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)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Recruitment Consultant (Trainee), Finchley Central, London

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    Day In a Page

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor