Yorke Arms

A frisson of fear ran through the hearts of the Yorke Arms faithful when Frances Atkins put it on the market in November last year after a 21 year tenure and 15 years of Michelin stardom. The Yorke in anyone else’s hands seemed like the end of an era. She was flirting with the idea of a new venture, before Leeds-based ‘serial entrepreneur’ Jonathan Turner parted with the thick end of £1.5m, and a deal was struck; as a result, he’s taken over the day to day running of the place, and Atkins has remained at the pass with her loyal crew. A ‘major refurbishment’ followed, and the Yorke re-opened at the end of May. But what if it’s had a shocking makeover? We loved it the way it was – all flagged floors, roaring fires, burnished oak antique sideboards and the inimitable, easy charm of the general manager John Tullet, as much a part of the place as the oil paintings on the walls. It was with a keen sense of anticipation that we keeled up on a perfect early summer’s evening to chart the changes and check out the new menu. Has it been Farrow & Balled? Has Turner been to the Country Inn Interior Warehouse and bought mock-leather chairs and yards of mock hops? Review to follow. (Clue; relax.)

Michelin 2014 out today

The new Michelin Guide to Britain and Ireland 2014 is out today with fifteen new stars across the UK and Ireland though none for Yorkshire. Five chefs have held on to their stars: the Box Tree in Ilkley, the Yorke Arms at Ramsgill; The Black Swan at Oldstead; the Pipe and Glass at South Dalton and the Old Vicarage, Sheffield. It’s no surprise that a change of chef (stars are awarded to the chef not the restaurant) at the Burlington Restaurant, Bolton Abbey means they have lost their star. No pressure then on their new young chef Adam Smith to earn it back for next year.

Kaushy Patel of Prashad

Kaushy Patel of Prashad

Bib Gourmand’s (meaning good food at moderate prices) have been awarded to El Gato Negro in Ripponden and Prashad in Drighlington, two of our favourites. Well done both. The only other Yorkshire Bib is Vennell’s at Masham.  Le Langhe in York which we consider serves some of the best Italian food in the UK, they’ve been stripped of their Bib.


And what of the rest?  Followers of Michelin should log onto www.elizabethonfood.com who is a dedicated reviewer of Michelin starred restaurants across Europe and has the full breakdown.

The headlines though are that Heston’s Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental and the Greenhouse in Mayfair have both won a second star. L’Atelier Joel Robuchon has gone down from two stars to one. Gordon Ramsey, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, The Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn at Bray have retained their three stars.

It’s noteworthy that of the 142 stars across the UK and Ireland, very few reach the north of England. The exceptions being the five in Yorkshire, L’Enclume in Cartmel (two stars) and a new star for the Samling in Ambleside and for the rest of the north:

Fischer’s of Baslow

Fraiche, Birkenhead

Northcote, Blackburn

Chester Grosvenor, Chester

Raby Hunt, Darlington

Holbeck Ghyll, Windermere


Of the 143 Bib Gourmand’s awarded, there are just 11 north of Nottingham. They are:

El Gato Negro, Ripponden

Prashad, Drighlington

Twelve, Blackpool

Waggon, Bury

Bay Horse, Hurworth on Tees

Bistro 21, Durham

Chequers, Gedney Dyke, Lincolnshire

Vennell’s Masham

Broad Chare, Newcastle

David Kennedy’s River Café, North Shields

Hearth of the Ram, Ramsbottom

We’d suggest they get a few more inspectors on the East Coast Mainline and sample a few more. On the other hand we prefer the Good Food Guide.









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