I never really used to like the idea of fine dining. My conception of the whole thing rotated around the idea that the food was fussy, the portions small and the prices extortionate.
Whilst I still (mostly) consume hearty portions of simple food, blogging has enabled me to expand my knowledge of different styles of dining, including culinary experiences of the finer kind.
Certainly my interest was piqued when the invitation sample the tasting menu at the restaurant of York's only 5* hotel, The Grand, landed in the York on a Fork inbox.*
With seven courses and additional wine pairings, it was clear the tasting menu at Hudson's was going to be something special.
However the real question was whether the it could live up to its five star surroundings... We promptly booked a table to find out for ourselves!
Upon arriving we were quickly seated by attentive staff at a window overlooking the city walls. This was certainly a lovely view to enjoy whilst meandering between courses.
The meal started off with a tantalising amuse bouche - squid ink crackers with fish roe and cubed apple served on a pebble - bursts of flavour with a dramatic colour palette, wetting our appetite for what was to come.
Next came one of the most interactive dining experiences I have ever had - a Cryogenic Mojito which is assembled at the table by the diners (under careful supervision!).
Provided with our own tools and implements - our goal was to combine the brown sugar and mint biscuits in one bowl with the mojito sorbet provided in another small dish.
First liquid nitrogen was carefully poured over the biscuits by the waiter, after which we were instructed to crush them with the mortar and pestle until a fine crumb emerged. We were then instructed to sprinkle this on top of the sorbet.
The result was intense, refreshing and quite unlike any cocktail I have ever experienced before. What easily could have been a gimmick actually resulted in a well balanced "dish".
Next came the breads with lashings of infused butter - beef topped with dehydrated short rib and another pot containing butter infused with sun dried tomato.
It's hard not to fill up on the bread course when things taste this good...
The next course was a visual delight - summer veg with goats cheese, root vegetables and mushroom soil, all topped with sweet pea shoots and served upon a woodland themed bark base.
Again this dish could have easily slipped into style over substance, however I really did feel flavours were as elegant as the presentation.
This was all followed by the dish shown at the top of this post; Ox tongue with skinned cherry tomatoes and goats curd with a vegetable broth and rose petals. This was both a textural and visual delight, with the ox tongue tormentingly soft and melting to the touch of your tongue.
The seafood course came in the form of buckwheat-accented langoustine, stone bass, fennel and fennel puree with lobster bisque.
I have to say the buckwheat fell slightly short of my expectations here, as it was somewhat stodgy and cloying. However the rest of the dish was superbly fresh and cooked to perfection, especially the beautifully crisp sea bass.
Next we returned to meat with medallions of sirloin beef, served with carrots cooked in Wagyu beef fat. Whilst this wasn't a stand out dish for me, it certainly did the job and was full of rich meaty flavour, along with lashings of gravy.
The first dessert (always a good sign when there is more than one!) had to be my favorite dish of the whole night.
The combination of meadow sweet ice cream, raspberries, honeycomb, bee pollen and sorrel leaves was perfectly balanced between intense bursts of sweetness and savoury depth.
The sorrel in particular added a lovely extra dimension to what could have been quite a sickly combination.
Finally the meal was rounded off by a dish of set elderflower coated in strawberry powder, elderflower jelly, basil and mint leaves. A pleasantly soft way to close a rather large meal.
Overall the evening was extremely special (as hopefully you can see from the pictures) and the service I have to say was exemplary. Hudson's certainly deserves a its reputation as more than just another hotel restaurant.
Offer: Hudson's at The Grand Hotel
Enjoy the Tasting Menu for £65.00 for two* until the end of September.
(Enjoy wine pairing for an additional £35.00 each.)
*Available Sunday - Friday until 30th September 2016. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers or gift vouchers. Subject to availability.
*Our meal and drinks were complimentary, however my opinion is my own, as always.