Magician in the kitchen

This item appears on page 62 of the February 2009 issue.

Helmsley, England, a gorgeous village in the Yorkshire Moors which we visited April 10-12, 2008, boasts an exceptional restaurant within the Black Swan Hotel (Market Place, Helmsley, YO62 5BJ, U.K.; phone 01144 1439 770466, Andrew Burton, a chef of extraordinary talent, injects his magic into every evening repast.

“Nibbles” of anchovy straws, toasted almonds and cheese biscuits were presented before we perused the menu. Four different fresh-baked bread samples accompanied the 6-course meal.

We each chose from three appetizers, three entrées and three desserts. Each not only delighted the palate but was unique in presentation.

For example, one main course combination — Rump of Lamb, Mini Hot Pot Cabbage and Rosemary Jus — would amaze even the most jaded gourmand. The chef’s distinctive imagination and clear creativity of combining several food items in each course resulted in outstanding surprises to the eye as well as the taste buds.

After our first dinner, we did not entertain going to a different restaurant for the rest of our stay.

The meal cost £30 ($45) per person. Coffee and freshly made petit fours added £3.50. A “tasting menu” was available for £55 per person or £80 with wine. The wine list was extensive.

The restaurant is open for dinner 7-9:30 p.m. and serves a sunday lunch from noon to 2:30.


La Jolla, CA