Terry’s Bar; Carluccio’s York

Last month, an invitation to the northern flagship store of Carluccio’s came my way.  Located on the premises of the legendary Terry’s chocolate shop and café on St Helen’s Square in York city centre, it is the largest and ‘most beautiful’ Carluccio’s restaurant to date.

Having already written about the Ilkley restaurant (purely because it happens to be our home town), I was inclined to turn down, however given the historical building that happens to be involved – accepted.

As part of the new site and exclusive to York, Carlucci’s have launched Terry’s Bar a new Italian cocktail and wine bar, it has undergone a detailed and meticulous refurbishment!  Sat supping our gin, we exchanged the thought that this doesn’t feel like a Carluccio’s… or indeed the UK for that matter – we could’ve be anywhere (and I like that!).

Recognise the dome above a la The Titanic movie?  Had we had more time, I would have taken more photos of the building because personally, that’s where the beauty lies.

Photo’s of other peoples’ food generally doesn’t interest me, so will keep these to a minimum.  Our hosts were excellent (Dominic and Sebastian are charm itself) though we had to wait half an hour for mains to be served which tarnished the evening somewhat having to promptly throw a spoonful or two of dessert down our necks before rushing out for the train.  Have fed this back to the team there who could only apologise – we’ve all been there, it happens!


Delays aside, will we return?  Absolutely (I have a thing for their paté)!  Most of you will know the Carluccio’s vibe so if you’re ever in York, would recommend a visit to this stunning building – if only for a G&T or two!



A Country Pub Lunch

There’s something quite comforting about going to a country pub for Sunday lunch.  The tradition of a roast, the smell of a roaring fire, no plans to hurry anywhere afterwards, it’s all rather a splendid affair and more so when it’s cold out!

Recently we visited The Dunsforth, a truly superb gastro-pub in North Yorkshire.    penultimatefullsizerender-4fullsizerender-214

The only pub in Yorkshire to hold a Michelin Bib Gourmand Award, owners Paul and Janine Cunliffe have a simple ethic of serving quality food using the best ingredients.  The proof is in the pudding (oh Dad joke, I’m sorry … do I leave it in?).


For me it all starts with the wine, a place has got to get their chardonnay right – it was perfect!  Four of us had three courses and other than the edge of the beef being a little tough, were completely satisfied.  The starters were incredible; my tomatoes with sorbet and goats cheese was delightfully unusual!




As you’ve probably gathered, I’m no food blogger, but us Braithwaite’s do enjoy our food and would absolutely return here owing to our excellent first visit.

You can visit The Dunsforth Website here (I think they’re developing a new one at present but the basic info’s there).







The Botanist York

If a Sunday well-spent brings a week of content, then The Botanist, York is the perfect setting.  Visitors to York will no doubt know of the iconic Mulberry Hall on Stonegate which closed earlier this year after 60 years of trading. The Botanist now sits on these premises in the beautiful 1943 building on one of the most picturesque cobbled streets in the city.

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Having seen friends’ shenanigans at the Leeds restaurant in my social media feeds, I was excited to be invited to the pre-opening launch of the York venue last week.
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The Botanist vibe is laid-back living.  Expect comfort-food classics accompanied by botanically-infused cocktails and beers whilst listening to live music sets; a country pub in the city if you will.  It’s the kind of place you forget the world outside as the hours while away… it’s ‘a third-place’, kind of place.

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Our food and drinks experience matched the setting.  There are few places we visit about which can be said “I wouldn’t change a thing” but The Botanist was an exception.  The cocktails and wines were amazing, every dish of our three-courses was bang-on (probably not a food writer term); the service, impeccable.  The hanging skewers shown (jerk salmon & lamb) are a Botanist signature dish we’re told, and they were something to brag about.  The prices are reasonable with starters from £4.95 and mains from £9.95.

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We’re already looking forward to returning, no doubt now there’s the Christmas Decorations up… (even more reason to go!)

When the composition of place, product and people is as well-matched as this, the result will always be a little bit special for those party to it.  One can only hope that everyone will have the same experience!

You can visit The Botanist Website here.

Out on a school night!


The Royal York Hotel

Situated next to the train station, The Royal York Hotel has always been a place we’ve walked past on the way to meeting family and friends in the city centre for a great day out.  Hotels are places to stay and if you’re not going to be staying (or having a meeting), then there’s no reason to enter, right?

Time to change that old way of thinking…

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The Grade II listed building has undergone a £15 million refurbishment; I was invited for afternoon tea and promptly fell in love with the place.

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Recognised as one of the most architecturally significant railway hotels in the country (formerly The Royal Station Hotel), whilst the iconic exterior hasn’t changed much, the inside has undergone a rather epic transformation thanks to interior architects Goddard Littlefair.

Not only has it been both restored and modernised, but a new bar (Chapter House) and restaurant (Refectory Kitchen & Terrace) have been created.  These two destination concepts will attract new business, ours included.

