Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
2:38 PM 6th August 2020

Bill's Restaurant, York - Is It Top Of The Bill?

Our relationship with restaurants has changed: at one time there were so many to choose from, in fact we were spoilt but at the time we didn't know it.

Then came the dreaded pandemic, the hospitality sector suffered more than most. Looking around the centre of York I counted at least 8 restaurants that have closed down permanently due mostly to COVID 19, admittedly at least one was in trouble before the Lockdown started, but the rest now stand empty looking forlorn and unkempt.

Those that have survived we should be thankful for. Before it seemed so normal dining out, now it has become a novelty. Even the government has taken pity on the sector with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Mind you, why they launched it a few days after Boris decides that we are all too fat and an Obesity programme is on the way, seems to be in line with the rest of the government's organisation of dealing with the pandemic.

Bill's in the centre of York stands out as a beacon of hope. As soon as you get over the threshold your body temperature is taken as a sensor is held up by one of the staff, socially distanced of course, "37 degrees, that's fine" I am relieved to hear. My partner and I both passed the test and we are allowed in. It felt like being let into a secret club. The hand sanitiser impressed me, it is foot operated via a peddle so your hands can't spread any disease if it was a hand pump.

It is a large restaurant so that you can socially distance. The decor does indeed feel like you are inside a club with bookcases, wooden floors and chandeliers.

The menu when we dined was somewhat curtailed but the full menu is back as you read this. With the restaurant partaking in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme perhaps it is time to fill your boots, or in this case, fill your belly.

York Mini Cumberland SausagesYork Mini Cumberland Sausages
Crispy Chicken and Sesame DumplingsCrispy Chicken and Sesame Dumplings

Things started off well: the Mini Cumberland Sausages served with honey and grain mustard were a delight, maybe because I have not had a sausage for over 20 weeks, but my did they taste good. My partner thought the Crispy Chicken and Sesame Dumplings served with Bill's spicy chutney were tender and tasty.

Buttermilk Chicken Burger
Buttermilk Chicken Burger
I thought for my main I would indulge in the Buttermilk Chicken Burger that comes with rosemary salted fries priced at £12.50. I added smoked streaky bacon too and was even tempted to add the cheddar cheese but somehow cheese and chicken don't really mix.
I enjoyed it as it was tender and succulent and served hot too.

8ox Sirloin with Sweet Potato Fries
8ox Sirloin with Sweet Potato Fries
My partner dined on the 8oz Sirloin priced at £19.95 swapping to sweet potato fries. Now here comes the anomaly, why do you serve sweet potato fries sprinkled with salt? It didn't say on the menu that the fries would be salted. Not to add salt into the wound, restaurants right now need all the help they can get so if you want to taste the sweet taste instead of a savoury taste then I'm sure the restaurant would be happy to serve the fries as they should be.

Warm Gooseberry, Apple and Elderflower Crumble
Warm Gooseberry, Apple and Elderflower Crumble
My Warm Gooseberry, Apple and Elderflower Crumble came with hot custard and vanilla ice cream. It was good that they actually serve custard as so many restaurants seem to have an aversion to it these days. The whole dessert tasted delicious and was worth the long wait that the Lockdown imposed on us.

Warm Triple Chocolate Brownie
Warm Triple Chocolate Brownie
My partner tried the Warm Triple Chocolate Brownie that came served with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate flake. It must have been good as her plate was soon empty and she seemed to enjoy it more than her steak.

Service was quick and friendly but back to my original question, is Bill's in York top of the bill? The competition has been weakened somewhat and I am pleased to see that on our visit it was doing good business and deservedly so.

Bill's, 12 Coney Street, York YO1 9NA