Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Visit York Awards

To the National Railway Museum last night for the glittering Visit York Tourism Awards. It’s a big event for the city that sees 7.1 million tourists a year, and a chance to draw attention to the best tourist ventures and happily to big-up some of the little enterprises that often don’t get a look in.

One of those was the Hairy Fig, the delightful little food emporium on Fossgate that packs in a heck of a lot of wonderful food; think Prestat chocolate, kumquats, olive oil on tap and, of course, figs, in the tiniest of spaces along with a café with only four tables. It’s a wonderfully eccentric enterprise run by Sue Robson Hardie who admits to travelling all over to track down some exotic ingredient you can’t get anywhere else. She was so gobsmacked at having won Best Shopping Experience that she almost failed to go up and collect her award, what with getting her dress caught in the chair leg.

Among the other awards, Hotel of the Year went to Middlethorpe Hall; Guest Accommodation of the Year went to Bishops on Holgate Road;  Pub of the Year to the Golden Fleece on Pavement; and the restaurant award went to another small scale enterprise El Piano, York’s veggie, vegan and gluten-free restaurant. Well done to all and to BBC Look North’s Phil Bodmer who once he’d got his bow tie fixed by Elly Fiorentini from Radio York, gamely compered the evening in spite of a noisy lot of tables somewhere at the back of Platform 5.

Thanks, too, to Visit York for their hospitality.