Restaurant reviews

Fine dining at Restaurant 92 in Harrogate

Harrogate has a booming food scene. The Foodies Festival, BBC Good Food Show, and great restaurants like Wild, Norse, and La Feria all cater for foodies of different tastes and budgets. So, does new opening Restaurant 92 bring something different and refreshing to this already vibrant food scene?

The food on offer at Restaurant 92 is accessible fine dining food that comes in at a good price (£20 or so for a 3 course lunchtime meal).

In many ways, you might be tempted to think that Restaurant 92 is in direct competition with Wild. Both are fine dining options, but Michael Carr has arguably opted to make his menu less of a feast for the eyes (something that James Key does with room to spare at Wild), instead offering classic dishes with interesting twists.

The atmosphere at Restaurant 92 is excellent from the moment you walk in. There’s a nice pre-dinner bar area where you can enjoy a glass of wine or fizz from a keenly priced (and very high quality) wine list. When you do move into the main restaurant area, there is ample room for a comfortable meal, and an area suitable for a more private meal at the rear of the restaurant. With simple yet elegant decor, this is the perfect place for a romantic meal or a catch-up with friends and family.

For lunch, the price at Restaurant 92 is truly incredible. Three courses at a comparable restaurant in London would surely set you back a minimum of £40 without a drink. The team here are keen to show off their food and encourage repeat business, so this really is the time to go and try Restaurant 92 before it becomes hard to get a booking, or the prices rightly go up to reflect the quality of food on offer.

Enough of the preamble though – onto the food and drink proper. We ordered a glass each of reasonably priced champagne (after all, we were celebrating a belated Valentines day) and this perfectly complemented our starters of slow poached egg and butter poached lobster.

The lobster dish was a modern take on a prawn cocktail, although it would be derogatory to compare the beautifully cooked claw and well balanced amounts of sauce and salad to a dish that is more often than not associated with dodgy dinner parties.

The slow poached egg came presented beautifully. The egg was cooked to perfection, with the yolk oozing beautifully into the pearl barley, creating a rich and intense dish that was given a refined feel by the presence of the Iberico ham.

With such positive feelings about the starters, it felt like we may have seen the highlight of our meal appear very early on in the dining experience. How wrong we were!

Our main courses of short beef rib (as no ox cheek was available) and fish ‘n’ chips looked divine and I think both of us were salivating even before our first bite. With local produce on offer here (Scarborough Woof providing the fish in the fish and chip dish), it was soon apparent that this was no empty gesture to appease the current foodie desire for local produce but instead a well thought out way to modernise and improve a classic dish.

The fish itself was moist and full of flavour, and the batter (essentially presented as ‘scraps’ would be at your local chippie) and the deconstructed tartar sauce combined magnificently to elevate a simple dish to a fine dining level. This, for us, was the dish of the menu.

My short beef ribs were rich, meaty and cooked beautifully; I could have asked for a spoon to eat them with. The heritage carrots added a different texture to the dish and again were melt in the mouth tender. While this was an excellent dish (certainly one that would have meat fans drooling) it wasn’t quite as special as the fish.

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With the mains and starters a joy, the desserts (blackened cheesecake for me and chocolate aero for Charlotte) were slightly more of a limp to the finish line. While certainly visually very appealing (in particular the chocolate aero) there was a touch too much over-thinking taking place here. Yes, the honey and figs combined nicely and the ‘blackened’ cheesecake provided a nice accompaniment to both but there was something just not as good as the mains and starters to the puds.

After the slight disappointment of the desserts, we then left on a high note with two very nicely brewed coffees and some delightful petit fours (the vanilla macaroon in particular was exceptional).

If you want high quality food, great service and don’t want to pay through the nose for it, Restaurant 92 is quite simply a must visit and a welcome addition to the Yorkshire food scene.

No disclaimer required. We paid for our meal, which came to (including a tip, 2 glasses of champagne and a coffee each) around £70 in total.

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