Interview: Bistro Guy, York

Bistro Guy

@BISTROGUYYORK

40 Gillygate, York YO31 7EQ

I've always been passionate at promoting local businesses for a variety of reasons, they are an important part of community creation in our technologically driven societies. Also the money we spend in  such establishments is more likely to stay in the local economy and benefit other local businesses and residents.

Along with Bishopthorpe road and Fossgate, Gillygate is a strong contender for York’s best independent street. There are a wide variety of shops to browse, from the eccentric

Snow Home

, to the excellent vintage store,

Dog and Bone

.

The food scene along Gillygate is particularly vibrant, with some of my personal favourite haunts –

Café 68

,

Love Cheese

 and the excellent delicatessen,

Tarts and Titbits

. This is definitely an area which attracts those interested in high quality local food from independent businesses.

Bistro Guy, formerly known as Ambience, is another great addition to this thriving street. Now re branded, the establishment offers a the dual experience of operating as a café by day and bistro by night, all along with a beautiful outdoor seating area and garden space which backs onto the medieval city walls.

I first heard of Bistro Guy through word of mouth, which is always a very encouraging sign when looking for somewhere new to try. Customer recommendations are the lifeblood of any small business, which means that they must work hard to impress and ensure repeat custom. My friend certainly sung the praises of the coffee and cake she had enjoyed in the hidden garden at the back of the café.

With the lure of garden and great food firmly in mind, I decided go along and check out Bistro Guy for myself. I was met with a warm welcome from the owner, Guy (hence Bistro Guy!) who was kind enough to take some time out from his kitchen prep to speak to me about his approach to running the Bistro/Café

Guy’s drive to diversify the offering into themed nights and live music really stood out to be as being one of the strengths of Bistro Guy. He is also obviously passionate about using making the most of his previous experience and links with local suppliers. The focus on local and seasonal produce is one of the real lures for diners, especially as the menu is constantly changing to reflect the best of what is currently available.

You can see the current November menus 

here

 (Top points from me for having a good website, this is something that many venues often overlook!)

Can you spot the medieval wall?

Many thanks to Guy for speaking with me.

Interview: The Biltmore, York

Biltmore Bar & Grill - Swinegate, York, Yorkshire

For full audio interview with head chef Mark, please see below!

Thai Seafood Trio - Marinated  monkfish tail + king scallops + tiger prawns + sweet coconut rice + charred flatbread cone + thai inspired coconut & chilli curry sauce

It's now been over a year since I graduated from University and ceased my student nights out into the city. Whilst York is hardly renowned for it's clubbing scene, it does have a certain reputation when it comes to pubs and bars, with many different establishments to choose from.

I first visited The Biltmore around the end of my degree, as I distinctly remember going in for celebratory cocktails (though my memories of leaving are a bit hazier!) I remember the space inside the bar being cavernous and full of happy drinkers, I had little idea though that they also served food.

The space has very recently undergone a substantial cosmetic change, making the interior much more inviting to those seeking out a meal. However it still retains much of the glamour which has firmly cemented the bar as one of the most popular drinks locations in York.

Having been impressed with the interior, which consists of a bar space/informal dining area downstairs and a more formal dining area upstairs, I was interested to see if the food on offer also lived up to the potential of the bar.

In order to find out more, I met with the head chef Mark to discuss how he is putting The Biltmore firmly on the York food map with a focus on fusion flavours and a progressive menu!

I was really impressed with Mark's focus on making The Biltmore a democratic dining space where people can come for a luxurious/interesting, yet also unpretentious, meal.

I also had the chance to try one of the most popular items on the 

menu

-

"Thai Seafood Trio. This dish consists of Marinated  monkfish tail,  king scallops, tiger prawns, sweet coconut rice, charred flatbread cone and a thai inspired coconut & chilli curry sauce."

The dish was also garnished with micro herbs and edible flowers, both of which gave the dish a wonderful visual appeal.

In fact, the presentation was quite stunning. However my only comment would be that the curry sauce and rice were rather far apart, making the dish a slight logistical challenge, though this distance is probably a sacrifice I am willing to make for aesthetic reasons.

The flavours however were wonderfully balanced, I especially enjoyed the combination of sweet rice when combined with the aromatic curry sauce. The king prawns, monkfish and scallops were succulent and quite substantial - the monkfish was a beautiful counterpoint to the slightly spicy thai sauce.

The Upstairs Dining Area

The bar area upstairs

Downstairs bar area

I think that The Biltmore definitely does offer something different to York's food scene, which is so often characterised by (extremely good) traditional english cuisine. I also do actually have a rather odd recommendation - I do think that it would make a great place for a first date as the dishes are as visually impressive as the venue. 

I would like to finish by thanking Mark for meeting with me!

To find out more, please see The Biltmore's website

here

and twitter

here

To see more places to eat and drink in York -

Click here

Interview: Farnley Bakehouse


I met Steve at the Farnley Bakehouse to discuss his venture into real bread
Real bread has become a big buzzword in the food community, with many bakeries really going back to basics and scrutinising their whole baking process, from flour to loaf. 

Recently I was lucky enough to meet with Steve, a artisan baker who has decided to set up his own baking premises in Farnley - a small village near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Launched by Steve and his wife Simone, the Bakehouse sells many varieties of bread made from natural ingredients with no artificial additives or processing agents.


In addition to fine artisan bread, the bakery also has a range of hand-baked pastries and cake, as well as everyday items such as milk, locally sourced fruit and vegetables, eggs, cheeses and other dairy products and preserves. There is also a small cafe area, allowing customers to enjoy a treat alongside a tea or coffee!

