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No.1 GuestHouse Review | York’s generous hidden gem

No 1 GuestHouse York review by Lucinda Hurst

A home away from home

Tucked away on the leafy streets of York, No.1 GuestHouse is a leisurely 10-minute stroll from the bustling city centre. If you’re staying at this Yorkshire boutique hotel, you’re in luck. A cheerful bell boy on a bike will meet you at the train station and take your luggage straight to the hotel for you, so you can explore now and check in later.

No 1 GuestHouse York Review – Hotel exterior

The home of No.1 GuestHouse is seriously good looking; a Grade II listed building trailing with ivy. Before we experience their York restaurant, we take a seat in the Rhubarb Lounge, though the train lounge might be a more apt name. With its locomotive themed decor and miniature train travelling around the room every half an hour, it’s a great spot for an aperitif.

NO 1 Guesthouse York bar
No 1 GuestHouse York Review – Rhubarb Lounge

The dining room itself has a traditional, Betty’s-esque feel, which is right at home in York, but more playful with its Tiffany blue walls.

NO 1 Guesthouse York restaurant tables and window
No 1 GuestHouse York Review – restaurant interior

Local ingredients and generous plates

We indulge in a beautiful bottle of Beaujolais and chat to Exec Chef Will over a glass. He shares the ethos of the restaurant; a focus on quality and generosity. The meat comes from Lishman’s of Ilkley, who don’t ordinarily supply restaurants but support No.1 GuestHouse’s vision. The venison (more on that to follow) comes from North Yorkshire’s wonderfully wild Holme Farm.

NO 1 Guesthouse York menus and nibbles
No 1 York GuestHouse Review – menus and focaccia

Whilst the team here make much of their own bread, suppliers and neighbours Dough are responsible for the first-rate focaccia that’s served to us warm, with salted butter. You really can’t beat simple pleasures like this. It’s a cue for how the rest of our meal will go… quality ingredients meet technical brilliance.

NO 1 Guesthouse York starters
No 1 GuestHouse York Review – Smoked venison starter

Our first courses arrive and honestly, they’re beautiful. The grilled asparagus is a delight and those balsamic stewed figs… I’ve instantly converted from a figs loose acquaintance to their biggest fan. The smoked venison is a real treat. Vibrant in colour and rich in flavour, it’s a stellar example of a perfectly balanced plate. Served with a punchy rhubarb relish and croutons for crunch, with micro herbs and rocket bringing more layers of flavour to each bite and finished with a light drizzle of oil.

NO 1 Guesthouse York main courses overhead
No 1 GuestHouse York review – Rib of beef and pork chop mains

The rib of beef served on the bone is a real show stopper

Generosity was a word heavy on the chef’s lips, and it comes to life with the main courses. The rib of beef served on the bone is a real show stopper. Perfectly cooked, with a rich béarnaise sauce and thick hand-cut chips, begging to be dipped into that glossy sauce.

Size isn’t everything, especially in the world of food, but the pork suggests otherwise. It’s another generous plate, with no compromise on quality or flavour. It’s paired with a creamy garden herb polenta and foraged mushrooms.

If you’re a seafood fan, Chef Will recommends ordering the lobster served with Bloody Mary sauce, along with the beef, to share between two and create your own surf and turf.

Save room for pudding

NO 1 Guesthouse York desserts
No 1 GuestHouse York Review – Desserts

We plump for the apple and gooseberry crumble with custard, and the custard and nutmeg tart. The crumble is topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, adding an earthy crunch to the dish. It’s homely yet polished, with its light, airy custard and tart gooseberries. The custard tart is unbelievably light, with satisfyingly crumbly homemade pastry and finished with a sweet rhubarb sauce.

No 1 York Guest House lounge
No 1 York GuestHouse Review – Marmalade Lounge

Truly satisfied, we head out, taking in our final glimpses of the place. Calming aromas from the spa drift up the stairs, and we potter past the Marmalade Lounge, one of York’s best settings for afternoon tea, with its own unique decor. Every room is so different, and yet they fit together like puzzle pieces, to make up the gem that is No.1 GuestHouse in York.


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Written by

Lucinda Hurst


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