Christmas is a time for feasting, and feast we did. We gorged ourselves on mounds of opulent cuisine, celebrating in, without doubt, one of the best restaurants in York, The Whippet Inn. Hardly known to most students, this hidden gem specialises in ale and steak, providing hordes of scrumptious food perfect for many-a-food connoisseur. Whilst the name raised a few eyebrows, the interior is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, providing a quirky, if not a little risqué, atmosphere that has a warm feeling.
Located on North Street in York’s City Centre, I was lucky enough to attend this fine establishment for Nouse’s annual Christmas meal. A line from “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” probably summed up the atmosphere best; “bring us some figgy pudding we want it right now!” Whilst the Whippet Inn doesn’t currently serve figgy pudding, it does provide plenty of scrumptious food perfect for any food lover. The restaurant’s design didn’t disappoint either. Varying wallpaper patterns, a modern metal ceiling and elegant leather chairs were all carefully formulated together to establish a vibrant but cosy décor.
The phrase “depth of flavour” is often sprouted by pretentious foodies and supercilious food critics in a rather arbitrary manner. The Thai Cosmo cocktail which I received in this restaurant however really encapsulated the true meaning of that phrase; I was blown away by differing and complimentary notes of ginger, lemongrass and vodka. It was without doubt the best cocktail I have ever had in my life, giving any London bar a run for its money. Not only that, but we took advantage of their two-for-one cocktail happy hour, each served with meticulous precision and care. I went into dinner with the uneasy feeling that the meal surely couldn’t live up to such brilliance? Could it?
Well I needn’t have worried because from the moment my starter, a chicken, cranberry and pistachio terrine, passed my lips I knew that I was in food heaven. I have never had such a fresh and vivacious terrine before. The cool, crisp chicken was perfectly complimented by the sweet tangy cranberry. My companion went for the smoked salmon with beetroot & vodka crème fraîche and I was informed that it was equally flavoursome; the vodka sauce being a particular favourite component.
Despite how good the starter was, all thoughts of it quickly vanished from my mind when I was presented with our main course. It was the steak, but not just any steak though. This was a forty day aged 8oz Rump steak that had been locally produced in God’s own county, Yorkshire. The steak was everything a good steak should be; it had bags of flavour and simply melted in your mouth. Perfectly accompanying it were creamy thick cut chips and a fiery mouth-watering peppercorn sauce, which made for an irresistible flavour. There were other main course options available including a sea bass, turkey and a vegetable arrangement. These options all looked and as I was later told, tasted fantastic, but to be honest you’d be crazy not to go for the steak.
To finish off I had baked vanilla cheesecake with toffee sauce. By this stage of the review it goes without saying that the dish was wonderful. The sticky sweet toffee sauce contrasted perfectly with the creamy vanilla cheesecake. This dish was presented simply but with great flair. My companion had a waffle with vanilla ice cream, which was apparently also very tasty.
“Are there any downsides to this seemingly perfect restaurant?” I hear you chorus. Well, like most things in life, this level of quality does come at a price. A non-steak main course will set you back between £10–£14 pounds and a steak main course costs between £18–£27, pricing the restaurant out of the student market. However, the quality of food is definitely worth the price and the Christmas menu, which I had, is a particularly good deal. So for the best steak and cocktails in town, go to The Whippet Inn – you will not be disappointed!