For months I’ve been reading review after review harping on about an amazing restaurant on my doorstep, Skosh in York. Even the Simon Cowell of food critics Jay Rayner gave it a thumbs up. I’ve been desperate to try it for so long.
Alas it’s the school holidays and I have my kids with me.
A couple of days ago I met up with a friend from Canada who now runs a wildly popular blog called Baby & Life. It’s all about maintaining your pre baby lifestyle, post baby.
Today I took a leaf out of her book and decided to bite the bullet by taking my kids along to Skosh.
As I open the door I hide behind my Double Bugaboo, apologising,‘I’m, sorry, I’m not sure if I’m OK to bring kids…’ but before I can finish, a waiter is chirpily lugging my stroller through, while another is pushing a chair back for me.
Even before I start I know I’m onto a winner. As a parent I’ll try to list the reasons I love this place so much.
Not only does Skosh cater to allergies, the waiters are clued up. My kids are both cow’s milk intolerant and I ask for the dairy free options before I even sit down. It’s a ritual I’ve learnt the hard way. Normally the waiter looks at me annoyed, runs off to discuss with the chefs like a group of contestants in a TV game show and then returns with the wrong answer fifteen minutes later (eggs are not dairy FYI). Here at Skosh, Morgan (my waiter was so good I had to ask his name) runs through the menu ticking and crossing every dish without a flinch. He did it in a record five seconds I reckon.
While the restaurant is Scandi in style, it’s not intimidatingly clinical. The clatter of dishes from the open kitchen (almost) drowned out my kids’ tantrums. It’s laidback and small enough to make you feel at ease, but smart enough to make you realise you’re somewhere special.
The same could be said about the food, which after all, is the main star here. The dishes are complex enough that, unless you have a Michelin star to your name, you couldn’t prepare yourself at home, but simple enough to remain child friendly.
While my kids did turn their noses up to the seatrout, they argued over the rest. Yes, my kids argue a lot but this was different. My eldest can be a fussy eater, but today he dunked his pork and duck nuggets, eating goodbye to his three year sauce virginity.
Portions are ‘small plate’ size so it’s no big issue to try out lots of different dishes anyway. It’s a fusion of Middle Eastern and Asian which I normally hate, but here it works. The food is so good I could go on and on, but several food critics have done this already, so I’ll continue on the child friendliness.
After the food, the second most impressive item was the service. I could only spot two waiters and two chefs but somehow they managed to get postcard worthy dishes on the table in less time than it takes me to dial for takeaway.
Without any prompting and within seconds of sitting down, Morgan (I feel we were on first name terms) came over with some highlighters and paper to keep my kids entertained. Apart from the fluorescent tinge to my sourdough bread it worked a treat. Sometimes you don’t need fancy toys, you just want nice staff. I’ll even forgive them a lack of changing facilities. ‘Ah, nothing like a bit of chaos! Just like it should be!’ Morgan beamed, presenting my hollow legged toddler with seconds.
Skosh is not a children’s restaurant, it’s a hangout for foodies of all sorts. I spotted hipsters and business men, tourists and locals, mature ladies and young guys. I even nodded in acknowledgement to a couple with a baby.
Yes, it’s fine dining in that the food is damn fine, but it’s not gimmicky, it’s not showy and in any case, the prices don’t match. From £3 for the ‘hen’s egg’ to £15 for a whole roast quail, it’s such good value that you might even be put off giving it a try. But please do, it’s really good. If you’re a food loving expat in York for the weekend, whether you’ve got your kids with you or not, this is the place for you.
A Swiss Expater friend of mine only tips very modestly unless she wants to return. The most expensive item on our bill at Skosh was the tip I chose to leave. As we were leaving my son asked, ‘Mummy, puleeeeease, can we come again?’ Yes, darling, we can.