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Beverley restaurant’s recipe for success

A Beverley restaurant has made it into the top ten best restaurants in Yorkshire, according to the 2018 Good Food Guide, published this week.

Having just completed nine full years of trading, Whites, in North Bar Without, has been featured in the guide every year since its launch in September 2008 and remains the only one in the town to be included.

But this year there’s cause for more celebration than ever; the 2018 Good Food Guide has rated the restaurant even higher than previous years, giving it the same score as the Pipe and Glass at South Dalton, which is East Yorkshire’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.

Within East Yorkshire, Whites and the Pipe and Glass are the highest-rated and the only others included are the Star at Sancton and 1884 Dock Street Kitchen in Hull. Only six restaurants in the whole of Yorkshire are rated higher than Whites.

“It’s a great achievement and a real pat on the back for the whole team,” says Whites owner and head chef John Robinson. “We work tirelessly all year and getting credit from guide books is such a good feeling. We are proud to be Beverley’s only restaurant in the guide and proud to help boost the town’s appeal to people from outside the area.”

Good Food Guide inspectors referred to John’s “masterclass of top-notch cooking” and commented: “Robinson tasks himself with tasting menus of four or nine courses, an ambitious aim . . . but the results are regularly stunning.

Writing about their meal, the inspector said: “An early course of smoked eel mousse with chicken skin vinaigrette, pickled radish and caviar sets the modernist tone, and could be followed by quail cooked gently sous-vide for 10 hours and partnered with pickled cucumber, apple and miso.

“Pork belly has had an even more sedate 54 hours and the balsamic vinegar it’s dressed in a hundred years, but rhubarb dessert is all stinging sharp freshness, with jam, jelly and roasted elements underpinned by chocolate and walnut delice and orange and thyme cream.”

The Good Food Guide is one of three nationally-recognised guides (Michelin and Harden’s being the others) that Whites currently features in and John is now hoping for more celebrations when the 2018 Michelin Guide is published next month.

“Michelin stars are the pinnacle for chefs and we would be lying if we pretended we weren’t keen to attain one, but as with all these things if you work hard, question yourself daily to achieve more and are single-minded in your approach, then you must put yourself on the right path.

“But the real challenge is exceeding the expectations of diners and making sure they feel the accolades we pick up are justified.”

John, 32, was born and lives locally and is very passionate about Beverley. “It’s a wonderful town and I wouldn’t now want to work anywhere else,” he said.

Before opening Whites, he gained experience at Winteringham Fields in North Lincolnshire, Gleneagles in Scotland, as well as helping establish a successful gastro pub in Cumbria and becoming a regional finalist of the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship.

“It was always my ambition to open my own place and give people a dining experience to remember. I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” he says.

Acclaimed food critic Jay Rayner is among a host of national newspaper journalists to wax lyrical about Whites, telling his readers: “It is the sort of smart if understated place that this country needs very badly.”