As a vegetarian I love trying to find new places to eat, especially restaurants for special occasions where I can order something a little bit more extravagant than the standard mushroom risotto or vegetarian lasagna. A la Carte menus in the past haven't been known to spend much effort on their vegetarian courses, but recently I've noticed a lot more chefs being more experimental with the herbivore offering. I believe it takes a culinary master to bring a heightened foodie experience to a fresh bowl of vegetables and very little chefs do them justice as they are usually an after thought. However, this was not the case when I was invited to review the Hudsons restaurant at the Grand Hotel York a few days ago. Every part of their vegetarian menu complemented each other and I was presented with new flavour combinations that tickled my tastebuds. For a vegetarian, this is a rarity - after all, there's only so much you can do a bowl of vegetables. To say that I was impressed is an understatement.
Hudson's is a three AA Rosette restaurant situated in The Grand Hotel, York. The kitchen is led by head chef Craig Atchinson who has 12 years experience working throughout the UK with some of the country's top chefs. The restaurant is quite small with only one room and a handful of tables, the decorations are minimal and the lighting is dimly lit to give the illusion of intimacy. Hudson's focus is all about the food and the service - not show-stopping interiors and it does both exceedingly well.
The menu at Hudsons is primarily British and pays homage to some of fruit, vegetables and herbs that are grown locally. Unfortunately there's only one vegetarian course on the menu and if you didn't like cheese it would be troublesome, but I let that slide and ordered the Winter vegetables to start and the Barbecued Jerusalem Artichoke for main course. My husband who is not vegetarian ordered Duke of York potatoes followed by the North Atlantic Stone Bass. While the chef prepared our starter, the waitress brought out some bread rolls to help whet our appetite. These bread rolls had a baked salt crust and tasted mouth wateringly good (we could have eaten several of these with little hesitation), it was a great sign of things to come. Timed to perfection, as soon as we had finished the last bite of our bread rolls, the starters arrived. My 'Winter Vegetable' dish which was a medley Goat’s crabley, preserved roots and woodland mushrooms looked like a piece of art, I could hardly bring myself to eat it. It took me a good few minutes of looking at the dish in awe to finally delve in. Once I did tuck in, I was really impressed. The dish had an abundance of textures and while the ingredients were simple, it tasted rather complex with lots of different things going on as I worked my through it.
Once I had finished my starter, I couldn't wait to see what the main course. After another top up of wine, my Barbecued Jerusalem artichokes arrived. At first I was a little bit disheartened with how it looked - the first dish I had was out of this world, while this looked like a pile of spinach leaves, however what it lacked in presentation, it definitely made up with taste. This dish ticked all the boxes I look for when I go out for a meal - it was light, full of flavour and it was made up of some of my favourite ingredients which are mushrooms, leeks and spinach. The barbecuing of the artichoke added another dimension of flavour to this dish and the sheep curd added a soft backdrop to all the other textures of vegetables. I would happily eat this dish again - in fact, I'd love to have the recipe.
Last, but definitely not least was the desserts. My mind was split into two over ordering the light Poached Yorkshire Rhubarb or the rich and indulgent option of the Michel Cluizel 72% chocolate. In the end I ordered the first option and my husband ordered the second, giving us both the chance to sample each dish. My rhubarb dessert was a combination of Buttermilk custard, elderflower and toasted oats, while my husbands dish was made up of Mascarpone, coffee caramel and crisp chocolate mousse made with 72% chocolate. Both dishes were presented beautifully and tasted exceptional, it was a great end to a remarkable meal.
Overall my experience at Hudsons at The Grand Hotel was pleasant and it went above and beyond my expectations. There's very little I could fault with this meal, both service and food were great and I had a wonderful time. Altogether the meal would have come to £84 minus drinks, which I understand is a little bit steep for some pockets, but this restaurant is somewhere you would come for a more special occasion and with the level of service that we received that night and saw other diners receiving, I do think it is worth it. It is also worth noting that if you have a gourmet society card you can get 25% off your meal Sunday-Thursday evenings.
Have you dined at Hudsons?
*This meal was complimentary in exchange for this review. All views are my own.