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Gary Marshall

White's - Beverely, East Yorkshire

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Last night saw four of us venture east to Beverley to check out a new-ish restaurant called whites, run by 23 year old john robinson who before a bout of travelling worked at winteringham fields under Germain Schwab, I am a big fan of Germain's cooking and usually any alumni of his are worth checking out, i had heard nothing of this new venture until the newly crowned Observer Yorkshire restaurant correspondent Jay Rayner kindly brought it to mine and the public's attention with a very positive review...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/200...ts-foodanddrink

First impressions on booking were good, they made sure arrivals were spaced out to avoid undue pressure on the kitchen, which is important as John seemingly does the lot by himself from his small kitchen overlooking the restaurant, indeed the 'pass' is effectively the ledge of the service hatch, a good idea so he can see most of the restaurant from here.

On arriving , we were greeted by name and headed for our table in the minimal room, i say minimal in a kind way but really it could do with a bit more art to warm up the predominantly white space. Although not a big restaurant it seems there's room for about 30 covers and the tables are nicely spaced and shod with decent glasses, both red/white and water so obviously set up by someone who knows where he should be heading on the wine front. Front of house was taken care of by a couple of young girls who had obviously been trained, rather than just left to fend for themselves again, tick box v.g.

The wine list didn't reveal any immediate must drinks but as it was a birthday, a bottle of Deutz NV was a nice opener and at £39 not too gougy, the sparklers start at a sensible £20 for prosecco. and a big jug of iced water followed suit.

Whilst waiting for menus we were offered the ubiquitous shot of something, this time it was parsnip based and quite textural, served with a spoon. I'm more a fan of the staight creamy veloute types of these openers but it was inoffensive enough, though probably lacking a bit of salt (a recurrent theme as the night progressed) to really sharpen the appetite.

Menus showed a concise list of 6 (?) starters 4 mains (2 meat, 2 fish) and 4 desserts (incl. cheese). It was a interesting list of starters and i was unsure how they would be in reality, an oxtail ravioli caught my eye but i'd already seen a couple of mains with braised components so thought i'd try something else, friends had scallops with a lemongrass veloute, the oxtail and mrs m sliced pork belly with a sage cream. I had lightly curried cod. There was an initial disappointment with the ravioli that it wasn't fully enclosed it was just draped with a thin past a square but the bit i tried of the meat was suitably unctous, sarah's pork seemed tasty enough and my cod was decent, a nice curry kick, which i suspect came from a curry oil at some point in the proceedings. I forget there was bread too, a decent brown with a lovely fennel butter served on a nice wood platter, it lasted about 30 seconds.

Mains split down the middle, there was turbot on the menu but it had been substituted for halibut so that was off my list, i'd have gone for the 9 hour braised shin and seared fillet but we already had 2 orders for that so went for the lamb version, roast rump, minted shoulder, trompette mushrooms and caper and raisin sauce. I must admit to reservations when it arrived, it didn't look particularly well plated, there didn't seem to be much shoulder and the mushrooms appeared to be carrots. A bigger problem was my friend across the table who had the same, the questions came thick and fast, 'shouldn't i be able to cut this easily?', ' it doesn't taste of anything' , 'it's too chewy'. i swapped a piece of mine but she gave a similar verdict. Credit to the waitress she sensed unhappyness when i asked for salt and pepper and with a bit of seasoning it was improved but basically it wasn't great. A series of small failings leading to an unhappy end, lack of seasoning, lack of mushrooms, undiscernable mint and as it turned out, overcooked. Unfortunately at £18.55 it was a bit too much to overlook. My friend left most of hers but i ate mine. We mentioned it to the waitress and she reported it to the kitchen who came back with a slightly odd response, 'chef says he'll take it up with the suppliers tomorrow' . We'll take it off the bill might have been more appropriate! Anyway i am pleased to say that the beef was hailed a success and from my taste the fillet was very well cooked, and rested so it was rare as hell in the middle but perfectly set, quite rare these days (no pun, etc)

I think the waitress thought we were not happy by this point, given my friend tends to wear her heart on her sleeve but yes, of course we wanted dessert! i had a pineapple pannacotta with cumin seeds, there were 2 cheese boards and a dark/white choc affair. Here there were no complaints, pattisserie seems a real skill here (and indeed it operates as a pattiserie during the afternoon between services). My pannacotta was perfect, it wobbled within a millimetre of collapse but kept its shape and the cumin seeds in oil a nice counterpunch. the choc duo also got the thumbs up and the cheese was a interesting selection of 5 cheeses that the waitress (after a discreet brief from john) explained and cut a choice of 3 at the table, served with a killer spiced celery and homemade biccy's.

On the wine front there's a reasonable list from pagendam pratt, we had a couple of australian chardonnay's and a very nice 04, chilean pinot noir that my friend immediately described as 'fruit gum' (and rather worryingly the white as 'tinned tuna').

Coffee followed, and the bill for £244, although we had a fair bit of wine, the food is not cheap, mains high teens , starters £7-8 , Desserts £6 (?) so it can rack up. it was getting late (for a school night) so we were heading off but john did want our thoughts on the lamb, he thought it was a quality issue (it seemed to have decent provenance from the devonshire estate) but when i asked how should it have come - it was well done, he admitted that it was probably overcooked, and that despite being busy had decided to change 2 dishes on the menu that day and had basically made a bit of a rod for his own back!

It's going to be a fine art to juggle the numbers required to pay the bills, not have to employ too many people but keep the consistency, but it can be done and i'm sure he has the talent to do it, he's certainly got time on his side. Jay's review has resulted in an influx of custom and i hope it's not too soon for him, they did 20 people last night and on a tuesday night in beverley that's very good going, indeed there'll be plenty of places in leeds who'd be happy with that at the moment. Like a decent wine i'd say white's is ready for trying now, but will certainly improve with age.


you don't win friends with salad

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Like a decent wine i'd say white's is ready for trying now, but will certainly improve with age.

You've got to be pulled up for that; ever thought about writing a blog :laugh:

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nowt wrong with a cliche, and it is true! (Only you would understand recommend +)

not feeling very imaginative today, and by tomorrow i'll have forgotten most of it :laugh:


Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

you don't win friends with salad

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