It was a quiet Friday night, with it being just a few days into the New Year and not many folk into the swing of work and London life yet but the York & Albany was happily buzzing with guests.
We propped ourselves up at the laid-back bar for a quick aperitif upon arrival: a Manhattan for Mr Husband and Angel, a gin and lychee champagne cocktail crowned with a sugary halo for myself.
Contrary to our stomachs still being full from festive indulgence, we oddly yearned for something wholesome, comforting and hearty. Luckily for us, this is what the menu here by head chef Kim Woodward provides.
For starters, I selected the baked Queenie scallops with garlic and tarragon butter and Mr Husband went for a richer option of braised shin ravioli with ox-tongue and marrow bone sauce. We both agreed that we would go back and try a few of the other offerings on the menu, such as Jerusalem artichoke soup and chicken liver and fois gras parfait with Earl Grey jelly and toasted brioche.
We also chose a large glass of luscious red each to go with our mains from a short but sweet selection, which we hear have been carefully re-selected very recently, as has the whole wine menu. Jovially, the charming general manager here exclaimed, ‘it’s a tough job, wine tasting, but someone’s got to do it!’
Soon we were tucking into our mains: grilled west country rib eye steak with green peppercorn sauce and sides of chips and tomato and red onion salad for him and roasted Lancashire duck breast with smoked white bean cassoulet and black cabbage for myself. Both were perfectly gastro-pub-like dishes, not trying to be anything else but.
For dessert, I ordered the classic apple crumble with vanilla ice-cream and Mr Husband treated himself to treacle tart. Both went down a real treat with a superb glass of sweet Hungarian Tokai, which is fast becoming a firm favourite within many wine repertoires, including mine.
We arrived too early to check out the new quintessentially British hunting lodge aka ‘Hunting Cabin’ that the York & Albany has in store from 10th January for six weeks but are keen to go and take a peek.
Taking inspiration from the historic hunting grounds on which this beautiful town house is located, an area of the pub will be furnished with traditional tartans, tweeds, animal skins and of course, antlers. They will also rustle up duck rillettes, game sausage rolls, black pudding, scotch eggs and venison sausage with relish and firm favourites including mulled wine, hot apple cider and spiced boozy hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows to get you into the sociable and cosy winter warming mood. Game on.
The York & Albany also offers nine individually designed and stylishly decorated rooms for those looking for a unique place to stay in the city, or for an effortless respite after such a delicious dinner.