Cochon Aveugle, York
It’s taken us too long, ridiculously long, to report on Cochon Aveugle especially as it’s one of our favourite places in York. A tiny little French bistro on the foodie strip of Walmgate that offers no menu, no choice (it’s called a blind tasting menu) but if you are up for some surprises it’s all beautifully prepared and presented over countless courses for £95
Its provenance is a bit complicated but stick with me here. In 2012, the maverick chef Michael O’Hare opened Blind Swine in York’s Swinegate. He brought us the kind of food we’d never had in York before, and in the early days, matched each dish with a cocktail that sent us home not only raving but reeling.
Next he opened this little French bistro Cochon Aveugle (translate Blind Swine, get it?), appointed Josh Overington as chef and in inimitable O’Hare style, decorated it with frilly French knickers and naughty black basques.
Then no sooner it seemed than it opened, Blind Swine closed. O’Hare went off to do his own wonderful thing in Leeds at Man Behind the Curtain, and Josh threw out the basques and the knickers and made Cochon his own.
Josh Overington is not any old chef. He’s cooked in Paris, at York’s Le Langhe, the Pipe and Glass, Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers and the Roux brothers Waterside Inn. So take it from his c.v., this guy can cook.
You won’t want me to take you through every last detail of the six courses and anyway it changes every week. Suffice to say, the dishes are small but pretty much perfect from the exquisitely made pain de campagne through to the Viennese coffee siphon. In between there might be a little smoked duck with a soft boiled duck egg, a delicate soup and then a morsel of salmon with a creamy quenelle. Slow cooked pork is matched with Yorkshire rhubarb, then it will be cheese, dessert and coffee. Trust me it’s delicate, intricate and deliciously good.
You can see the work and care that goes into it as the place is so small you are practically looking over chef’s shoulder as he cooks. It has quickly built such a reputation it’s tricky to score a table in this little bistro but keep trying because Cochon is a real treasure.