The Black Swan at Oldstead went from being a North Yorkshire restaurant with a solid reputation for food to a place gastronomes across the world were getting excited about, thanks to it being named The Best Restaurant in the World by TripAdvisor in 2017.
While it’s an accolade that detractors of the controversial reviews website might take with a pinch of salt, it does give some indication of the high quality on offer at this pub-turned-restaurant.
The food at The Black Swan is very much of its location. Chef-patron Tommy Banks’ menu is inspired by the ingredients that are grown in its fields, in the two acres of growing beds in the adjoining garden, or foraged in and around Oldstead. The restaurant opts for a tasting menu-only approach, which it says allows it to bring together everything grown and developed into a purposefully designed experience.
Dishes are seasonal and based on what has been grown as well as what’s available from the seas. But the menu is not completely dictated by the seasons, with the restaurant regularly using pickled and preserved ingredients in the more fallow months, particularly early on in the year. Banks’ menu of small plates changes regularly but expect premium ingredients such as scallops, aged beef and langoustine paired with stellar homegrown produce.
Located in the tiny village of Oldstead about an hour’s drive from York, The Black Swan is not a place you pass on the way to somewhere else, you need to want to get there. But it’s well worth the pilgrimage.