White’s Restaurant, 12a North Bar Without, Beverley, East Yorkshire

 

Despite its deprived-sounding name, North Bar Without is the most sought-after address in the ancient East Yorkshire town of Beverley. An assemblage of deeply covetable Georgian and Victorian houses, it is just outside the North Bar, a dinky town gate that would fit happily into Disneyland. At No 12a, a small restaurant is doing something unusual, at least for this part of the world. In a region where steak is king and servings can attain Texan dimensions, a homegrown chef/restaurateur is serving inventive, carefully considered dishes at reasonable prices. As a result, 20 of the 24 Charles Rennie Mackintosh-style chairs in White's Restaurant were occupied on a Friday night.

In a stylish L-shaped room with appropriately blanc decor, the diners were on best behaviour, rather like extras in a romantic comedy. All but one table were couples. It came as no surprise when I later heard that White's is a favourite spot in Beverley for popping the question. John Robinson, the bespectacled 28-year-old chef/owner who trained at the gastronomic nexus of Winteringham Fields on the other side of the Humber and honed his skills in New Zealand, peered genially from his kitchen hatch. "I didn't think I was that ugly," he announced when I asked to be moved from an adjacent table because the warmer above the hatch was grilling me as well as the food.

On a previous visit, when the set lunch at £15.50 went down very well, Robinson had won my heart from the outset with a heavenly velouté of Jerusalem artichokes. This time, I did not swoon at my first mouthful. The introductory nibbles of chilled sardine sushi and chickpea purée on oatcake seemed a bit nondescript, though my wife, perhaps the greatest devotee of sardines outside the Iberian peninsula, felt different: "I loved it".

White's (steak-free) menu describes food in staccato manner reminiscent of an old ticker-tape machine. I went for a starter of 'oxtail carpaccio – piccalilli purée – frozen foie gras – capers' largely because I couldn't imagine how oxtail could be transformed into carpaccio. The answer is: it can't. What arrived was a disc of slow-cooked, boned and rolled oxtail that had no link to carpaccio as it's generally known, apart from being served cold. The flavour was surprisingly delicate, bland even, for oxtail. More savour would have helped. As far as I could see, the frozen foie gras amounted to one chilly molecule (possibly due to the aforementioned warmer), while the piccalilli was a minuscule dribble.

Alison scored with a starter of 'pigeon – oats – beetroot – coriander – aubergine paste'. The twin arcs of pink, pleasingly-solid pigeon breast, fried in butter with thyme and garlic, were perfectly set off by the crunch of toasted oats and a burst of sweetness from tiny beetroot. Her main course of pan-fried lamb rump arrived in the form of two thickish slices with a surprisingly assertive flavour, edging towards the muttonish but none the worse for that. Imaginative accompaniments included crisp-cooked nuggets of sweetbreads and an onion bhaji so elegant that it might have graced a maharajah's table.

My generous allowance of venison loin (five pieces) was partnered by a wonderfully sweet onion tart and a scattering of peas in a dab of eau de nil-coloured pea purée. The flavour of the venison was sensational – I can't remember ever having better – but the perfection of cooking (pink without a hint of blood) suggested the use of sous-vide. "Yes," reported our helpful waitress when she returned from an information-gathering mission to the kitchen. "John cooks the venison sous-vide at 62C for 22 minutes, then browns it over gas." I later learnt from the chef that this was the sole use of the water bath in our meal: "I wouldn't sous-vide lamb. I love the smell too much". This is precisely how sous-vide should be used, judiciously on meat suited to it, rather than the scatter-gun approach of certain well-established chefs.

The cheeseboard was well chosen and in good nick, but it was the one area of our meal where I felt short-changed. "You can pick four," said the waitress. That's OK – just about – but for £8, the resulting slivers of Epoises, Manchego, Alex James's Blue Monday and Mrs Bell's Blue Yorkshire were a bit too sliverish for my taste.

Once again, my wife hit the bull's eye with her pud. 'Basil cream – tomato syrup – dehydrated tomato' was a revelation. Who would have thought that a sweetened panna cotta infused with basil (grown on a terrace herb garden above the restaurant) would work so supremely well? This sensational dessert alone merits a detour to Beverley. Though the odd dish might need a little fine-tuning, White's quiet, smooth-running kitchen produces gastronomic marriages of great accomplishment – and a few literal ones as well.

White's Restaurant, 12a North Bar Without, Beverley, East Yorkshire (01482 866121). Dinner including wine, around £130 for two

Food ****
Ambiance ****
Service ****

Tipping policy: "At the discretion of customers. All tips go to the staff"

Side orders: East Yorkshire eats

The Star @ Sancton

Coverdale red-legged partridge, redcurrant and ginger with bread sauce, gaufrettes potatoes and Pickering watercress is a typical main course here.

King Street, Sancton, Market Weighton (01430 827269)

The Pipe and Glass Inn

This award-winning pub deserves its accolades – try a starter of Gloucester Old Spot potted pork, with sticky apple and crackling salad and warm spelt toast.

West End, South Dalton, Beverley (01430 810246)

Artisan

Georgian townhouse restaurant serving inventive cuisine; mains include Whitby smoked haddock and saffron risotto with Whitby crab and lemon oil.

22 The Weir, Hessle (01482 644906)

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: International Project Coordinator / Account Coordinator

    Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...

    Guru Careers: Plumber / Maintenance Operator

    £25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks