Mýse, Hovingham: The Yorkshire restaurant awarded a Michelin star after just seven months of opening

Not many new restaurants pick up a Michelin star in seven months, but Elaine Lemm finds that Mýse’s is richly deserved after 15 courses of heaven in Hovingham. Pictures by ​Mima Hughes.

The Howardian Hills are a small but stunning part of Yorkshire between the Wolds, North York Moors and the Vale of York. According to The Good Food Guide, the area with Helmsley is also the most exciting food destination of 2024, which is fabulous news for the region, all the restaurant businesses, and me because I live here. I am not surprised at this award. The Star at Harome has been doing its exceptional thing here for a quarter of a century. Some incredible independent restaurants have also appeared in recent years, including newcomer Mýse in Hovingham.

Mýse (the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘eating at the table’) restaurant and rooms opened in the summer of ’23 and within seven months was awarded a Michelin s tar – almost unheard of for a new restaurant. I h ave watched the s tars being handed out for years and often wondered why Josh Overington, chef-owner of Mýse , has not had one before for his exceptional cooking in his nine years at Le Cochon Aveugle, he and his wife Vicky’s previous restaurant in York? However, they are certainly garnering national attention now in this quiet corner of Yorkshire.

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Mýse sits at the centre of Hovingham, and the former village pub is transformed from the last time I was there. The beauty of its interior, for me, lies in its understated softness and spaciousness, the pared-back wooden floor, stone walls and their use of simple, carefully curated decoration - though there was one object that caught my eye, a bright, shiny Michelin man sitting on a shelf by the open kitchen, where he looked very much at home.

Myse in Hovingham was awarded a Michelin star just seven months after openingMyse in Hovingham was awarded a Michelin star just seven months after opening
Myse in Hovingham was awarded a Michelin star just seven months after opening

Josh has a background in classic cooking from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and has worked in some incredible restaurants in France and here. But at Mýse , he is doing British, sourcing from within these shores, be it local foraging, seafood from Scotland, or asparagus from Wye. Seasonality and availability drive his menu, so some of what I talk about here may no longer be available even as I write this.

We pored over Vicky’s mainly European wine list, which makes for serious reading and pockets - but there are some excellent, affordable wines, too. For those of you who want a more structured approach, she has three wine flights, one of which is non-alcoholic.

The journey at Mýse starts in the bar with slivers of house-cured duck served on a stone. A small carved wooden bowl is filled with pine cones, and on top a Summerfield cheese leaf-shaped biscuit with powerfully flavoured dots of black walnut. We eat silently, making eye contact and the glimmer of a smile signifying approval, a stance we unknowingly adopt through most courses. Talking gets in the way when eating food this interesting.

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Then, it is through to the dining room and the open kitchen where the three chefs wait, tweezers at the ready. The team here is small, so the chefs, the restaurant manager, Victoria, and the sommelier, Mima, bring plates to the table and explain what deliciousness is in front of us. Where it came from, how it is cooked, fermented, cured – whatever.

Braised Ox Cheek in Yorkshire Pudding with Fermented Cucumber at MyseBraised Ox Cheek in Yorkshire Pudding with Fermented Cucumber at Myse
Braised Ox Cheek in Yorkshire Pudding with Fermented Cucumber at Myse

A charcoal pie comes filled with raw sika deer and topped with smoked Exmoor caviar. It is served in the most exquisite black bowl I want to take home so badly. A bowl of hay is topped by a plate bearing hay-pickled cacklebean quail eggs and preserved wild mushrooms. We love the braised ox cheek dipped in Yorkshire Pudding batter and finished with fermented malt vinegar cucumber. Josh tells me this is his take on his mum’s Sunday Dinner and the cucumber, the Yorkshire Salad - if you are old enough, you will know what we are talking about.

Two doorstep thick slices of sourdough made with Josh’s nine-year-old starter are so good, especially when dipped into the accompanying chicken drippings; I am salivating just thinking about this.

Next hand, dived scallop and sea urchin butter; Wye Valley asparagus with nasturtium vinaigrette, cultured cream, lovely brioche breadcrumbs, and white Balsamic vinegar. Pollock is poached in wild boar fat with yellow wine and ransoms.

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Roasted cull yow, an absolute favourite of mine, comes with sea lettuce, the meat so tender and soft but teeming with flavour and served with a three -day lamb bone broth.

We want more of the Jerusalem artichoke ice cream; it is sublime, and I am staggered to learn that the Birch sap in the centre is foraged and then reduced in the kitchen here; it takes 100 litres to make just 500 ml.

We eat aged beef fat fudge with white truffle and smoked heart (tastes so much better than it sounds) and colostrum custard tart which we understand that Josh is the only chef in the UK who uses this. Lastly, it was lovely to meet Medlars again as they are not often served anymore, but here are in a warm cake with malted ice cream.

We had 15 courses; there may be more or less next time, but trust me, you will not even think of counting; you will be too intrigued by what is in front of you. Josh has this covered.

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Did we leave stuffed and overfull with so many plates? No. We had loved every mouthful. There were no gimmicks, tricks or fussiness. Each had its leading player, but every tiny dot, crumb, and leaf was also considered and played its part in making the whole, including the exquisite plates and bowls from Kara Leigh Ford; for me, this was Ikebana but with food.

Josh is way ahead of the game. He seemingly has found his place here in Hovingham, and as I watched him in the kitchen, I realised I had never seen him look so content. I wish him, Vicky, and the team all the best for Mýse. They have made an astonishing start, and I look forward to following them going forward.

Mýse, Main Street, Hovingham, York, YO62 4LF www.restaurantmyse.co.uk

Welcome 5/5

Food 5/5

Atmosphere 5/5

Prices 5/5

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