Whilst I could tell you about the afternoon tea we were invited to taste,  I’d rather show you what really made us linger longer: the interior decor.

The sheer size of the building naturally lends itself to a lofty grandeur but the design aspects and furnishings incorporated with the refurbishing have taken 4 Star Luxury to another level.

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Having not seen the ‘before’ I am relying on my Mothers’ word who tells me ‘it was all dark wood everywhere’.  The photos below show the ‘Garden Room’; the afternoon tea takes place in here – the colour palette which adorns the Victoria architecture is perfectly balanced.  Sage greens, softest greys and mauves’ accents of aged metallic’s and crushed velvets cohere without competing.

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The afternoon tea was lovely and staff knew the menu inside out; however the most memorable food was the plate of savoury appetisers.  The detail in the flavours was exquisite.  What followed by way of the three-tier plate of sandwiches, scones and sweets, was too nondescript for my taste-buds.

As we sat among a low-level of hubbub, looking out over beautiful gardens onto York Minster, we couldn’t help thinking how calm and relaxed it was.  We settled we’d rather that any day than queuing round the block as you might do in other well-known tea rooms.

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We finished with a cup of hand-picked Jasmine tea from China, then took to exploring the hotels quiet luxury further.

A rather grand staircase ascends to the 159 bedrooms which have all been refurbished.  Whilst we didn’t get to see the rooms, a fellow blogger has, visit Pouting in Heels’ Post to see the rooms here. The Royal Hotel York 27The Royal Hotel York 23The Royal Hotel York 28The Royal Hotel York 19The Royal Hotel York 22

Things we noted; the staff were truly excellent and there was no sense of snobbery about the place.  Some places you go and you’re not sure if it’ll accommodate everyone?… The Royal, not so – we felt right at home.

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Chapter House bar and games room is open daily serving hot and cold drinks.  Bar nibbles indulge in British classics such as black pudding sausage roll with HP Sauce, Fountains Gold toast with Branston, and Bridlington scampi with tartare sauce.

The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace (below) can be seen round to the left as soon as you exit the train station doors. It’s a fabulous space, seating 126 indoors with a further 35 covers outdoors… we picked up a menu and have already seen ourselves dining here in Summer… all we need now is the weather!

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Will we return to The Royal York?  Most definitely.  Away from the bustle of the city, it will be the perfect place to get lunch and drinks in the most beautiful surroundings.  I hope the hotel will continue to see much success and a return for the sizeable investment.  Visit the hotel website here.


Behind the scenes...

Caught in the act – behind the scenes.



North Star Club

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The North Star Club is THE name in ‘Boutique Woodland Breaks’.  If you’re not familiar  with the term,  don’t worry – neither was I till North Star popped up in my Instagram feed (yet another triumph for social media as if we needed proof it works!) and I was instantly curious.

The accommodation is luxury woodland cabins in an area of forest just outside York and is quite unlike anything else.  As fate would have it, North Star Club and I contacted each other on the same day and it wasn’t long before we were booking a pre-Christmas stay.

North Star Club 2North Star Club 48North Star has created a new genre of accommodation for those wanting a cosy get-away.  It invites you to be amongst the outdoors, whilst being several echelons up the glamping ladder (which they also invented – a la ‘Jolly Days Glamping‘).  We invited the whole family (as you do), who don’t live to far away and thus began Christmas week early.

The careful thought to detail, the decorative flourishes and the feeling of ‘fit’ are what makes this place.  Beautiful wreaths adorn the doors, there are furs everywhere and more fairy lights than leaves!  I’d done my homework before we left and knew the designers Mr & Mrs Van Outersterp were award multi-award winning designers ~ it shows.

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Our cabin had a large covered porch with table and chairs and a large gas BBQ.  The first day there was so mild (for December) we were able to sit out and appreciate this space.  The second day was much colder which forced us all indoors hence, Spring thru Autumn months you’d really be able to enjoy this ‘room’ outdoors.

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Breakfast; ham and brie croissants with red-currant and ruby port sauce.  Easiest to make and so tasty!  The BBQ had a lid so they cooked in minutes and I’d taken disposable trays too so zero cleaning!

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In through the front door was a small room with table, two chairs and a good-sized little fridge ↓, we hadn’t expected any crockery (as the website clearly states not self-catering) so had taken our own but on arrival found out there was no need.  They provide it all.  This room also had a sofa bed that slept two people.

The accommodation slept 6 in total.  The sofa bed, a twin room, and the heart of the cabin – the Master Bedroom.  This was GORGEOUS, had a wood-burning stove we kept lit all day and really was the room we all hung out in.  The cabin managed to swallow varying combinations of 11 of us (some family came to hang out during the days).  My point… quarters are not cramped!

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Off the master bedroom was a bathroom almost as big.  One of the facilities North Star offers is pre-bookable Spa treatments within the comfort of your bathroom… bliss!