The Bakehouse is the first of multiple ventures planned by the couple, all of which will champion artisan produce and sit under the umbrella brand of Farnley Market. The aim is to eventually include a Smokehouse and for customers to be able to purchase a larger variety of products made on site and create further jobs for local residents while supporting local food producers by selling their produce in his stores.

It was clearly obvious how passionate Steve is about his business and baking process. I also was extremely impressed with his focus on becoming a hub for the local community in this small village which recently lost its Post Office. At the time of my visit there was a wide range of customers, from teenagers enjoying a hot chocolate, to elderly residents picking up a loaf to take home. I really do think that the focus on community and quality/local produce makes this venture stand out from the average bakery.

The interviews are in three parts, the first focuses on the bread itself, the second on the business and the third is a small excerpt about the flour Steve uses at the bakery.

I found the whole interview extremely informative and hope that you do to! 

For more information on Steve's venture and how to get there, please visit the website

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter







I picked up a loaf to enjoy later on with a bowl of thick, hearty soup





Interview and Review: The Pig and Pastry, York

Bishopthorpe Road in York is arguably having one of it's best ever years. The Tour de France, which passed along the road at great speed, attracted thousands of visitors and created the perfect opportunity to host a massive street party.

There is a vibrant and active community, comprised of residents and the independant businesses which line the street.

I am lucky to live just down the river from Bishy Road and love visiting for the unique shops, bars and cafes. 

I have a specially affinity for The Pig and Pastry, especially after a having a particularly wonderful breakfast there once which cured a particularly spectacular hangover. That's why I was thrilled that Steve, the owner, let me interview him and discover a bit more about the cafe and it's approach to providing one of York's hippest streets with much needed coffee, cake and more.

The Pig and Pastry

sits nestled between a well stocked greengrocers and an independent opticians. It has both cosy indoor and outdoor seating and it popular with locals and tourists alike! If you're after a larger plate, I advise getting there before 3pm, as lunchtimes are busy and the food is very popular. The vibe inside is very friendly and chatty and the staff, along with being extremely pleasant, make a very decent cappuccino.

Menu items range from hot and cold drinks along with cakes and other treats. If you're after something a bit more substantial, there is quite a plethora to choose from. The menu is subject to change, however whilst I was there you could choose from a range of sandwiches and salads, pancakes, soups, Eggs Florentine and even cheeks and mash (I'm praying this will be there on my next visit!)

Prices are slightly above average, but I always think you pay for what you get and the food here is flavoursome, well prepared and locally sourced where possible.

Click below to hear my interview with Steve.

The blog Steve mentions, The National Baking Society, can be found here

We enjoyed a Blueberry and Lemon Cake - perfectly moist and wonderfully flavoured!

Other treats were on offer!

Drinks selection, including ice cream milkshakes!!

Good coffee is on offer, which is one of the main things I look out for!

Americano and Cappuccino

Find The Pig and Pastry on

Twitter and Facebook

Interview: The Duke of York

Last year York got a special treat with the opening of a Leeds Brewery pub right in our city centre!

Very soon after opening, the Duke of York became one of my favourite pubs in York. Situated on Kings Square, right in the heart of the city, the pub enjoys wonderful views over the medieval streets and Minster. What I like most is how versatile the pub is; I can go just for quiet daytime coffee by myself, evening drinks with friends or a hearty meal consisting of freshly prepared and filling pub grub!

There are two levels to the pub, the bar is downstairs along with a more relaxed seating area which often hosts live music events. Upstairs is more of a dining area, my top tip is to get the table overlooking Kings Square, you might have to kick me off it though as it's my favourite!

I also have a lot of respect for somewhere that continues to innovate and put on new offers and events, despite continuing to be ridiculously popular among locals and tourists alike. This is a pub which doesn't rest on it's laurels. 

The most recent addition to the Duke of York's offering are Cheese and Beer Boards. This idea was borne out of the pub's cheese and beer nights, which gave people the chance to try cheeses which had been paired with different beers.

Beer and Cheese Board, £5

I was pretty intrigued by the idea of beer complimenting food, so I met up with the manager Martin to discuss all things beer and food! We even discuss putting beer in cakes....

You can listen to my interview below:

Another quirky idea the pub is trialing is "The Dukes Gin Shop" - for £4 you can try out some amazing gins which have suggested flavour combinations.

I'm a Hendricks kind of girl and a G&T is pretty much always my drink of choice, so this caught my eye pretty quickly. I was actually very impressed by the value (York prices for a single G&T can be up to £7.... ouch!)

Whilst the pub obviously stocks the extremely moreish Leeds Brewery Beers, (my favourite is the dark Midnight Bell,) it is by no means limited to them. They often do swaps with other brewery's, barrel for barrel, meaning that there are always unusual and interesting beers on tap. The bottled selection is also impressive too, with some great Belgians, stouts and porters.

I'm also a fruit beer fan and found my fix with this raspberry Founder's Rübæus

The comfy downstairs seating area at the Duke

The lovely Martin showing me the proper way of pouring beer!

I really recommend the food here, you can also reserve tables which is a great touch!

To find out more, here is the address and contact info!

The Duke of York

King's Square

York

YO1 8BH

info@lbdukeofyork.co.uk

Twitter: @LBDukeofYork

I hope you have enjoyed this review/ interview with The Duke of York. I'm always looking out for interesting interview subjects, so if you are an avid baker or a business owner with a unique perspective on food, get in touch - audacityoffood@gmail.com