When Josh Overington, the chef/patron of Cochon Aveugle began looking for bigger premises to expand his fine dining restaurant, he found the high rents and business rates in the centre of York, totally unfeasible prompting him to move 17 miles out of the city to pretty Hovingham where he found a cheaper property with more space and more potential.
In Myse (pronounced Meez) which translates from Anglo-Saxon as ‘eating at the table’ he has created a high-end restaurant with a set menu of 14 courses, with an additional cheese course and a wine flight created by wine specialists Keeling Andrew the chaps behind the much-admired Noble Rot. The menu is a showcase for Yorkshire produce and the skills of Josh Overington and his sous chef Jamie Keeble. With his wife Victoria, who is responsible for much of the refurbishment they have created a lovely, warm welcoming restaurant and three gorgeous bedrooms.
Don’t come here expecting a loaded plate. The courses are small, delicate and intricate. The ‘charcoal pie’ is a disc no bigger than a 50p piece filled with raw venison and topped with caviar. The Old Berkshire pork loin with black pudding sauce, was described to me as ‘no bigger than a pencil sharpener’. A rustic spoon set on a bed of hay contains a quail egg, wild mushrooms and a hit of sweet caramel at the base, but don’t worry, you won’t need and bag of chips on the way home, there is plenty to eat as the courses keep on coming.
Ale braised ox cheek fried in Yorkshire pudding batter (picture), an Orkney scallop (the only dish I recognise from the Cochon days) is tied with string and cut open at the table to reveal a juicy scallop in a rich sauce made of dried coral and sea urchin butter. It is terrific.
All the courses are terrific. You can appreciate just how labour-intensive it all is by the chefs at the open pass, poring over the preparation of a miniature crumpet filled with duck liver and ham, brought to the table on a hand-thrown plate, each plate carefully selected to match the dish. The cutlery too has been specially made, like the hand-forged knives etched with the Myse logo.
Of course, dining at this level doesn’t come cheap. Dinner is £125 a head, the wine flight is £95 or £260 for the prestige wine pairing, and the wine list heads well over £100, so you are knocking up a sizeable bill. You can do it a little cheaper with lunch at £95 and with a bit of a search of the wine list you can find a bottle for as little as £26.
So consider Myse as a special treat, the place for a celebration and enjoy a very good dinner in a restaurant that glows in winter with a log fire, flagged floors and a scattering of sheepskin throws. In warmer weather enjoy your digestif in the outdoor seating around the fire pit. Better still, stay over in one of their bedrooms done out in tones of cream and taupe and make the most of Myse and its lovely Ryedale location on the edge of the Howardian Hills.