IN THE HISTORIC CITY WALLS OF YORK
You could well be forgiven for walking past one of York’s hidden gems.
I will hold my hands up, having walked through Bootham Bar hundreds of times, to only discovering the culinary delights of The Lamb and Lion Inn very recently.
A Grade II listed building it sits within the historic walls of the City of York next to the Medieval Gatehouse. To dine, stay or enjoy a tipple and immerse yourself in this piece of York’s history is a must have experience.
Originally two separate dwellings and a shop dating back to the 17th century they have been joined together and lovingly restored making a traditional four star inn.
The expert restoration project has left nothing to chance and its amazing to see this inn is built into the city walls on one side.
Enter the Lamb and Lion and one almost expects to see serving wenches rushing down the narrow dimly lit passageways whilst the odd highway man and his friends quaff ale from a pewter tankards.
There is a moody atmosphere created by some perfect lighting in glass shades and if you look closely you will see some of the original carriage lighting in the property – although not used these days just there for decorative purposes.
Authenticity is the word as far as decor, furnishings and fittings go with flagged or bare wood floors, dark panelling, highly polished wooden tables and chairs with prints and wall décor all to the period.
Outside the back door there are stone, well trodden stairs to what is now termed as York’s Secret Gin Garden with the city wall to one side and magnificent views of The Minster to the other.
However as it was monsoonal weather we had to give eating or drinking in the Secret Garden a miss. We chose the restaurant area. The restaurant is small with just two tables and another room leading from it with a refectory table ideal for a group. The other restaurant area is in the bar but again in keeping with the building it is not overly large and seating is quaint with some old church pews deemed very comfortable.
Whilst we deliberated on the menu we decided to order some Marinated Olives – but these were no ordinary Marinated Olives, usually served up in most bars and restaurants, these were flavoursome and served with roasted Bell Peppers.
For starters we were temped by the Goat’s Cheese & Spinach Filo Parcel and the Tempura Prawns. A word of warning here the portions of these starters are large and maybe sharing would be a good idea for the smaller appetite.
The Tempura Prawns were hot and the batter was very tasty and crispy but at the same time light. The dish was served with pickled ginger and noodle salad with a sweet chilli sauce. This was a perfect accompaniment with the rich taste of ginger giving flavour to the prawns.
My colleague opted for the Goat’s Cheese and Spinach Filo Parcel. The Filo pastry was crispy and packed full of feta cheese. Pine nuts made a great addition to the dish as it diffused the richness of the cheese as did the fresh cut tomatoes.
Main course did present us with a problem – just what to choose. I decided on the Confit Fillet of Salmon and was so glad I did. This was salmon cooked at its best. It was flavoursome and flaky – not greasy or slimy and not overcooked. It was served on a bed of crushed new potatoes and spinach. I am not a sauce fan but was tempted try this one and adored it. The caper, dill and lemon butter sauce was smooth and tasty and the addition of a poached egg perched on top was a great idea.
Spending a lot of her time abroad my colleague loves it when there’s battered haddock on the menu, so there was no guessing what her choice would be – only they should have warned her – it was a whale of a size.
The fish was moist, succulent and pure white. The batter was light and crispy served with home cut massive chips and mushy peas with a minted vinegar flavour this was a veritable feast of a dish .
Presentation is everything at The Lamb and Lion. Each dish is a work of art and my colleague’s sweet was no exception . Her choice of Mascarpone Cheesecake was presentation par excellence – and it tasted good too.
The Kirsch soaked black cherries were in contrast to the mascarpone and the Amoretti Crumb went well with the creamy texture of the cheesecake.
My heaven on a plate did come straight from the angels kitchen I am sure. Not my first choice as the Sicilian Lemon Tart had sold out but my orange panna cotta had a jelly topping and raspberries which diffused what can often be an overly creamy sweet.
With incessant rain outside it was a good job we had a walk to the railway station to shake down some of our delicious meal.
Service at the Lamb and Lion is excellent and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and don’t be surprised if your meal is delivered by Michael, the General Manager, who is hands on and likes to keep an eye on everything.
The Lamb and Lion has accommodation too in the guise of 12 en-suite rooms – which I for one am eager to try in the not too distant future.
The Lamb and Lion, 2-4 High Petergate, York, YO1 7EH
Tel: 01904 654112 www.lambandlioninnyork.com