Nestled within the historic walls of York city centre, Arras is a refreshing addition to the city’s food scene and since opening in August 2017 has received critical acclaim, making its mark on Yorkshire’s foodie map.
The fine dining restaurant by Adam and Lovaine Humphrey was born and raised on Sydney’s sunny shores in 2007 and after a successful eight year tenure, during which the couple became well known faces on the Sydney food scene, the Humphreys decided to head home, bringing Arras with them.
Adam and Lovaine are a dream team when it comes to running restaurants, with Adam’s credentials in the kitchen and Lovaine an industry all-rounder. Adam has worked in kitchens around the world and his experiences are evident in playful international influences in his dishes. It was at the Castle Hotel in Taunton where he honed his skills under fellow Yorkshire man Richard Guest and met his now wife Lovaine.
Having started her hospitality career on the other side of the pass, Lovaine worked front of house at Bras, one of France’s most iconic restaurants, before progressing in the wine world and taking a role on the wine team at The Fat Duck. It was at the Castle where she donned her apron working alongside Adam in the kitchen. Now, at Arras, Adam is at the helm, while Lovaine is responsible for curating the impressive wine list and ensuring smooth sailing at all times. When not at Arras, the couple have their hands full with their young daughter!
With the York reincarnation still a young restaurant, Arras is thriving, delighting diners with thought provoking creations which take inspiration from the past, both British and from journeys afar. Each dish is borne from seasonality and celebrating quality ingredients at their time to shine, carefully crafted with a combination of classic and more modern techniques. The Daily (lunch) and Carte (dinner) menus offer an accessible approach to fine dining, priced for two or three courses rather than individual dishes. While the kitchen menu presents a daily changing five course tasting menu experience allowing Adam to flex his culinary muscles and experiment with new flavours as well as revisiting Arras classics from over the years.
On the menu this spring are hero dishes such as new season Jersey royals with seaweed butter, artichoke puree and mushroom alongside beef rump, warm root salad with pickled garlic and beef dripping vinaigrette for lunch. Dinner options include Burgundy style artichokes with mushroom, potato and walnuts to start and roast loin and confit belly of pork, pumpkin and black bean and braised shiitake and prawn sauce for main.Playful desserts include ‘Veiled Peasant Girls’; a caramelised apple terrine with milk mousse, oats and apple ice cream.
The devil is in the detail, and it’s the thoughtfully considered extras that complete the Arras experience. On arrival, all guests are welcomed with a selection of snacks and artisan bread which is baked on-site daily. Bread is a real passion of Adam’s and throws back to Arras Too bakery which was a sister to the Sydney restaurant, the couple plan to add a bakery to the York business in the near future.
For an additional course, the cheese trolley is not to be missed; the handmade Australian oak trolley is a vehicle for an exclusively British selection of cheeses. The trolley is commanded by Adam, who has not only handpicked each cheese to champion local producers and stars from around the UK, but also introduces and serves them at the table offering a unique meet and greet with the man behind the magic.
To finish, diners are presented with Arras’ show-stopping petit four tray, a custom-made striking orange platter delivers a vast array of homemade sweet treats including mini ice cream cones, sherbet dip lollies, jammy dodgers, chocolates and fudges and fizzy jellies – an unforgettable finale!
The Old Coach House