The Yorkshire restaurants named in the top 100 in the country by National Restaurant Awards

Eight restaurants in Yorkshire have been named among the top 100 in the country by the National Restaurant Awards.

And while that sounds good, what makes it even more impressive is that no fewer than five are in the top 20. Only London has more.

And there's more good news as two Yorkshire institutions have been named as winners in other categories; The Angel at Hetton as Gastropub of the Year and Tommy Banks as Restauranteur of the Year.

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Tommy's Black Swan at Oldstead is 10th in the full list, while his Roots restaurant in York comes in at 51.

Skosh in York

The top Yorkshire restaurant is the Angel at Hetton, which came second in the list behind Lancashire's Moor Hall.

The Moorcock Inn in Norland, West Yorkshire, is 14th, while Skosh in York and The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds are 18th and 19th respectively.

Sheffield's Jöro is 32nd, with York's Le Cochon Aveugle at 41st before Roots rounds off the Yorkshire involvement in the list.

Here's what the National Restaurant Awards had to say about each of Yorkshire's entries.

Tommy Banks at The Black Swan at Oldstead

The Angel at Hetton - 2nd and Gastrropub of the Year

This Yorkshire institution was one of the county’s first gastropubs when it was made famous by the late chef Denis Watkins in the 1980s. Now its reputation is on the rise again under new owner Michael Wignall, who took over the pub with his wife Johanna in partnership with James and Jo Wellock in 2018.

Wignall is one of the UK’s most respected and accomplished chefs and has so far won a Michelin star in every kitchen he has helmed since 1993. The last two venues he has headed – The Latymer at Pennyhill Park in Surrey and Gidleigh Park in Devon – won and retained two stars under his stewardship.

At The Angel Wignall is serving up more than mere pub grub, either through his à la carte menu (£55 for two courses, £70 for three) or multi-course tasting menus that are available at both lunch and dinner. Expect a trio of snacks as well as freshly made sourdough and a selection of cultured butters before tucking into some of the most inventive cooking in the country at the moment.

The Angel at Hetton has been named as the second best restaurant in the country by the National Restaurant Awards

Children are not an afterthought here. The restaurant offers a two-course menu as well as a four-course ‘mini gourmet’ menu that features the likes of smoked potato, creme fraiche, chive and aerated potato; turbot with braised salsify and crumb, parsley root and preserved elderflower; and strawberries with fermented juice, burnt hay-set organic milk, milk skin and sorbet for budding gourmands.

The 15th century pub building is situated on a quiet road in the picturesque village of Hetton and features nine bedrooms, making it an ideal base for visitors to explore the wider Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The Black Swan at Oldstead - 10th

The Black Swan at Oldstead went from being a North Yorkshire restaurant with a solid reputation for food to a place gastronomes across the world were getting excited about, thanks to it being named The Best Pub in the World by TripAdvisor back in 2017.

Alisdair Brooke-Taylor cooking outside at The Moorcock Inn

While it’s an accolade that detractors of the controversial reviews website might take with a pinch of salt, it does give some indication of the high quality on offer at this pub-turned-restaurant.

The food at The Black Swan is very much of its location. Chef-patron Tommy Banks’ menu is inspired by the ingredients that are grown in its fields, in the two acres of growing beds in the adjoining garden, or foraged in and around Oldstead. The restaurant opts for a tasting menu-only approach, which it says allows it to bring together everything grown and developed into a purposefully designed experience.

Dishes are seasonal and based on what has been grown as well as what’s available from the seas. But the menu is not completely dictated by the seasons, with the restaurant regularly using pickled and preserved ingredients in the more fallow months, particularly the first half of the year. Banks’ menu of small plates changes regularly but expect premium ingredients such as scallops, aged beef and langoustine paired with stellar homegrown produce.

Located in the tiny village of Oldstead about an hour’s drive from York city centre, The Black Swan is not a place you pass on the way to somewhere else, you need to want to get there. But it’s well worth the pilgrimage.

