Review: Grand by name, grand by nature; Legacy at The Grand, York leaves a lasting impression
When it comes to fine-dining, we’re well and truly blessed here in Yorkshire. There’s no shortage of talent in the kitchens of Leeds, York, and beyond, and the local produce sits proudly on many a great menu. But it’s the little details that separate the great from the grand. Like the handwritten note waiting on our table at Legacy, the newest fine-dining addition to York.
Legacy sits within The Grand York hotel, a Yorkshire institution. The building has rich history, as the Grade II-listed, former railway headquarters, and boasts utterly luxurious decor. It’s well and truly earned its title as the first, and only, 5* hotel in York, with a spa, event spaces, your choice of bars and restaurants, and a cookery school to boot. And now, Legacy at The Grand brings fine-dining finesse to that offering.
The grandest of welcomes
It’s a warm welcome from the doorman, and as we head down the halls, the 1906 bar is bookmarked for later, along with an armchair and after dinner whisky. Our hostess leads us to dinner, a vision of vintage glamour. In fact, every member of staff is dressed impeccably, and ready to put their know-how to good use.
The warm wooden interiors merge beautifully with the restaurant’s striking royal blue and marble combination. The decor is impactful and intentional; opulent without overdoing it. In-keeping with the hotel, we see nods to history through proud portraits and the subtle blueprints sketched onto the walls. There are layers of interest to unwrap as you dine.
The handwritten welcome introduction is followed-up by in-house Sommelier and Restaurant Manager Derek Scaife. The incredibly charming gent promises we won’t see the usual suspects with the wine pairing. A claim backed up by our first sip of Nyetimber, a lightly sparkling English wine, chosen over any major champagne house.
Canapés you’ll crave
The classic cuvée is a delightful introduction, as the canapés arrive, hand delivered by the head chef himself, Ahmed Abdalla. Talking us through the menu, his passion for food is clear, and there’s no ego about it. He just wants to share the experience of beautiful food. One bite in and we’re off to a great start!
There’s his twist on Ham Hock Terrine, with all the classic flavours you’d expect, but not necessarily how you’d expect them. Hand-pipped piccalilli and dehydrated pickles, along with a few more fine dining flourishes, absolutely transforms the ordinary into something spectacular. I’d sampled a preview during the chef’s Harrogate Food Festival demo, but it was even better the second time around.
The smoked Cod Roe Cones beautifully blend bold flavours, whilst plump Lindisfarne oysters, embellished with bling blossom, are a disco on your palette. “An explosion of flavour” is how my dining partner puts it, and he’s not the type to exaggerate.
A twist on the classics
The first course is an outrageously smooth Jersey Royal Velouté, served with a Fountain’s Gold cheddar tuile, a Parkerhouse roll hot from the oven, and a selection of herb and cultured butter. Digging in reveals sticky glazed bites of that signature nutty flavour Jersey Royals are prized for.
We relax into an evening of good food and wine. Speaking of, the wine pairing blends Chardonnay, Viognier and Marsanne grapes, with all of the depth and yet none of the oakiness you might expect. The sommelier is already keeping us on our toes.
The next is a rather surprising Reisling: dry at first taste, with a wave of citrus before it settles into a classically sweet finish. It’s paired with the stand out dish of the evening. One bite of the Barbecue Langoustine, and I’m professing my love for it. Another bite, and you can go ahead and ring the church bells. The tail is utter perfection, and the handmade ravioli is right there with it. Dressed in a bisque foam made from the langoustine shell, the kitchen leave no waste behind, and heritage carrots dress the plate, with a subtle zing that harks back to the wine.
Celeriac is partnered with black garlic and summer truffle for course four, and then finished with lightly toasted nuts. The acidity and sweetness of the Montepulciano red (our first of the evening) cuts through the earthy flavours beautifully, before ending on a slightly bitter finish that rounds out the course.
The most perfect of pairings
The pan-fried Halibut dish that follows is dressed at the table, with a light Mousselline sauce (a richer take on Hollandaise, using whipped cream). It’s the Albariño matched with it that steals the show though. The familiar aroma gives away no clues of what lies ahead. As a kid, I would always reach for the sourest of sour sweets; the wonderful ‘turn your face inside out’ kind of sour. As a grown-up, this brilliant New Zealand wine gives me the same kind of thrill. The classic Spanish grape gets the sea breeze treatment from the Pacific Ocean, and the result is particularly punchy and entirely unforgettable.
The trio of Yorkshire Lamb arrives, with a perfectly pink cutlet sitting pride of place, sliced from the entire rack smoked by the kitchen. Sweetbreads, lamb breast, and seasonal vegetables are finished with a glossy Taragon emulsion. Unsurprisingly, given the Sommelier’s innovative tastes, there’s no obvious Rioja pairing, and he instead plumps for a fruity little number from the Spanish/Portuguese border.
Our pre-dessert (because there’s no such thing as too much pudding) puts local favourites Annabel’s Deliciously British strawberries to good use, in a granita topped with chamomile and lavender foam. Sipping our dessert wine, the Grand Honey dessert course arrives, and it’s as delicious as it is beautiful, with a honeycomb-shaped hint at what’s to follow.
We end the night, as all good ones should, with a cheeseboard, featuring what must be everyone’s brie of choice, Baron Bigod. The pickled walnuts are a great addition, but the pièce de résistance is the honey, carved from the comb at your table. It doesn’t get more local than your own rooftop beehive! We raise a glass of reliably good Port to a stand-out evening.
Legacy at The Grand York review, final thoughts
The intimate, 26-cover York restaurant feels fresh and new, and yet so at home in the historic hotel. Whether you’re celebrating something special, or just looking for somewhere different to try, Legacy belongs on the urgent to-do list of any self-respecting foodie. It’s more than just dinner; it’s an experience. One designed for people to fall in love with, not just a big name cooking for his own ego.
Each ingredient, interaction, and detail has purpose, to make this a star-worthy dining experience. I don’t imagine it’ll take long for Michelin to come calling. Or for us to book our next visit for that matter.
Legacy at The Grand, Station Rise, York YO1 6GD – 01904 380038 – https://www.thegrandyork.co.uk/legacy/
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