water pumped and filtered from its own borehole, water rich in iron, sulphur and common salt.
After an insane festive period there was a continuation of excitement entering the first weekend of 2018 with the knowledge that Rudding Park was firmly booked in the diary.
It’s a location that’s donned my ‘want to go’ list for sometime based purely on it’s culinary reputation, but now with the added attraction of a brand new state of the art £9.5m spa development, Rudding Park becomes irresistible.
Whilst Spa’s have enjoyed a resurgence in recent times, few can boast that firstly they are located in Harrogate, a town once known as ‘The English Spa’ but more recently as ‘The happiest place to live in Britain’ and secondly that the Rudding Park water is pumped and filtered from its own borehole, water rich in iron, sulphur and common salt.
Packages at Rudding Park are available from as little as £46 per person and include arrival drinks, afternoon snacks and the use of the spa facilities, a full range of spa treatments are also available at additional cost.
It’s true that 3 hours of absolute relaxation, doing nothing other than walking from steam room to sauna to swimming pool to hot tub is hard work (tong in cheek) and therefore what we need is a dinning experience similar in grandeur to the one we’ve just experienced in the Rudding Park Spa.
Luckily, located in the spa building is Horto, a 3 AA Rosette modern contemporary restaurant with a brigade of chefs lead by Head Chef Murray Wilson (BBC Masterchef the Professionals 2008) and sous chef Callum Bowmer (BBC Masterchef the Professionals 2017)
The 8 course tasting menu is priced at £79 per person at the weekends with a slightly smaller but still extensive 6 course tasting menu priced at £64 per person, a drinks pairing package is available with all menu’s.
Whilst the menu we enjoy maybe minimalistic is description, that’s certainly not the case in terms of flavour:
Sole – Oyster, Parsley, Sprouts
Chicken – Vegetable a la grecque, brioche
Scallop – Potato, Potato, Bacon
Pork – Celeriac, Apple
Galician Beef – bordelaise
Pear – Ginger, Maple
Chocolate – Clementine, Blood Orange
Before I explain the awesomeness of this menu, let me first make it clear that finding a consistent tasting menu in which quality, detail and excitement runs throughout each and every course is almost impossible, I appreciate that a menu’s appeal is personal but I can confidently say that up until visiting Horto Restaurant I have never experienced a tasting menu in which each and every course as kept my attention from beginning to end.
So with that bomb shell dropped let me tell you that this is the finest tasting menu that I can remember, each and every course was outstanding, yes I used the O word, outstanding, and whilst I’d love to write about each and every course, google analytics tell’s me that chances of keeping your attention in today’s age when concentration levels are on average 8 seconds are slim to none so instead I’ll pick out the very best courses.
Firstly the Sole! What a dish, who knew firstly that a sprout could taste so good and secondly that it could accompany fish so well, the oyster parsley sauce is bold in flavour and compliments the fish beautifully, whilst I’d never buy this pricer flat fish to cook myself in fear of ruining it, cooked right it’s truly amazing, what a dish.
Whilst we’re on the theme of the sea (incidentally somebody told me this week; if it swims it slims) we may as well talk about the Scallop, it’s absolutely impossible for any imagery I took to fully compliment this dish purely because it’s hidden, the freshest plumpest scallop covered with an aerated emulsion of phenomenal flavour and topped with a bacon crumb that’s gone through some sort of impressive scientific experimentation before hitting your plate, this is a dish that most could only dream of replicating.
When the words that match the acronym OMG leave my mouth with every taste of this dish you know your eating at the very highest level.
Hands up, who knows what Galician Beef is? Certainly not the ‘Geordie’ diner sitting on the table adjacent to us who grabbed my attention across the restaurant and mouthed the words “is your beef tough?” whilst I appreciate where she’s coming from she’s allowing the different texture of this awesome piece of beef to cloud her judgment, I’m guessing she was expecting British fillet steak!
Galician Beef is in actual fact the OAP of the Spanish beef community, it’s the beef from cow’s that are much older than the cattle used to produce British Beef, and as with most things, age brings maturity, and maturity brings flavour and I mean serious amounts of flavour, imagine the beefiest crisps you’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring and you’ll still not be close, match that with a French Bordelaise sauce and you have a dish of epic proportions.
Pear Ginger & Maple, need I say anymore? I will, wow!! Whilst this is a light dessert the flavour that the three key ingredients produce give a sense of something far heavier, it delivers a memorable experience that signals the beginning of the end of what has been a truly outstanding culinary as well as relaxing experience at the iconic Rudding Park Estate.
Would I recommend a visit? Come on, you’ve just read the highest praise I could possibly give, need I spell it out?
Horto Restaurant at Rudding Park | Rudding Lane | Harrogate | HG3 1LL
Phone: 01423 871350