In 2017, before I visited The Park, I predicted that the demise of the tasting menu; I suspected it might just be around the corner. Once, the mere mention of eight, ten – I even once managed 12 – plates of meticulous deliciousness was met with happy anticipation. Now, my reaction now is more akin to a massive sigh of boredom.
The tasting menu has, for the most part, slowly slipped into mediocrity. This is thanks to unfaithful copying by less capable chefs rather than the creative exploration and pushing of boundaries that it once was.
Still, here I am on a Saturday night at The Park in York, ready to hand over all choice and decision for the next few hours of my life to chef Adam Jackson. Adam is not known for mediocrity or cheffy pretension, so fingers crossed.
There’s no change in the menu layout, seven courses (£60) plus an additional cheese plate for an extra £6. The staccato titling of the food also serves as a description, so it is anyone’s guess as to what will arrive on the plate.
We hit the floor running with a glass of one of my favourite English bubbles, Nyetimber Classic Cuvée. This wine makes a good start, middle and a finish for my taste buds. But, in fairness to the food though, I tag on a flight of wines (£48) that we choose to share, This, I may add, is not for parsimony but, being the generous soul that I am, so my lovely husband-cum-driver can have a tiny taste too.
The nibbles to start this journey were picture-perfect with their tiny spots, dots, dips and bite-sized flavours. All except a crunchy smidgeon of mackerel skin raised a smile. As we launched into the menu proper, that smile did not wane for quite some time.
I had chosen a meat-free-but-with-fish option, safe in the knowledge that Adam certainly bucks any trend on this score. I worked my way through Isle of Mull cheese bread with a Marmite butter whipped into a light frenzy. Both were so, so good.
The Park Restaurant by Adam Jackson, Marmaduke, Town House Hotel, 4-5 St Peters Grove, Bootham, York, YO30 6AQ. Tel: 01904 540903. Open: Tuesday to Saturday, sittings from 7pm.