Review: Skosh, York

The wine journal

The wine journal

I’ve only ever been offered a “Savoury course” in one restaurant before: La Becasse in Ludlow, under chef Will Holland. So seeing a savoury course on the menu at Skosh felt like a good sign! For those unfamiliar, a savoury course would usually be something interesting involving cheese that you could take instead of (or in our case, as well as!) a sweet course at the end of the meal.

They do another fun thing at Skosh, they keep a wine journal. Every now and then they buy the odd case of interesting wine and scribble down their own tasting notes in a little leather journal along with a price; you can choose from any of them that they haven’t already sold out of. Fun to read. And of course they also have a perfectly good list of very drinkable wines, all available by the glass or bottle.

Cheese not egg

Cheese not egg

So, food. It’s small plates but they build a meal for you by picking a sensible order in which to serve up whatever you’ve ordered. First up were eggcups full of a dreamy cheddar mousse with snarky bits of burnt cheese and cardamom at the bottom. Nobody could possibly dislike this.

The follow up dish was an odd mixture on paper: spicy venison tartare, avocado mousse, goat curds, pickled pear. It was all very tasty, but although the goat curd and avocado certainly lightened the dish this was kinda at the expense of a clear, punchy flavour.

Cauliflower manchurian was delish, in a properly elegant sweet-and-sour-and-spicy sauce that favoured the sour over the sweet. Nice soft and crispy batter on the cauliflower.

Lovely bit of salmon sashimi next, with peppy little wasabi tobiko piled on top. To make it a “sashimi pizza” it was served on a little round paratha and… well, I just didn’t need any bread of any description with my sashimi.

Sashimi... pizza?

Sashimi… pizza?

Pork belly in vindaloo gravy with yogurt rice on the side was back on track. The gravy was absolutely to die for, a warmy spicy hit. Thin slices of pork with nicely crisped fat worked brilliantly. The rice was a cool complement, though I think serving it at fridge temperature didn’t do the dish any favours – by the time we were eating it the meat and gravy wasn’t hot enough to contrast properly with the cold. I can see how well it would work if they were proper hot.

Our final two dishes were tied first place for absolute brilliance. Pheasant and cavalo nero with a creamy/spicy sesame bang-bang sauce was magic; a beautifully cooked breast with plenty of pink still in it, the sauce with it’s earthy nuttiness and spicy creaminess, the brassica all wrinkly and ready to catch up the sauce. Mmm. And then the char-grilled leek with salted duck egg and smoked celeriac puree was almost even better. Spikily salty crumbled egg, yielding braised leek with bitter blackened edges, melded together by the rich smoky puree. Double-mmm.

Savoury dish

Savoury dish

The savoury that I couldn’t resist was quirky goodness. Vacherin Mont D’Or baked in banana leaf with some black truffle, accompanied by pickled celeriac slaw and to be eaten with a chestnut and pear roll. It was as good as it sounds, though if I’m honest all the flavours kinda bundled in together to give a generic gooey-savoury richness which made for a satisfying finale.

Except for pud, of course, which we had to at least attempt. Maureen’s tiny quince jam donut with a shot of rum-infused milk was the light option and basically yum. My “bauble” was a pretty jumble of chocolate and caramel and cumin scrunch. The bit of parsnip in it got a bit lost.

So. We absolutely loved our meal at Skosh, for the sheer inventiveness and for the depth of flavour, especially in the spicy sauces and gravies. Sometimes they seem to trip over themselves in over-invention, but never to the extent of putting out a duff dish. It feels like £40 would be typical per person before drinks, but there’s such a range of pricing in their small plates that you could have the same sized meal for £26 or £48. Go go go!

Leek and duck egg

Leek and duck egg

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