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Fish & Forest, York – Superb service and fabulous food!

Wine & Dine Yorkshire are delighted to review the Fish & Forest, a small friendly restaurant serving seasonal and sustainable fish, game and forest foods set on Micklegate in York.

Menus take inspiration from the sea, the forest and the Yorkshire countryside. Head Chef and owner, Stephen Andrews who is a self-taught chef, creates a small regularly evolving a la carte menu of simple seasonal plates allow the ingredients to shine.

Stephen launched Fish & Forest in March 2019 at Spark, York’s space for food & drink and creative start-ups. After three months, he was approached by the team at the Gillygate pub who offered him the opportunity use their underused front room as a new base for Fish & Forest. Here, Stephen and his team built a loyal following of York locals and visitors and quickly outgrew the space and started looking for their own restaurant signing the lease at 110 Micklegate in April 2020 while the country was in lockdown.
This was such an intimate dining experience which made each table feel special as you felt like the staff dedicated more time to you unlike larger establishments. The lady that served us was amazing, she personally went through the menu at your table, explained what each dish was, how it was cooked and how best to eat it. You rarely see this anymore and it was lovely to see this happen at every table. How she remembered what every dish was cooked with and presented like was amazing.

On arrival you could immediately tell the atmosphere was relaxed and chilled. The kitchen was open so you could see your dishes been prepared and cooked which is always great to see.

Our pre-starter dish was homemade sourdough and handmade butter, £3. The sourdough bread was served warm which meant a lovely melt in the mouth from homemade butter. The butter was salted perfectly and was extremely moreish. Is there anything better than bread and butter? Although we could have eaten more, we didn’t want to fill up on bread as we knew we had some delicious dishes ahead.

For starters we went for, stonebass, seaweed tapenade, £11
This was raw fish, accompanied by many different flavours and textures. Overall it was a lovely refreshing salty dish, I would definitely have it again.

We also went for king scallops, fish nduja, £12. If you area regular reader of our reviews, you will know scallops are up there with one of our favourite dishes. These scallops did not disappoint, they were cooked to perfection and seared golden brown as they should be. The nduja added a nice spice to the dish and overall it was extremely tasty.

Sustainability is at the heart of everything they do. Fish is wild, native or ethically-farmed and sustainably caught on day boats using specific and targeted method of fishing.

After our starters, we could not wait for the mains! It’s important to add, while the focus is on fish and game, vegetarians and vegans will also find interesting vegetable-led dishes on the menu.

However, for us it was all about the fish and game. Therefore, our mains were coley, clams, reaper butter, £26, and venison with green peppercorn sauce, £27.

The fish was a lovely dish. I have never had Coley before so thought I would give it a try, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Coley is is often overlooked in favour of cod or haddock but after trying this dish I would definitely order this again. A substantial fillet with a mild and flaky texture. I was advised by the waitress to take the clams out of the shells and mix the dish of clams and coley into the sauce and wow this added so much flavour so many flavours, it was absolutely beautiful.

This venison dish was accompanied with smoked carrots and sweet carrot puree. The venison was presented beautifully and cooked perfection. Each aspect of the dish complimented one another perfectly.

To accompany both dishes we had the roasted cauliflower, £4.50. Again, this dish was extremely flavoursome and the sweet and crunchy texture complemented all aspects of the other two dishes.

After two exquisite courses, did we have enough room for a dessert? Come on… always! However, the portions did fill you up so we decided to share one. And this was the chocolate delice, £9. This dish was accompanied by blueberries, strawberries and a raspberry coulis topped with shards of raspberry meringue. The chocolate was rich, hearty, indulgent and everything a dessert should be. But it’s safe to say, after this we were well and truly stuffed.

Overall, the Fish & Forest is a perfect, little restaurant with dishes that boast heaps of flavour, really taking you out of your comfort zone and what you are used to. Instead, you are introduced to wild, fresh flavours that leave you wanting to come back to try more.

So the next time you’re in York and want to feel special with top notch service and fabulous food to go with it, visit the Fish & Forest.

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