Legacy, a small and intimate space that serves a tasting menu for passionate foodies, opened its doors to much fanfare a year ago in the Grand Hotel, the former railway headquarters at Station Rise.
Reflecting on his time at the helm, Chef Ahmed Abdalla said: “It’s amazing to see how things have gone over the last year, we just seem to be getting stronger and stronger.”
“August was the busiest month we have had since opening, with record numbers of bookings. We get a lot of foodies from all over the country visiting us.”
“I think what really sets us apart is staying in this fantastic property and the intimate feeling.
“From October we will be extending our opening hours and will open from Wednesday to Sunday from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. from October 1st.”
In July, Michelin-starred chef Kevin Bonello from Malta joined the Grand after a career as a chef spanning more than 20 years.
Before joining the Grand, he spent 21 years as culinary director at Xara Collection, a hotel and hospitality business in the Maltese Islands, working with the likes of Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay.
“There’s no doubt it’s a tough industry,” Kevin said.
“But it’s so much fun, especially meeting the customers, I like the one-on-one conversations and getting to know people.”
“York is a beautiful place and Legacy has become a destination in its own right.”
During his time at Xara, Kevin played a critical role in enhancing the culinary offering and establishing Xara Collection as a leading hotel brand. His team was awarded a Michelin star – one of only five restaurants in Malta to receive this award.
He said he had hopes for Legacy, which has already been featured in the Michelin Guide – and followed suit: “We will always strive for it, it’s not easy but it’s not impossible.”
The Grand’s bars, restaurants and cooking school employ about 90 people. The brand works closely with York and Doncaster colleges to develop new talent.
Kevin said: “There is a shortage of qualified staff, you need to find and nurture the younger generation. I was brought up to live for work and I used to work long hours but that doesn’t work anymore – “You have to find the right balance and the industry has to adapt and change.”
To celebrate Legacy’s first anniversary, The Press was invited by Ahmed and his team to try out the experience, so we joined the guests on a fully booked Saturday evening.
We tried the eight-course tasting menu priced at £120 with wine pairings starting at £60 per person and drinks selected and poured by restaurant manager and sommelier Derek Scaife.
The event began with a glass of crisp English sparkling wine accompanied by a trio of beautifully presented and delicious mini starters.
The starters were in addition to the eight courses that followed and at the end of the evening, when we thought we were overloaded, we were served an excellent cheese plate.
Derek poured specially selected wines with each course, which began with a Parkerhouse bun served with delicious goat cheese and chive and dill butter.
My partner chose the vegetarian menu and while I ate the Whitby crab he was served honey glazed carrots with sea buckthorn and crispy buckwheat.
The incredibly delicious crab was accompanied by avocado, calamansi (a type of lime) and apple, with the fruity flavors permeating the shellfish perfectly. You couldn’t miss the carrots either – drizzled with honey harvested from the hotel’s own beehive on the hotel grounds.
The following courses proceeded at a steady pace, giving us plenty of time to enjoy and marvel at the flavors. I tried lobster ravioli while spring pea tortellini was served on the other side of the table.
The ravioli consisted of a clam chowder with bok choy and fennel, while the tortellini contained a watercress soup, onions and spinach. Both types of pasta were melt in the mouth and mine was perfect for lovers of all things seafood.
Next we both enjoyed salt baked celeriac and while I had my next fish option – BBQ caught bass – zucchini roulade with dill and smoked tahini was served from the vegetarian menu.
Next up for both of us were the stars of the show. For me, spring Yorkshire lamb and the vegetarian BBQ Hen of the Woods – mushroom ketchup and cordyceps.
The lamb was just perfect, served with juicy aubergine, lemon yoghurt and tarragon, whilst the mushroom cocktail was by far my partner’s favourite.
We ended the evening with Annabel’s Strawberry, accompanied by the Grand’s own honey and a revolutionary basil ice cream – something I had never seen before and was to die for – which went perfectly with the strawberry pud and was a real crescendo.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more, we were served a cheese plate with homemade crackers and their home-grown honey.
It rounded off the evening perfectly and set us on our way after a truly enjoyable evening.
Find out more at thegrandyork.co.uk/legacy
https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/23774316.legacy-grand-york-celebrates-first-anniversary/?ref=rss Legacy at The Grand, York celebrates one year anniversary