Sunday, 18 April 2010

J Baker's Bistro Moderne, York

We were shopping in York on Saturday, so went for lunch at Jeff Baker's fantastic little restaurant. The food here is more inventive and interesting than anywhere else in Yorkshire that we have ever come across, and compared to some it is relatively inexpensive. On sitting down we were presented with a brown paper bag containing small baked potatoes, with a dipping sauce of natural yoghurt, with a flavour of , I think, vanilla and chilli. Certainly different from the more usual bread, and very nice.

We opted for the grazing menu. At lunch this means three small dishes chosen by the chef from the main menu. The first was a very light but full-flavoured pea and smoked ham soup. This was followed by Salt Cod with peppers and samphire (middle). The batter was wonderfully light and crisp and the fish perfectly cooked inside. The third of our courses was Irish Stew (bottom) - a cabbage leaf wrapped around some minced lamb, in an intense broth containing chunky vegetables, with a really fresh red cabbage salad.

The real highlight, for me if not for Mary, was the pudding. We both had the Seaside Special Lemon Tops (top). It's a high concept mess-style construction, with cream, jelly, fruit, popping candy and other things I couldn't identify, topped with a lemon foam and a seeded brittle. It comes in a ceramic representation of a crumpled discarded vending machine plastic cup. I think the concept is "stuff you might find on a beach when everyone's gone home". If it isn't, it should be. It might be a response to Heston Blumenthal's "Sound of the Sea". It works brilliantly.

The cost of this lunchtime feast was £35 in total. In case it hasn't come across in what is written above, we think that this one of the very best places to eat in Yorkshire or, indeed, anywhere.

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