Tommy Banks brings his rural cooking to a city centre location with trademark charm
Roots is the city slicker equivalent to the country gent that is The Black Swan at Oldstead, chef Tommy Banks and family’s hugely popular North Yorkshire restaurant, and retains all the charm of its older sibling but in a more modern setting.
Coming from a farming background, Banks has created a menu at Roots that uses an abundance of interesting produce. He and his team have identified three key British growing seasons, which they call the Preservation Season, the Hunger Gap and the Time of Abundance, which the kitchen works around.
Thus dishes on during the Hunger Gap – January to May, when there are few fresh British vegetables around – include kale dressed in sheep’s yoghurt, pickled walnuts and cured egg yolk and hogget rump, wild garlic and flowering kale; while you might find options such as roast hispi cabbage and bacon in the Preservation Season; and roast duck breast with whitecurrants and peas in the Time of Abundance. Whatever the season, the cooking feels fresh and inventive with flavours turned up to 11.
The Banks’ love of vegetables means that vegetarians are also well looked after here, with a separate vegetarian menu of equal length that doesn’t treat non-meat eaters like second class diners. The restaurant even goes the extra mile with the its iconic crapaudine beetroot dish, traditionally cooked slowly in beef fat, but which is also available having been cooked in rapeseed oil.