York has to be my favourite city. It is beautiful; it has character and charm; it has history. It also, perhaps more importantly, has great pubs, bars and places to eat. When I visited in early 2017 I was lucky enough to book a table at what was then a very new small restaurant, Skosh. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but by about half an hour in, I knew a trip to York would never again be the same unless it included dinner at this little gem.
Months passed by before I had chance to plan a repeat visit to this lovely city. Of course, the hotel booking had to be put on hold until a table had been secured at Skosh, and although the only tables available were an early lunch or a 9.30pm sitting, I jumped at the chance to have a very late dinner. Nowhere else would be able to satisfy my cravings for obscure, seasonal, delicious, clever food!
It was the week between Christmas and New Year and York’s streets and pubs were busy with shoppers, families, tourists and friends catching up. It was cold and slushy but as beautiful as ever, with bright blue sky and lots of sun. The day was happily spent pottering in shops, spending far too long, as ever, in the deceptively large and very higgledy-piggledy Oliver Bonas. There was then a bottle of fizz with our names all over it in Missoula, possibly one of the most lovely chain bars in York, on the river and with balconies which are perfect on a summer’s evening for watching the world go by. Finally, it was time to walk the short distance to Skosh!
We were quickly seated and greeted by manager Morgan – just as charming, relaxed and wonderfully Northern as last time we visited. He talked us through the menu choices and, just as before, made sure we ordered appropriate amounts of items and arranged for the small plates to come out in an order, and in pairings, that made perfect sense. The menu was very different this time round – being winter, the seasonal availability is obviously different to spring when we last went and so the menu was full of more earthy vegetables and more gamey flavours of meat. Even the cocktails were seasonal – we decided to sample ‘caramel rum, pear, smoke’ which was most definitely served full of smoke and was delicious in a way I have never experienced in a drink.
Our two favourite dishes from last time were ‘hens egg’ and skosh fried chicken. Thank goodness, they were still on the menu – obviously we were not the only ones who devoured those last time like there was no tomorrow (even ordering another plate of the chicken afterwards as it was so spectacular!), as they were the only dishes which hadn’t changed.
I’m slightly apprehensive to try to describe the incredible flavours and plates we had – as words might not do them justice. Instead, I will show you, and tell you what the menu says for each dish…
First off – ‘hens egg’ with Dale End cheddar, onion and cardamom. If only all boiled eggs could be this incredibly satisfying. I love how clever the presentation of these little gems is, and the creamy cheesy eggy goo is just amazing.
Left – curried mussels and pickled lime (looked odd, but actually was quite nice – but probably not one that we would order again…). Right – venison koftas with pomegranate yogurt and pickled sprouts (delicious – and I usually don’t much like venison!).
Skosh fried chicken with brown butter hollandaise – just fabulous. Rich, buttery sauce and perfectly crispy fried chicken. I could eat this all day, every day.
Next – scorched hand dived scallops – parsnip, wasabi and apple. Ordering this was daring for us as it is not a combination of ingredients either of us would ever normally choose; however we try to adopt an attitude of ‘let’s try it’ especially in places like this, and we were very glad we did on this occasion!
Our last two savoury items. Left – potato waffles, curry, coconut and swiss chard. Right – crisp pork belly, vindaloo sauce, pickled carrots and yoghurt rice. Both of these, as expected, were completely delicious. We were quite sad that they marked an end to the savoury part of the meal as I’m fairly sure we could have continued eating dishes like these for another few hours! Luckily (for our waist bands) the kitchen had closed by now so we couldn’t order any more last minute fried chicken like last time…
Finally it was time for dessert – right: custard bun with white chocolate, pear and matcha (this might have been the first time I have ever dared order anything with matcha in it!) and left: a Christmas-themed skosh ‘bauble’ – chocolate, parsnip, lime and cumin. Both these desserts were delicious, light but completely satisfying and finishing off the meal wonderfully. The half-carafe of German Gewurztraminer didn’t go down too badly, either!
I don’t know when I will next be able to get up to York for the weekend, but one thing is for sure – the visit will entirely be centred around another meal at Skosh! If you ever get chance to go – you must. Make sure you book in advance!