Great British Menu star Tommy Banks has helped turn this pub into a restaurant that’s worth the journey
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 Pub in the World by TripAdvisor back 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. But the menu is not dictated by the seasons, with the restaurant regularly using pickled and preserved ingredients in the more fallow months, particularly the first half of the year. Banks’ menu of small plates changes regularly but his signature dish of crapaudine beetroot cooked in beef fat is a regular feature.
Located in the tiny village of Oldstead almost an hour’s drive from York city centre, 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.