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Away from the cabins are some great communal spaces.  The fire pit was lovely to take the kids to and simply sitting watching the flames whilst toasting marshmallows was magic.  The Woodshed is a stones-throw and has seating and tables outside around a pizza stove.  Our first night we ate pizzas here it was so mild and the additional space was perfect for the younger children.
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Inside the Woodshed … well the pictures can do the talking!

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The North Star Club is a definite recommend! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would love to return.

Visit the North Star Club website here, they have some fantastic images and more information about the various lodges guests can stay in.


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What about the Food?  When you click on the ‘FOOD’ tab of the North Star Club website, you are directed towards local restaurants.  North Star state they are ‘not self-catering’ yet you are provided you with all the means to do so.  No pun intended but there is everything apart from the kitchen sink (you wash your pots in the bathroom).  As mentioned earlier, there was crockery and cutlery for six people, there was a washing up bowl with liquid, the BBQ was gas so cooking was good-to-go and trays and pans were available in the Woodshed… the ‘small fridge’ was a very decent size and we ate completely self-catered.

To us it was a ‘plus’ but couldn’t help thinking if it was better explained on the website, people might be encouraged to stay who otherwise wouldn’t if they felt they were going to have to eat out every meal.

UPDATE: 7th Jan 2.45pm Since posting this morning, I have heard from North Star who are firstly thrilled with the post and second, have said “the camp staff are meant to take away dirty pots as they have a washing area so that guests aren’t washing in their bathrooms – of which we are going to make this clearer going forward.”.  This is good news and now makes complete sense, self-cater and prosper folks!

Jamie’s Italian York

When Jamie’s Italian asked me if I’d like to visit their restaurant in York, it didn’t take much time to consider.  Though I have known about Jamie’s in Leeds and more recently, Harrogate, we still had not eaten there…why?  I think it’s a case of ‘go with what you’ know but as you may be able to guess from the recent blog posts, now my little lady is growing up, exploring new places whilst eating out more has been something we’ve enjoyed doing this summer.

Jamie’s, York, is tucked away down the very historic slope to Lendal Cellars… we did not know there was a courtyard there so were delighted to find out we could sit outdoors as the day was hot and we wanted to soak up as much of the sun as we could (we are at the back-end of a poor-weather Summer lets face it!)

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What followed was a dining experience that surpassed all our expectations.

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Cured meats plank – starter

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Seasonal vegetables plank – starter

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Roasted heritage carrot and avocado salad – starter

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Maisy looked after us ⇑, she not only knew her food but was quietly enthusiastic about it (seemed only right she should be the face of this post).  The other staff we encountered were warm and friendly and each we spoke to seemed ‘switched on’ to delivering not just a great meal but CUSTOMER SERVICE – it makes such a difference!

The food was delightfully different – (seems such an average term for what we ate) but by that I mean, it wasn’t just same dish, different name.  The food collaborations that were clearly well thought, tasted amazing and what one knows of Jamie Oliver, trusted that it had most likely been sourced locally following the ethos of all that Jamie Oliver stands for…. just guessing!

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The special of the day – slow cooked beef

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Salmon salad

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In her own words, this was exquisite

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My superfood salad with chicken – starter size as a mains, more than enough!

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Miss P’s happy chicken lollipops – she LOVED!

Though we had three courses, in the middle of the day, none of us felt ‘stuffed’ – which is always good when you want to try the next course!

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The industrially warm decor was everything you’d expect if you’ve at all watched Jamie Oliver on TV – the presence of the man himself is felt everywhere and fans can take home a piece of the action!

By the time desserts had arrived, the sun had also and we all wished we didn’t have to be elsewhere quite so soon!

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Raspberry and honeycomb pavlova

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Miss P’s epic brownie (I had the adult size too so can confirm – it was amazing!)

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Amalfi lemon meringue cheesecake

As we settled the bill and walked back up into the street, we agreed that a new bench-mark had been set.  That we might just have found ourselves a new favourite… time will tell.

You can visit Jamie’s Italian York website here.

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Miss P and I shared this experience with LIFESTYLE YORKSHIRE’S biggest fans, my parents – both great with a camera!  Photographs have therefore been taken on the same camera but by myself, them and Miss P!  I managed to whittle 160+ images down to the few selected here and was interesting seeing what we all captured.

The Star Inn The City

Late 2013 The Star Inn The City opened on the bank of The River Ouse in York.  Sourcing most of their produce from Yorkshire, we had to check it out in its first week of opening and were wowed.  Andrew Pern has created a masterpiece.

It has since been a first ‘port of call’ of the day to any outing to York and last week we returned once more on a family birthday for their divine waffles and pancakes with coffee.

You will love the country decor; clever touches here and there that simply make you smile.  It has the feel of home away from holiday home… log-fires, home-cooked food like the kind some clever member of your family cooks on special occasions (if you’re lucky!)  It is light, airy and spacious so you have room to go and be yourself.

We have yet to experience it in summer, when the decking overlooking the river will provide a glorious setting for chilled afternoon drinks; yet to taste lunch or evening meal.  But all in good time,  I get the feeling The Star Inn the City will be in the City of York for many more visits.

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