Melton’s is located outside the medieval city wall in a residential street. This narrow roomed, plainly furnished restaurant is the epitome of everything one would expect in a good, family run establishment. The husband cooks, the wife is front of house, and a daughter assists as a waitress. It has modest aims, lacks pretension and is excellent value for money. The food, nevertheless, shows ambition in its range of techniques, harmonious combination regional and seasonal ingredients, and balance of tastes and textures. The consistency with which the kitchen delivers dishes at a high level of sophistication has earned it regular appearances in the food guides. Hence, it is a clear favourite amongst York’s discerning foodies.
The set lunch and early dinner offer – three courses from the carte for £25 – is amazing value. The alternatives in each course provide a real embarrassment of choice
Scandinavian salmon was lightly cured to preserve its essential delicacy. Pickled vegetables which gave The sweet astringency of soused vegetables, and gentle heat with a melting sensation of horseradish snow, provided the perfect foil in taste and texture for the fish.
At the centre of an assiette of pork – “The Whole Hog” – was a square of well seasoned belly, roasted, pressed and finished in the pan. Although delicious, it was minus its skin. (Apparently, this has slipped through the net as crackling is normally provided!) Ham hock terrine was suitably robust in flavour whilst a portion of stuffed trotter, in all its soft, gelatinous richness, was balanced by a crisp, deep fried ear, perched on a buttery potato fondant. Braised Bigos cabbage provided a suitable green vegetable and the whole dish was brought together by an unctuous, deeply flavoured Madeira jus. This was well judged, impeccable cooking.
Local cheeses, including Barncliffe, Richard the Third and Laceys Blue, were in perfect condition and came with homemade biscuits, Yorkshire parkin and a tangy chutney
For dessert a hot prune and brandy soufflé was well risen, of the correct consistency, and served with a little jug of extra sauce sauce.
Service throughout was welcoming, solicitous and knowledgeable. The assistant manager – not one of the family – was apologetic for the lack of crackling!
Melton’s certainly deserves its strong reputation not only as a neighbourhood restaurant, but also a favourite for those who journey from further afield. It success has led to expansion if the form of Melton’s Too in the city centre, which offers a more brasserie style menu and informal style of eating