couple of years ago and saw skosh in my dictionary app! It just worked in so many ways and ultimately, the meaning of skosh being ‘a small amount or a little’, it literally represents the style of food which will be served in the restaurant.
Was there a business model which inspired you in this venture?
I didn’t have a business model as such but I’ve certainly been inspired by different cultures and cuisines. California has a really interesting dining scene, especially San Francisco, so fresh and modern. But really, I don’t think I’m offering anything ground-breaking, just something personal and a bit different. The street food of countries such as Thailand, India and Japan is inspiration enough and they have been creating tasty, affordable food in that respect for quite some time.
What made you choose York?
It could only ever be York! Its my home city and such an interesting, vibrant yet historical place. I’ve lived here since I was three years old, now thirty-four (minus a few stints abroad), my family still live here and it’s where I shall bring up my young family…my little boy Henry has just turned one!
You stress the importance of local and sustainable farming in your produce, why do you feel that this is so important nowadays?
I wouldn’t say stress as such, it just comes rather naturally now; local and sustainable produce will be a matter of cause for the restaurant. It is, from a commercial point of view, certainly more difficult to achieve consistency but that is a minor challenge to face when the reward is that the flavour of the produce is superior. The importance of these trader routes is to support these guys who work so passionately to create great tasting ingredients.
What inspired the cuisine of Skosh?
I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from travelling all over the world. My late father was born and raised in India and was an avid gastronome. His love of food from all over the world, especially India, has played such an important part of my make up as a chef.
How did you go about sourcing local produce for the restaurant?
Having worked in the hospitality industry for over 16 years, and the majority of which in the York area, I’ve been fortunate enough to have built up some fantastic relationships with trusted local suppliers already, some of which I’ve used for many years now, and others I even went to school with! However, that being said, we have been looking at new, more exclusive provisions for Skosh. Local organic vegetable, dairy and meat suppliers, and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust approved fisheries to name a few exciting prospects!
What do you feel Skosh is bringing that’s new to the York dining scene?
Serving the dishes in the form of snacks and small plates immediately creates a grazing style which allows the diner to experience several different dishes.
Skosh will provide a new and interesting concept to York, which I am incredibly excited about. My food certainly has an international influence which creates an eclectic mix of refined cooking. Another important part of Skosh is the commissions placed with local ceramicists, craftspeople and artists to create the table ware of the restaurant. I am of course biased, but I think the Skosh experience is very intriguing!
What do you see in the future for Skosh?
I will constantly strive for a busy restaurant with happy customers and happy staff; this will never change. Consistent and thoughtful work with local suppliers and farmers to support and promote their produce locally and within the industry is always a priority. I would ultimately look to expand the brand although Skosh would stay true to itself and its format, but of course I have other ideas. Realistically though, I would always be conscious of ‘spreading myself too thinly’. I hope to make a viable success of Skosh for a few years to come and then see what happens!
Tickets for the pop-ups are available through www.skoshyork.co.uk and Skosh are currently recruiting for staff with a passion for superb ingredients and good teamwork skills. Email [email protected] to apply.