Food & Drink

The Black Swan at Oldstead is Yorkshire’s worst-kept secret

A restaurant worth defying SatNavs and single-track lanes to find...

The vibe

Whilst Oldstead – a delightfully humdrum village in rural North Yorkshire – may not be on everyone’s radar, but chef-patron Tommy Banks certainly is. And rightly so, after he became the youngest chef to gain a Michelin star at just 24 years old. But Tommy would be the last to take credit for all that The Black Swan has achieved. No, this is a family affair; Tom and Anne Banks – alongside their two sons, James and Tommy – have built this globally acclaimed restaurant (quite literally) from the ground up.

The menu

Many of the menu’s ingredients are grown in the three-acre kitchen garden; from verdant summers to fallow winters, not a scrap is wasted. Yes, any discerning diner may be wary of 2019’s culinary buzz-words – foraged, fermented, farm-to-fork – but they’re given gravitas by Banks. Standout dishes from the line-up include crapaudine beetroot cooked in beef fat for hours, lending it the rich, faux-meatiness of sirloin, topped with creamy local goats’ curd. Scallops, sweet and plump in equal measure – just like your favourite auntie. And for dessert? A take on a rhubarb and custard Neapolitan (rife with nostalgia, yet far from a school pudding throwback), flecked with sweet cicely.

What’s your poison?

We get it, you know what you like, but if you usually swerve the drinks pairing in favour of that foolproof bottle of Picpoul, let this be the exception. Each course is expertly paired with lesser-known world wines (including an interesting Har’el Syrah from Israel’s Judean Hills), as well as a hop-heavy Slocken Hefeweizen wheat beer developed with Bad Seed Brewery, just 20 miles down the road – the perfect sparring partner for the Oldstead venison tartare.

Final verdict

The Banks family have created a restaurant worth defying SatNavs and single-track lanes to find. In short: there’s so much to shout about at The Black Swan, but please refrain from doing so until you’re roaring back down the A1, or the villagers won’t be best pleased.

The Black Swan at Oldstead, York YO61 4BL. 01347 868387. blackswanoldstead.co.uk

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