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The perfect introduction to fine-dining at lunch time

Ever wandered round the streets of York and wanted a fancy lunch? Well, Wine & Dine Yorkshire was invited to try out the new lunch menu at Roots, York. The set menu is priced at £35pp and is available Monday-Friday. 

Owned by Tommy Banks, who also runs Michelin-starred The Black Swan at Oldstead which has just ranked 2nd in the UK, 9th in Europe and 14th in the World in this year’s TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice® Awards. Roots in the heart of York is the next chapter adopting a different style to reflect each of the seasons as defined in Tommy’s book, Roots. 

Tommy and his team work around three seasons; The Preservation Season, The Hunger Gap and The Time of Abundance. This ensures fresh and in season ingredients are being used. 

We visited during The Preservation Season and was ready to taste a variety of dishes we hadn’t tried before. The decor was fitting to the theme, with the legs of the chairs replicating the root of a tree. The ambience was perfect for a lunch time, not too formal which made it easier to relax. 

We started with the Roots Sour Bread and Seed Crackers with Lincolnshire Poacher Custand and Chive Cultured Butter.  The custard was smooth and spread beautifully. However, the show-stopper was the seeded crackers and chive butter, which complimented each over very well and was one of my favourite dishes of the whole menu.

Next we sampled Kale dressed in Sheep’s Yoghurt, Pickled Walnuts and Cured egg yolk. The kale was fresh and the egg yolk gave a mustard flavour to the dish. A dish that sounded terrible but was absolutely delicious. 

We had previously seen the cooked beetroot featured on Masterchef as it is one of Tommy’s signature dishes, so when the Pablo Beetroot cooked in beef fat arrived, we couldn’t wait to see what it tasted like. The beetroot is cooked for 6-8 hours in the beef fat and topped with a Smoked Cod Roe emulsion. It’s extraordinary how beetroot can be transformed to taste like meat, packed which so much flavour. This is a definite must if you visit Roots!

A smokey Oldstead Potato followed with a charcoal sauce. This was extremely minute but tasty nevertheless. 

Next was Roots take on a fish pie – Cos, Whey ‘Creamed Leaks’ and Smoked Muscle. This dish was creamy and the crispy kale on top tasted just like seaweed and was the perfect finish. 

After finishing the warming fish dish we knew the lamb neck was next. Having never tried lamb neck before, we was intrigued (also a little scared) to try, but knew this would be something not to miss. The lamb neck is cooked for 10 hours and fell apart beautifully. Along with the fermented turnip purée and hispi cabbage, this won’t be the last time we have lamb neck! This cabbage dish was a particular highlight of all the dishes, the flavour was perfect.

Now it was time for dessert – Sticky Apple Pudding. Again the menu didn’t give much away but when the dessert arrived we knew we was in for a treat. The dish was made up of an Apple cake served with a spicy apple caramel, biscuit crumb and brandy ice cream. The brandy ice cream was just WOW. I could’ve had a whole tub full it was that delicious. Along with the cake and sauce, it was taste sensation in your mouth. The perfect end to the lunch and definitely leaving you with a memorable dish!

Overall, this was the perfect treat, the staff were extremely knowledgeable about each dish and put us at ease before we tried completely new flavours and meat. 

If you haven’t tried fine-dining before, Roots lunch menu is the perfect place to start and introduce you to the flavours and surprising things you can do with food. 

For more information, please visit

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