All Bar One, York – Restaurant Review
All Bar One, York
by Jen Grimble
Chain-restaurant food often conjures thoughts of poorly cooked, unimaginative dishes. Yet if you search, you can find establishments rallying for the custom of foodies. All Bar One slots into this category. The bar-chain, with 50 outlets across the country, celebrated its 20th birthday last year, standing strong in a saturated market. The York branch, situated on New Street, recently reopened its doors following a major internal renovation.
The comprehensive revamp, complete with Victorian street-scene wall mural, stylish furnishings throughout, and subtle lighting, transports you to a Moroccan night bazaar. This atmosphere hits you as you walk in; it’s welcoming with an eclectic family-friendly, romance-oriented mood. An open kitchen shows chef-confidence and the new breakfast bar creates a balance between work and play.
One of the first things that may strike you is how All Bar One feels more like a trendy, up-and-coming city bar, giving independent rivals a run for their money. As you study the pages of the beautifully designed menus it becomes apparent that this bar is serious about its fare. Full of stimulating world-foods and classic British dishes with a modern twist, you may find your mouth watering before you’ve even ordered.
“Sharing platters are ideal”
For drinks, choose from the robust Wine Library with its elegant bubbles and rich reds, or explore the Mixology Bar’s signature cocktails. We elect for the latter, because every drink sounds entirely enticing. Sharp and scintillating is the Peach and Rhubarb Collins, a refreshing mix of Bombay Sapphire Gin, rhubarb and rosehip syrup, white peach purée and soda, topped with wistful rhubarb-and-custard sweets. Their Pina Colada, an ever-popular choice, features Havana Especial Rum, Malibu, coconut syrup, pineapple and cream; sickly but delicious. Both are priced at a weighty £6.95, but they are worth every penny.
Main meals are harder to decipher, due to the impressive and diverse dishes on offer. There is a varied selection without being overwhelming and the BBQ Pulled Pork Homemade Beef Burger proved popular with fellow diners. Vegetarians and other dietary requirements are covered; the Salmagundi Quinoa Salad or the Butternut Squash and Sultana Burger are two such options. For those wanting lighter snacks, the sharing platters are ideal, and this is exactly what we ordered.
Itching for their arrival, our selection of seasonal sharing plates arrived; think Spanish tapas and British classics infused with modern Middle-Eastern flavours. We tasted aromatic and low fat Za’atar Chicken Skewers with parsley and tomato salad; melt-in-the-mouth Slow-cooked Pork served with creamy mash and apple and vanilla “ketchup”; divine North African Feta and Spinach Bourek’s (samosa style parcels served with a chilli and tomato jam); an unbelievably good Truffled Goat’s Cheese with honey and pecans, and a Bread Basket which included heavenly rosemary focaccia. These dishes were complimentary, well-executed and vibrant, providing something a little different from the norm. They are the perfect size for snacks and conversation, or a group feast that everyone can tuck in to, and you certainly won’t go hungry. Individual dishes range from £4.50 to £7.25 and any five plates costs £25, which is enough for 2-3 people.
Last but never least is dessert. Choosing one is always a hard task for those with a sweet tooth, and here, European influences make an appearance. We opted for the Chocolate, Orange and Mascarpone Mousse Cake, priced at £4.75. This proved a decedent antidote to a chocolate craving with its fluffy, rich filling and light sponge base. An accompanying ice cream or coulis could have elevated the dish. While the Lemon Torte, priced at £5.50, was a refreshing and zingy offering. Particularly the raspberry sorbet which shone from the plate.
“Bold and fresh”
With a comprehensive breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menu, this chain has somehow managed to cater for every diner. Whether you’re sharing items over a casual glass of wine, or spending a lazy afternoon with friends and family, All Bar One York captures the essence of everyday, all-day dining, in a highly modern way. Think nostalgic sweet-shop cocktails, decadent desserts, and a contemporary setting that is as bold and fresh as the food they serve.
All Bar One serves light snacks and wholesome dishes from 8am on weekdays and 9am at weekends, until 10pm daily
13-17 New Street, York, YO1 8RA