Andy Annat is a mad man. It’s that simple. Many of the really talented chefs I’ve met over the last few years have been a little eccentric (or extremely eccentric if I’m honest), but there’s always a twinkle in Andy’s eye that invariably evolves into anecdotes about cooking BBQ somewhere unexpected and thoroughly impractical or plans for further ventures, about which we were sworn to secrecy, but suffice to say they sound very exciting.
In the year or so that he’s been in residence above the Blues Bar across in Harrogate, Andy has firmly established his spot as the place to go to for good quality BBQ at sensible prices in a friendly and informal environment. (Being honest, there’s only so formal one could hope to be with a blues band under your feet.) So it was a pleasure to get a phone call asking us back to take a peek at how the menu had developed.
The signature multi-tier platters are still very much in evidence – presented similarly to a large, meaty cream tea – so it was with great anticipation that three tiers of pleasure made their way to our table after a good chat with the man himself. We had enjoyed inventive descriptions of whole walls of fire cooking being used to cook entire spatchcocked pigs, so the inventiveness and fun on the table hardly came as a shock.
Everything we were blessed with was superb, it was almost too much to list but… pork rump, chicken wings, risotto stuffed peppers, chorizo and pulled pork lasagne, gambas, chips, crayfish macaroni cheese, deep fried crayfish mac cheese balls, beefburger with kale and strong cheese, salads (which we might have unfairly neglected), beef kofta skewers, baked potato bombs wrapped in bacon, bacon-wrapped onion rings, bacon-wrapped corn cob and halibut all hit the spot. If pushed to pick highlights, I’d go for the pork rump or lasagne, or maybe the crayfish mac’ cheese, or maybe halibut… you get the idea.
As ever with a trip to the see Andy, you come away with enough leftovers to see you through the following day’s lunch (unless you’re impressively gluttonous) so we enjoyed a few moments of repose on the way back to the train station while digesting the events of the evening, both literally and figuratively. The food is reliably superb and Andy’s a great fun host so I can’t recommend treating yourself to an evening with a mad man strongly enough.