The Moorcock Inn - 14th

It’s hard to pigeonhole this West Yorkshire venue, which is both a cosy yet worn oak beamed pub for the locals and an ambitious – but relatively inexpensive – destination restaurant that has got gourmands all a quiver thanks to owners Aimee Turford and Alisdair Brooke-Taylor’s use of traditional homesteading techniques and live-fire cooking.

Michael O'Hare

The pair, who met while working at Belgian restaurant In De Wulf – Turford as sommelier, Brooke-Taylor as sous chef – have taken their experience working in high-end restaurants and combined it with a passion for a more natural approach to running a business. Much of The Moorcock’s cooking is done on a collection of wood and charcoal ovens and adjustable grills at the back of the pub, with Brooke-Taylor cooking whole animals, some of which have been reared specifically for the restaurant, over wood and house-made charcoal.

Sustainability is key, with fish and seafood caught only from native waters by day boats and all vegetables organic and home-grown or foraged where possible. The formality of a la carte has also been eschewed with diners encouraged to share dishes, the likes of which include spiced lamb bun, new season onion fondue, nettles, pickled elderflower and mint; barbecued turbot with seaweed sauce, preserved lemon, pickled beach herbs and ramson oil; and cheesecake custard doughnut with yuzu cha.

Menus change with the seasons but one dish, crispy smoked potatoes with yeast mayonnaise, remains a regular. It’s a dish so popular – and moreish – that it has even inspired one regular customer to write a poem about it.

Skosh - 18th

Skosh takes its name from the Japanese word ‘sukoshi’, which means ‘a small amount’. It’s a big clue to the style of food you can expect from the open kitchen, where chef-patron Neil Bentinck sends out a procession of small plates that deftly mix influences from Britain, Europe and Asia, especially Japan.

It’s an ambitious approach that has been gleefully embraced by locals and visitors, after rave reviews from national critics, helping to turn Micklegate into a food and drink hotspot in the walled city.

The menu’s wandering spirit takes many unexpected twists and turns through its snacks, raw, veg, fish, and meat options, of which three or four dishes are available. Think chicken liver parfait with summer truffle ponzu and milk bread; north sea squid spiked with punchy with nahm jim; and beetroots, goats curd and furikake. Such globetrotting flavours reflect Bentinck’s own experiences. Born to an English mum and Indian dad, he spent time living and travelling in Asia and Australia, before returning to work in restaurants including The Pipe and Glass, Van Zellar, Northcote and The Star Inn at Harome.

Homemade sourdough with organic butter and gunpowder spices, a cutting-edge cheeseboard and well thought-out wine list with every option by the glass add to the dining experience.

Skosh opened in 2016 in a Grade II-listed building, which was refurbished with a muted colour scheme and simple wooden furniture to create a pared-back space where the exuberance of the food takes centre stage. The people of York couldn’t be happier.

The Man Behind The Curtain - 19th

The self-styled enfant terrible of the Northern restaurant scene continues to impress with his striking plates of high impact food. Served in a succession of tiny bites, Michael O’Hare’s 14-course, £132 tasting menu is arty and provocative (one dish is called Sex Wax, another Dali to Delhi), taking some of its cues from Spanish techno-emotional cuisine and including a notable amount of Asian influence.

A dash of artistic pretension comes as something of a hallmark for the North Yorkshire-born chef, who made his name on Great British Menu cooking dishes including ‘Emancipation’, a monotone dish of squid ink-dyed fish and potatoes served on a canvas inspired by fish and chips and the industrial landscape of his home town of Redcar.

Dishes on the current menu – which is served in ’sequences’ rather than courses – include ajo blanco with an iced tomato consomme and vanilla; Iberico pork with garlic, egg and anchovy; and the delightfully colourful macarons ‘Damien Hirst’.

O’Hare burst onto the Leeds restaurant scene in 2014 with a huge graffiti’d space on the top floor of luxury department store Flannel’s. The restaurant has since moved to more upmarket digs down the road but remains one of the country’s most singular and exciting dining experiences.

Jöro - 32nd

Chef-patron Luke French describes Jöro as an urban restaurant influenced by nature, one that mixes true innovation with the finest available ingredients. Others simply describe it as a breath of fresh air for Sheffield’s dining scene.

