When I told my friends that I was going to dine at Fish and Forest, York’s small and friendly restaurant serving seasonal sustainable fish, game and forest foods, their response was a perplexed one, “… a few twigs on a plate and seaweed as a side?” they joked.
Of course, Fish and Forest is much more than that. Opened in summer 2020, the cosy restaurant is situated on Micklegate, just a few yards from the Micklegate Bar. From the outside the restaurant has a humble non-assuming façade and unless you were specifically looking for it, you could easily pass it by.
The menu changes daily and is chalked up on a sandwich board which seems a good idea as it gives them the freedom to change the menu depending on what is in season or is fresh in that day. The luxury of this is that you will have a pleasant surprise when you visit.
The surroundings in the restaurant are quite a distinction to the Michelin-level cuisine. If you weren’t aware that the restaurant was featured in the Michelin Guide, you could be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled into an Italian restaurant in some provincial hilltop town whilst on holiday in Tuscany.
The friendly knowledgeable staff guide you through the menu and offer suggestions based on your food preferences. As our waitress held aloft the huge sandwich board the temptations from the Menu du Jour were there to discover.
Fresh fish, local game and seasonal veg
For starters, my partner and I both chose the beetroot salad (£8.50) that came with a dash of goat’s cheese nicely complimenting sweetness of the beetroot. The presentation, like all the dishes at Fish and Forest was thoughtful and creative.
My main of venison, beetroot and jus (£28.50) tasted forest fresh and was cooked to perfection whilst my partner’s skrei cod (£27.50) was exceptional, though she was unsure if the accompanying green peppercorn sauce would sit easily with a fish dish, being mostly associated with steak dishes. Like everything at Fish and Forest, place your trust in the experience of the chefs who certainly know what they’re doing!
Sides are extra with a bowl of roasted potatoes, plentiful though they were, cost £5.00 with a bowl of green veg being £4.50.
Being in Yorkshire you would be right to expect some locally sourced rhubarb. The rhubarb tartelette meringue (£8.50) did not disappoint whilst my baked Alaska was exquisitely prepared.
Naturally there is a good wine list that compliments the excellent food.
Worth the long walk
Our fellow diners were a mix of local residents with a smattering of tourists. The menu might not be to everyone’s tastes and I agree that you do need a certain palate to appreciate the fine dining in this relaxing, unpretentious restaurant.
As we were about to leave Fish and Forest, which was now full, we overheard a party from the next table comment: “… it was worth the long walk here from our hotel, it has been an excellent experience.”
I could not have put it better myself.
Fish and Forest, 110 Micklegate, York YO1 6JX