We were thrilled when Gimbals won Best Neighbourhood Restaurant in the recent Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards; it’s no secret that we put their name in the hat, but in the end it came down to two choices and our esteemed team mate Robert Ramsden visited both anonymously and Gimbals was, in his view, the clear winner. Told ya!
So off we went to have a mini-celebration with them (well, dinner) and we were treated to a stupendous tasting menu. Plate after utterly delicious plate came to the table. Seared onglet with a black pudding sandwich and Jerusalem artichoke puree set taste buds soaring. Served with Ben’s (okay Michel Roux Junior’s) brioche it was a perfect start. Vignotte with poached baby beets, endive, Macademia nut puree and black pepper croutes is possibly – probably – one of the tastiest, most sophisticated plates of food I’ve had all year. Tandoori mackerel fillet on nigella seed dhaal, medjool date puree and sweet pickle raisins was a clever twist on a classic Asian dish. By now we’re in Seventh Heaven. Cornfed chicken breast on a ragout of smoked garlic woodland mushrooms, crisp pancetta rashers and autumn black truffle sends us off the scale. Just when you think it can’t get any better, seared venison with a cute little game pie arrives and has extraordinary depth of flavour; it’s pink, tender and we’re full.
But a plate of pudding arrives and funnily enough we dive in. Chocolate tart with coffee ice cream, choc fondant and lemon drizzle cake with lemon puree. What would you have done? Eh?
Bear in mind that Simon and Janet Baker have been keeping dedicated diners happy for 15 years, always moving forwards, never resting on their laurels. With Simon and Ben in the kitchen you’re looking at two of the most talented chefs in the county, and with Janet’s warm, intelligent front of house a grand night out is nailed on. I’ve eaten widely this year and this is the best food I’ve had, along with Frances Atkins’ fabulous menu at the Yorke Arms – and she’s held a Michelin star for nine years.
The tasting menu might not be a regular thing – we might have been uniquely lucky. But all the dishes we had are on their regular menu, so just go. You can’t fail. It’s a memorable night out, and that’s what we want isn’t it? Sensational food, lovely people, lasting memories.