I’ve been rewatching the Wire recently and, as with most other Wire evangelists, started to inadvertently slip turns of phrase from “bodymore’ into my language. This is wholly inappropriate. There’s no way to justify responses such as “mos’ def'” when offered extra onions or “it’s all in the game yo” to justify a workplace decision. York clearly has little in common with Baltimore but does feature one bar that’s at least on nodding grammatical terms.
The Biltmore bar and grill sits in a former missionary hall in Swinegate as a family run business sprung from the success of York stalwart Oscars. Thankfully there’s very little in common between Baltimore & Biltmore so when I was happy that the family running the business were unlikely to stick me for a re-up I was more than happy to head up for a bite to eat and to check out the building.
|The Biltmore recognises its origins by paying the rent on a new church for the Pentecostal movement that created the building it inhabits and has been steadily increasing its presence in York since setting up shop as a champagne bar and working toward the quality food presence it’s now presenting the world. Head chef Mark Hill has settled here after familiarizing himself with Korean streetfood to bring those influences into York.|
We arrived to a ‘garden menu’ upstairs on some astroturf, daisies sat on the tables to further make the outdoor theme clear. Welcomed by knowledgeable staff, and after an extended reading of the menu, we settled into an encouragingly good bottle of Chablis listed at £23 and waited for our lollipop starters.
|The asparagus lollipop was a touch over-promised. Four spears of fresh veg had a skewer shoved through them to bind them together and meet the theme. The spears could have had a touch more seasoning and a few seconds longer on the griddle, but were as nice as the ingredients would suggest. Pork and seafood and mushroom “lollipops” were well judged too, perhaps dunked in accompanying sauces a bit too aggressively, but tasty.
Moving to mains, we were both on burgers. I was tempted to spend a lot of time placing a very detailed order for the tempting sounding sushi, but the desire for fried food won out, justifiably so as it turns out. Eastern influenced slaw, fried egg, gherkins and chips with just the right texture both interior and exterior filled the edges of the experience as we worked up the courage for a dessert.
A rich chocolate mousse rounded out the evening. Struggling to encourage our appetites to complete the challenge, we departed defeated. A lovely evening in a striking building, there felt a lot more potential here than necessarily exposed. High quality burgers absolutely did the venue justice, but the Friday night menu looked an even more enticing way to spend an evening.
I’ve been quick to dismiss the Biltmore as another trendy cocktail bar. I was just as wrong about the Wire, dismissing it as the Emperor’s new clothes, while I tried to rise above popular culture. My former opinion of the Biltmore might fit in the same box, it’s all in the game yo.