Visit: 11 November 2022
The Rattle Owl is an independent, casual-dining restaurant housed in a restored Grade II listed building. The Head Chef is Tom Heywood.
The restaurant is based on one of York’s most historic streets, Micklegate, in a 17th-century building. The building was renovated by owner Clarrie O’Callaghan over a two-year period and the remains of a Roman road and part of a Roman house were discovered in the cellar during the renovation.
The 42-seat casual dining restaurant was opened in 2015, and has now been awarded 2 AA rosettes.
The restaurant serves two types of tasting menu. The four-course menu is £50 per person and the eight-course menu is £90 per person. A £45pp deposit is required to secure a booking for the eight-course menu, and a £25pp deposit for the four-course option. There are matched wine flights to accompany the tasting menu, and the Organic Drink Pairing for the 8-course taster menu costs £70.
Their goal is to bring all the local suppliers to the forefront and include foraged ingredients in the dishes. Sustainability is key. They commit to at least 90% of the produce being sourced from a 30-mile radius, so the menu is very seasonal.
We started with three very good snacks. There was a chicken liver parfait tart, with blackberry jam, and crispy chicken skin, which was very tasty. A snack of habanero peppers was served with fresh ricotta. The final snack was an excellent beef fat hash brown, with onion chutney, and grated Doddington cheese on top.
The first course was a salt baked beetroot tartare, served with Cashel Blue cheese, wild horseradish, gherkin and hazelnut. The sweet beetroot and salty cheese were a great combination. This was another very good dish.
Crab was served on dressed fennel, with pearl barley, a fennel sorbet, and an aerated crab bisque, sprinkled with fennel pollen. The crab and mild anise tasting fennel combination were excellent. The warm bisque and cold sorbet contrast was unusual, but they worked together well. This was an outstanding dish.
The Paul Cosgriff CS sourdough and Acorn Dairy butter were both very good. The bread had a crisp crust and nice chewy texture.
The fish course was baked hake with mussels, Romanesco cauliflower, and a mussel and Thornborough cider sauce. The fish was precisely cooked, and the cider sauce provided a subtle sweetness to the dish. Another excellent dish.
Next, was pig cheek topped with a coffee crumb, served on carrot puree, with raw carrots, carrot crisps, a carrot and butter sauce, and elderflower. This was an unusual combination that worked together very well.
The main course was a spiced mutton rump Rogan Josh, served with an onion bhaji, a rowan berry chutney, a lettuce raita, and confit mutton belly glazed with honey and seeds. Unfortunately, this was a course that did not appeal to me. I found the mutton to be too fatty for my taste, especially the belly, and the Rogan sauce was very watery.
The pre-dessert was Farro grain ice cream served on baked apple puree, with a fava beans caramel, and Farro grains.
We opted for the additional cheese course of homemade crumpet, served with quince chutney, melted Wigmore sheep cheese, grated walnuts, and honey poured on top (at £7.50 per person). This was excellent.
The dessert was chocolate tart, 65% Papa New Guinea chocolate, damson, and brown butter ice cream.
As well as the drinks pairing, there was a wine selection. Strangely, there were no prices for the bottles of wine printed on the list, so I suggest that you confirm the price before you order.
The food at Rattle Owl was innovative and very well executed. The staff were pleasant and helpful. This was a very good experience and I will definitely return next time I am in York.
Rattle Owl suppliers:
The Head Chef is Tom Heywood. Tom has previously worked at Aldwark Manor, J Baker’s Bistro Moderne, Middlethorpe Hall, and for a short stint with Daniel Clifford at 2 Michelin Starred Midsummer House.
He then worked with Chris Archer at Cottage In The Wood in Cumbria (then 3 AA Rosette, now 1 Michelin Star), and with Peter Neville at The Pheasant at Harome in North Yorkshire.
He was promoted to Head Chef at Rattle Owl in February 2019.