With Jöro there’s the feeling that French doesn’t want people to miss out on what he’s got to offer. While many restaurants tend to either serve an à la carte menu of larger dishes or a longer tasting menu of smaller ones, at Jöro there’s the option of both but also to eat the smaller tasting menu dishes at your whim. The food comes in the form of lots of snacks and small plates, allowing diners to create bespoke menus based on their appetite and budget. While some tasting menus can grow tiresome, at Jöro the momentum is retained throughout.

There is a set menu (two courses for £23, three for £29) and a longer tasting menu (nine courses for £50, 12 for £65) but for the most fun you need to let yourself loose on the small plates selection that allows you to not only pick and choose dishes from the other menus but also add new dishes.

French’s food is fresh and exciting, with every small mouthful a joy. Standout snacks include his bbq katsu pork belly; fermented Mayan Gold potato with smoked herring roe; and fatty tuna belly with tare and an aromatic green paste.

Le Cochon Aveugle - 41st

There’s no menu online at Le Cochon Aveugle. In fact there’s no peeking at the menu when you get there either because there isn’t one. Instead, chef-patron Josh Overington serves a four- or eight-course ‘blind’ tasting menu (Cochon Aveugle is French for ‘blind pig’) with guests discovering what they are eating when the dishes arrive.

It’s a brave and slightly mischievous idea, which adds drama to the dining experience and allows the restaurant to adapt dishes to the seasons and which ingredients look good on a particular day.

Overington’s cooking is grounded in classical French technique informed by his training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. There are a few signatures: its striking black pudding macarons are likely to feature, but otherwise it’s a movable feast. Line-caught mackerel smoked over Provencal herbs could be sent out from the open kitchen one day, but the next it could be Orkney scallop cooked ‘a la ficelle’ (strung up next to a fire) with sea urchin butter.

The food is backed by an impressive wine list curated by the chef’s wife Victoria, which focuses on organic and natural wines. There’s a good range by the glass and carafe, plus quirky choices from lesser known vineyards in the Jura, Corsica and even Luxembourg. These are expertly matched with each dish as part of a wine tasting flight chosen for the guest. If you’re going to eat blind, you may as well drink blind too.

Roots - 51st

Roots is the city slicker equivalent to the country gent that is The Black Swan at Oldstead, chef Tommy Banks and family’s hugely popular North Yorkshire restaurant, and retains all the charm of its older sibling but in a more modern setting.

Coming from a farming background, Banks has created a menu at Roots that uses an abundance of interesting produce. He and his team have identified three key British growing seasons, which they call the Preservation Season, the Hunger Gap and the Time of Abundance, which the kitchen works around. The team knows its stuff, too, with many ingredients unearthed or picked directly from the Banks family’s 20-acre farm and three-acre garden.

Roots has switched from a la carte when it first opened to a tasting menu format that brings to the fore ingredients from each of the growing seasons. The 11-course £95 menu might feature the likes of raw beef, horseradish and charcoal; and monkfish with smoked butter and pickled mussel – but whatever the season you can guarantee plate after plate of clever, refined cooking that feels fresh and inventive and with flavours turned up to 11.

Tommy Banks - Restauranteur of the Year

Tommy Banks has had a very busy lockdown, pivoting from running two successful restaurants as well as farm to creating one of the biggest success stories in the restaurant meal kit sector. With Made in Oldstead Banks chose to take on much of the heavy lifting on his own, setting up a website and creating a nationwide home meal delivery kit with a regularly changing menu. The move helped secure the future of his business during the pandemic and also enabled his staff to retain their jobs.

Banks also used the bounty of his farm to help others with him and his team making regular food deliveries to frontline NHS staff at the height of the pandemic.

In addition to all this, Banks’ restaurant group was recognised by Michelin earlier this year, with his York-based Roots picking up a Michelin star, the first in the city to do so, and his flagship fine dining restaurant The Black Swan at Oldstead winning a new green star, recognising its sustainability credentials.

Luke French at Joro
Josh Overington and Victoria Roberts at Le Cochon Aveugle
Tommy Banks outside Roots