Popular York restaurant rebrands as ale house and bistro

22 Oct 2014 @ 5.27 pm
| Food & drink

One of York’s best known places to eat, Meltons Too, has a new name and a different feel.

It is now called Walmgate Ale House And Bistro. Downstairs becomes more of a rustic pub, while upstairs serves up the seasonal food the venue is known for.

Although the name change and much of the transformation is complete, there is more work to be done and the official launch isn’t until November 4.

Ale change… the new look

Still owned by Michael and Lucy Hjort, Walmgate Ale House And Bistro will make more of the 17th century property’s history.

For many years it was home to Ellerkers, selling rope and saddlery. Ropes are decorating the ceiling, while photographs and posters relating to the building’s past are being dotted around the walls.

A greater emphasis on the history of the Grade II property will encourage more tourists to visit, as sometimes they consider Walmgate to be “on the fringes” of the city, Michael said.

So why the change?

“Meltons Too was always designed to be a bar underneath a bistro,” said Michael, who also runs the York Food And Drink Festival.

“But the bar element has been viewed people as a restaurant bar – somewhere to have a gin and tonic before dining.”

Transforming the downstairs into an ale house will make it more obviously a pub. “People can come in for a drink and then go for a meal at any other restaurant – or simply come here for a beer.”

With six draught real ales on the bar – all from Yorkshire – as well lager and cider, there are plenty of reasons to go there for a drink.

The venue has long held a licence till 1am. Whereas in the past the bistro tended to close after the last diners left, now the pub area will open till 11pm.

Home made bar snacks

Unusually, much of the bar food will be made in house, from scotch eggs to pork scratchings.

“We’re not growing our own olives,” Michael joked. “But by and large the English pub food – sausage rolls, potted fish, pulled pork sandwiches, will be home made.”

Upstairs, the bistro will have a menu based very much on the dishes which made Meltons Too so popular. And the seasonal celebrations of seafood and game will continue.

The bistro will also serve brunch each weekend and Sunday lunch from 12pm.

As well as a refurbished bar area and new bathrooms, the other big change is the redesigned loft which can host large parties.

Meltons, the original fine dining restaurant on Scarcroft Road, will continue unchanged. One reason for the rebrand is to end the occasional confusion between the two eateries, which would see tourists turn up at the wrong venue.

Michael and Lucy bought 25 Walmgate in 2000, two years after Ellerkers moved out. They have run it since 2001.