Pearly Cow York

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Ian Jones

Pearly Cow is the in-house restaurant for the No.1 By Guesthouse hotel, a Grade II-listed Regency townhouse a short peaceful walk from the city centre. Fittingly, for the grand old place of York, it has a rather regal feel – high ceilings, elegant fixtures and stunning natural light. Unsurprisingly, this York branch (there’s another one, down in dear old Margate) has rightly received much critical acclaim since opening in spring 2023. 

Foodwise, it’s all about seasonality, and that means a compact, self-assured menu. Start with an oyster, hell, make it two. The tempura North Sea oyster is full of out-of-the-ordinary flavours – think curry, aioli and nori seaweed – that combine wonderfully. A non-tempura oyster shall never pass my lips again. 

Pearly part done, time now for cow, from the small-plates-slash-starter section of the menu. And it’s not just any cow, this is 45-day aged fillet of beef tartare, topped with a swirl of oyster cream, which in turn is topped with some Exmoor caviar. On the side, charred sourdough, and a chunk of bone, packed with rich, whipped, onion-boosted bone marrow. It’s the ultimate union of British countryside and coast, and all meat-eaters should try this at least once. 

Fancy something dramatic? The Arlington egg and asparagus dish is a work of art, for both optics and tastebuds. The egg – sourced from the nation’s happiest, most free-roaming hens – uses delicate strands of fried potato to encase the perfectly runny egg, tulip-style, with slender shavings of asparagus, mixed with black truffle, artfully surrounding the lot. From taste to texture to colour, it’s a dish that defines springtime. 

It’s difficult to pass up on a steak, but what could be more seasonal than rack and shoulder of Yorkshire lamb? Both portions of meat are rich and juicy, but it’s the inspired addition of heritage tomatoes and broad beans in a tangy jus that makes this dish sing.

If there’s a better lamb dish in Yorkshire/Lancashire, I’ll eat my (cricket) bat

At first glance, it seems like a fairly straightforward plate, but the sky-high quality of each element, the precise balance of flavours and, of course, the expert cooking elevate it into something truly remarkable. It’s an outstanding showcase of the great British countryside, and if there’s a better lamb dish in Yorkshire/Lancashire, I’ll eat my (cricket) bat. 

That’s not to do down the John Dory. It acts as a lighter, more gentle contrast to the earthy lamb dish, with two impressively thick fillets of white fish, resting on an array of bright, saffron-infused potatoes, plus a welcome hint of light liquorice aromas from the fennel. 

The sticky toffee pudding souffle takes 20 minutes to prep, with a little note on the menu stating “worth waiting for,” and while no one likes being told how to think, they’re not wrong. It’s the superpowered twin of the classic sticky-yet-stodgy toffee pudding, that manages to retain all the flavour while simultaneously being light, airy and an utterly perfect way to end any meal. Don’t listen to the bean counters over at Sticky Toffee Pudding HQ, this, my sweet-toothed friends, is the definitive version. And yes, I do intend to take this matter to Parliament. 

Pearly Cow York

It’s an unusual moniker, but the name Pearly Cow sums it up perfectly: meat and seafood, celebrating the Yorkshire Dales and the North Sea, respectively. Within those parameters, you’ll find fantastic dishes that range from time-honoured to truly innovative, in one of York’s most relaxing and beautiful dining spaces. The British Isles have never tasted so good. 

1 CliftonYork YO30 6AA View map
Telephone: 01904 946299 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Monday7:00am - 9:00pm
  • Tuesday7:00am - 9:00pm
  • Wednesday7:00am - 9:00pm
  • Thursday7:00am - 9:00pm
  • Friday7:00am - 9:00pm
  • Saturday8:00am - 9:00pm
  • Sunday8:00am - 8:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

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