After a year of living in York I thought I’d done it all – drunk at every last cocktail bar, browsed every last gift shop and dined at every last restaurant. But I recently discovered there was a whole other side of York I had never ventured out to.
For it turns out, around the west of the city centre heading out towards Holgate and South Bank there lies a whole array of hidden gems I had never visited before, namely the fabulous Mount Royale Hotel, nestled at the top of The Mount – about a 15 minute walk from the train station in the opposite direction than I would typically travel.
Luckily, I was recently invited along to try out the Fish Friday menu at the hotel’s restaurant Oxo’s on the Mount – seemingly an iconic choice with in-the-know locals.
Upon arrival at Oxo’s we were greeted by the wonderful maitre d’ Julian, who has been at the restaurant for many years, and instantly made us feel at home.
The hotel and restaurant is a family run affair and is a mainstay in the York hospitality scene, having been run by the Oxtoby family for over 50 years. It’s even played host to many famous faces and Hollywood stars over the years.
As soon we sat down and browsed the menu we knew we were in for a treat. The selection changes up on a regular basis, with a few traditional dishes always available.
As a big seafood fan I could have eaten every dish!
After much deliberation we decided on our starters and mains:
-Crispy monkfish with parsley purée, roasted garlic mayonnaise, capers and buttered bread
-Curried mussels in a curry broth with spring onion, potato, coriander and bread
-Surf and turf of flat iron steak marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and king prawns served with chunky chips and salad
-Pan fried seabass fillet with a red pepper, chorizo, tomato and chickpea cassoulet served with buttered spinach
Monkfish isn’t a fish which I have very often so I really appreciated the opportunity to sample this, and it was incredibly delicate with a lovely light batter coating.
Of course I tried some of the mussels too! Mussels are one of my favourite seafood dishes and the use of the curried broth was a very unique and tasty twist which we both fully enjoyed.
Next up, my steak was perfectly cooked and the highlight – as you would expect on Fish Friday – was the juicy king prawns.
I also sampled the seabass and cassoulet which was a delicious combination of flavours, with the chorizo complementing the seabass perfectly.
As well as hitting the spot taste wise, all of the dishes were also beautifully presented which I always find gives that extra special touch to a meal out.
After a short break we managed to find some more room for dessert, obviously!
I opted for my all-time favourite dessert crème brûlée, with a winter touch of nutmeg and glazed satsuma. My boyfriend was also pleased to find his favourite sticky toffee pudding on the menu, making for happy faces and happy tummies all round.
If you’re not as greedy as us, you can enjoy 2 courses on the Fish Friday menu for just £19.95pp, while at just £25.95pp for 3 courses those who do have a sweet tooth will also find this special Friday menu to be great value.
The setting, presentation and atmosphere – as well as the food of course – really is exceptional for the price.
Alongside the appetising food menu there is also an impressive drinks selection to choose from, and as Fish Friday is also Fizz Friday I of course started the meal with a prosecco, while my partner enjoyed a glass of York gin
I also finished off the meal with a cosmopolitan, which was one of the biggest cosmos I’ve ever had and incredibly tasty too
Once our food had settled we decided to head on to the charming bar area for a final nightcap.
Now, if you imagine what a cute and cosy British pub would look like, Oxo’s is it. It was just the perfect place to lounge by the fire with a Bailey’s as the winter season started setting in. With a roaring fire, plaid furnishings, books adorning the walls and tealights creating a perfectly ambient atmosphere, we couldn’t have asked for a better setting on a cold November’s night.
I really can’t believe I have only just now discovered Oxo’s and The Mount Royale Hotel, but it’s certainly better late than never, and it won’t be our last visit for sure!