I admit I can hold a grudge for too long. Somewhere around seven years ago I had a really rubbish cup of coffee in Le Langhe along with terrible service so naturally I’ve refused to go back since. Perhaps I’m softening in my old age but the recent award of a Bib Gourmand (awarded for establishments providing a good meal under £28/head) and some good reports tempted me back.
|A large menu presents plenty of temptations, but I wanted to leave the decision in the kitchen’s hands, so went for the tasting menu for a conspicuously good value £23.50 for 4 courses and a glass of wine. For food of the standard I was expecting, that looked like a massive bargain, but there’s a worrying shadow over all this.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a moan about the food in Le Langhe, but stories of poor service are multitude and in truth are more responsible for my absence than a crappy two quid coffee. So it was with a small sense of trepidation that we were seated in a rather plain room after making our way through the delights of the delicatessen fronting the business.
Pasta was next up after a moderate pause and maintained the standard set. Vivid yellow ribbons of rich egg pasta with crab was fresh and nicely presented. Though the small cubes of potato contributed very little, they didn’t detract from the delicate crab textures…
The meat course that followed was another star, braised ox cheek in a reduction so beautifully sticky and full of flavour that it seemed scarcely feasible. The rich meat was slow cooked to perfection and adorned with rosemary sprigs so exaggeratedly green and fragrant as to be scarcely believable. Served with a potato dauphinoise that didn’t overreach itself with richness the dish was another triumph.
We rounded out the meal with a cheese plate and a dessert to share. The cheese initially looked a bit stingy but turned out to be strong enough that larger portions would be impossible to eat. Soft blue cheeses were wonderful but the harder cheeses were fairly overpowering, one of which gave out a strong truffle flavour at the expense of subtlety.
The dessert course presented was a tart of either apple or pear. I really don’t go in for sweets but it’s reported that this was a relatively average dessert on a slightly hard base, Comparison with the earlier dishes maybe driving criticism.
The cost of all this? Sixty quid including a tip. Frankly for food of this standard that’s dirt cheap. Immediately Le Langhe is lodged in my head as one of the best places to eat in York, more so given the price. I should prove my objectivity by finding a few criticisms I suppose. The chairs weren’t massively comfy and the waiter mumbled a bit leading to the apple/pear uncertainty. The wine was was included in the price was a touch anonymous too. The fear of poor service turned out to be unfounded fortunately, though given the reports I’ve heard I can’t vouch that this will be the case for every meal but I can say that I now don’t care. Frankly for food this good they can throw it at me from the kitchen.