Horto Harrogate

Rudding Park with its golf course and rolling acres and its upright, proper and perfectly good Clocktower restaurant is not the first place that comes to mind for pushing at the wilder shores of gastronomy but – trust Squidbeak -  Horto is something special and different. 

 

It’s housed, along with posh spa, indoor and rooftop pools, in a new building behind the main hotel. The restaurant sits on the ground floor and it’s drop-dead gorgeous in a very minimalist way. Floor to ceiling glass overlooks an outdoor dining terrace; tables are generously spaced, there’s no decor save for the brightly upholstered chairs and bold splashes of abstract art.

 

By day, I’m told, it’s salad and sandwiches. I can’t vouch for this as I haven’t been but in the evening Horto comes into its own with a three course à la carte (£54) and a seven course tasting menu (£64) from its ultra hi-tech kitchen.

 

Head chef is Murray Wilson, late of the Yorke Arms and Gordon Ramsay’s at Claridges and most significantly Norse of Harrogate. He was head-hunted by Rudding to create a restaurant based around their new kitchen garden. It began as a pop-up, but now it’s permanent.

 

I mention Wilson’s time at Norse as significant because his signature use of seeds and nuts and grain is evident again here but whereas it could be too much of a good thing at Norse here it is reined in to much more sophisticated effect.

 

To list the whole seven courses would be tedious and spoil the surprise and anyway the menu will have changed by the time you eat here, but a typical highlight was a ‘snack’ of tomato and mozzarella. If a dehydrated tomato slice, whipped mozzarella and ‘tomato water’ doesn’t sound up to much, get ready to believe. It packs a serious punch. Potato, smoked eel and grains was another dish big on taste and texture.

Whitby crab comes with a sharp hit of yuzu; cod comes in a mild curry sauce. The meat course of venison was the least convincing, but a vibrant herby sorbet got us back on track.

 

How often do restaurants claim to grow their own veg, then put barely a leaf on the plate? Horto lives up to the promise of using the produce from the fabulous Rudding veg garden, created by Adrian Reeve, (do go and tour it) and fittingly the ‘kitchen garden salad’ sings with leaves and herbs and freshness. One of my dishes – and meals – of the year.

 

In all Rudding have worked a blinder with Horto, it’s exciting, inventive, subtle and fun and it goes into our Top Ten

 

 

 

Horto

Rudding Park, Follifoot, Harrogate HG3 1JH

Tel 01423 871350
www.ruddingpark.co.uk/dine/horto/

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Type: Restaurant

Price guide

3 out of 5

Cuisine type: Modern British

Horto features in our Top Ten Favourites

Part of Eat North Yorkshire

Review by Jill, 6 July 2017

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