‘Phenomenal!’ York restaurant becomes the first in the city to be awarded a Michelin star

25 Jan 2021 @ 7.47 pm
| Food & drink

In the words of the man who made it happen, it is a ‘phenomemal’ achievement.

Roots York tonight became the first restaurant in York to be awarded a coveted Michelin star.

The team said they were “absolutely thrilled and honoured” by the news.

Tommy Banks and his family only launched the restaurant in September 2018 alongside friend and restaurateur, Matthew Lockwood.

And now it has a star in this year’s Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland.

“I am really proud to be the first restaurant in York to win a star. It’s a testament to the team’s hard work and hope it shines a spotlight on the diverse food and drink scene in York,” said Tommy.

The city’s premiere food writer Ben Thorpe, of York On A Fork, paid tribute.

“It’s hugely exciting for York to see its first recipient of a Michelin star, especially after such a bleak period for the hospitality industry,” Ben said.

“There are several restaurants in York that are truly exceptional and deserve many accolades but Roots has really upped its game under head chef Sean Wrest over the last year.

“I’m very glad it was the last place I ate before this lockdown!”

‘Developed and evolved’

Heavenly food… Photograph: Roots York on Facebook

Housed in the former Bay Horse pub on Marygate, the restaurant serves a tasting menu (starting at £95pp) designed and executed by head chef Sean Wrest, alongside Tommy.

It reflects each of the growing groups as defined in Tommy’s cookbook, Roots, and includes; The Preservation Season, The Hunger Gap and The Time of Abundance, while also showcasing the current harvest from the Banks’ family farm.

Home to Roots… the old Bay Horse on Marygate. Photograph: YorkMix

Michelin has also bestowed its sister restaurant, The Black Swan Oldstead, with its new sustainability emblem – a green four-leaf clover – which recognises sustainable gastronomy and distinguishes restaurants taking responsibility in the conversation of resources and the protection of biodiversity.

Roots York “has certainly developed and evolved since launching in September 2018,” Tommy said.

“We set off with lots of different ideas – some stayed, others didn’t. A few things have remained a constant; our commitment to local producers and self-sufficiency, as well as one day reaching Michelin potential.

“This year has undoubtedly been a challenging one but it has shown us more than ever before the value of what we have on our doorstep here in Yorkshire – amazing suppliers, a fantastic team and phenomenal produce.”