This blog can trace its origins to the food blog I started in my last year of university. Mostly focused on my experiments in the student kitchen, I also occasionally reviewed meals out in chain restaurants and some of York’s finest cheap eateries.
My love for cooking and eating has not diminished in the following years, though my passion for writing about food has gone through various degrees of engagement and apathy.
If we are honest, most of the meals we have are passable - designed to sate hunger or a craving for salt, fat, sugar - you name it. We consume them without much thought, even if they are extremely satisfying in a visceral sense.
Occasionally you have a meal that transcends this mundane mode, at home or out somewhere, it doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s the company, your surroundings or simply the calibre of cooking/wine pairings - the meal becomes an experience in itself.
We first visited Skosh back in 2016 for my Birthday, ready to indulge and armed with the excuse of occasion. Like many others, including critic Jay Rayner, we were blown away with the unfussy inventiveness of the menu, relaxed modern ambience and globally influenced dishes.
Last month, after a particularly awful day, I decided to book another table on a whim (you do need to book in advance to avoid disappointment). There was no occasion other than the need to do something that would take my mind off of life for a few hours. It was to be a purely selfish Sunday afternoon exercise.
Before our first trip to Skosh, we got the sound advice to nab a seat at the back. Raised above the rest of the dining floor and facing away from it, this back section gives you an unobstructed view right into kitchen and the steady stream of dishes flowing forth from it. For our second time round, we took a measure of the same advice and booked the same spot again.
Meals at Skosh are formed of a series of small plates, each one the perfect size for sharing with a friend. The menu is small, but well curated and full of variety. We were advised to choose around 6-8 dishes between us. Choosing what to have is pretty much the only downside of eating here, as you have to inevitably leave something out which sounds incredible.
The dishes come out individually or in small groups, well spaced enough for you to be able to take time over each one. Part of the fun here is really dissecting the flavours and unfolding the construction of each plate in conversation.
One of my favourite dishes of the meal was the sculptural cured sea trout crackers, which were crowned with seaweed. The trout yieldingly melted in your mouth like butter, juxtaposed with the crisp crackers.
On the seafood theme, we also found a lot to love about the scallop sashimi pizza - having never had raw scallops before, I am now a convert.
Another favourite dish came in the form of the venison dumplings, served pink inside and perfectly opposed by the sharpness of the elderberry vinegar and richness of the cep puree.
Overall we spent a good couple of hours slowly working our way through a decent portion of the menu. It was extremely relaxing to have enough time to really take in each dish. All the good food was also supported by impeccable service and due to our position near the kitchen we were also lucky enough to chat with the chef briefly about some of the more unusual items on the menu.
The kitchen itself was a hive of activity, though from the outside you got the sense that nobody was particularly stressed - quick yes, but there was definitely the vibe that everything was being made with the mantra of less haste, more speed. It was extremely fascinating to watch the chefs at work, constructing each dish with a methodical calmness and exquisite attention to detail.
Due to a slightly heavy evening the night before, I deliberately chose not to sample any of the wine list on this particular visit. Though I do remember from my birthday celebrations that it was excellent and well recommended.
Instead I indulged in the best way - with cheese and chocolate. The perfect end to an indulgent, relaxed and special for its own sake meal.
This is my second post in my attempt to write something on this blog everyday in October. Find my previous post from the 1st here.