I was rather excited to be invited to York’s new fine dining experience at The Grand Hotel. The Grand is the only 5-star hotel in the city centre, and their new fine dining restaurant, Legacy, has been eagerly awaited.
Legacy is aptly named. As you enter the intimate restaurant you see pictures of the pioneers of York’s past. Familiar faces through history such as architect William Etty and landowner Anne Lister adorn the walls, above original oak panelling. The hotel is an Edwardian grade II listed building, oozing character and ‘Legacy’ wholeheartedly embraces this. There is a wonderful feel of timeless elegance and opulence.
Ahmed Abdalla is the head chef. He has a genuine passion for using great Yorkshire produce and is inspired by the rich heritage of York. Ahmed says, “I am delighted by the opportunity to look at things through a new lens, delivering traditional ingredients in an exciting new style whilst fully utilising the great produce Yorkshire has to offer.”
This sums up the incredible eight-course tasting menu he has designed and curated. Although, it is actually ten courses if you include the divine snacks including Oysters and Fish Roe to begin, presented in a way that could only be described as a work of art, plus the mouth-watering petit four that we enjoyed to end the meal with a glass of port.
We began the evening in ‘The 1906 Bar’ which you must walk past to reach Legacy. The perfect place to unwind for half an hour after getting off the train following a busy day’s work. The Grand is ideally situated just three minutes’ walk from the train station, making it a super-easy commute.
We were greeted by Emma at the entrance to the restaurant. A host who was not only personable but ultra-efficient throughout the evening. I barely noticed I had finished my glass of water on numerous occasions before I realised the glass had already been refilled.
We were welcomed with a glass of English sparkling wine which is becoming increasingly popular of late. This easily matched the quality of a glass produced in Champagne. We enjoyed a classic wine flight with the menu. Both the classic and prestige flights have been carefully chosen by sommelier, Derek Scaife who has ensured that the pairings perfectly complement each dish on the menu. We enjoyed Derek’s easy, charismatic personality throughout the experience, explaining dishes and wine pairings with the ease of someone who is clearly both devoted and accomplished in his field. A few courses stood out for me. The Barbecue Langoustine, Carrot, Ravioli which was perfectly accompanied by one of my favorite wines, Villa Wolf, Wachenheimer, Riesling, Pfalz, Germany 2019. This was followed by Celeriac, Black Garlic and what a treat when the talented Ahmed himself came to the table to grate the truffle on this for us.
While the presentation was consistently faultless, it was refreshing to experience such an opulent meal that was very much focused on the basic superior quality ingredients behind it, rather than trying to be flashy for the sake of it. Many dishes, such as the halibut and locally reared lamb were more generously sized than we expected; nothing was too ‘try hard.’ Testament to Ahmed’s love for local produce, Derek even produced a frame of honeycomb at the end of the meal to accompany some cheeses. This had been taken from The Grand’s own beehives that they have on the top of the hotel.
There was never going to be enough space to do this justice. The eight course tasting menu is £120pp with a choice of a classical wine flight at £60pp or a prestige wine flight at £90pp. If you are looking to mark a special occasion or just want to celebrate life, then I would not hesitate in recommending Legacy. For me, the restaurant strikes the perfect balance between proper northern hospitality and sumptuous extravagance. I still have ‘pinch me’ moments when I realise how lucky I am to do this as part of my job, and this is one culinary experience that will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Legacy at The Grand
York YO1 6GD
Tel. 01904 380038