Around 1650, metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell wrote that he ‘by the tide of Humber would complain’; in 2016 there’s not much complaining to be done on either of the riverbanks – at least where food is concerned.
This much overlooked city is currently gearing up for what’s set to be a blockbuster of a year in 2017. After being granted City of Culture status in 2013, Hull has been brought to public attention for all the right reasons. Once the stomping ground of William Wilberforce, Andrew Marvell, Amy Johnson and Philip Larkin, the city is packed with character, culture and a Yorkshire grit all of its own. Head over to the Hull Truck Theatre, an intimate venue, where you can take in some first-rate theatre. Close by, the Ferens Art Gallery will host the 2017 Turner Prize. Make sure to check out the recent acquisition of Lorenzetti’s 14th century masterpiece ‘Christ Between Saint Paul and Saint Peter’, and works by Hockney and Canaletto. If all that culture’s a bit much for you, you can always see the world’s largest Yorkshire pudding factory!
In the run-up to 365 fun-filled days of culture, we’ve put together our top-picks for dining in ‘Ull and the surrounding areas.
This dockside gem successfully fuses the best of East Yorkshire and Italy, offering friendly service and top-notch cuisine in attractive surroundings. Proudly situated in Warehouse 13 on the historic marina, Al Porto’s interior is stylish and packed with character – think mood lighting, cast iron pillars and exposed brickwork. Perfect for a drink with friends, a lunch meeting or a romantic evening meal, Al Porto is a dynamic and versatile venue. Be sure to try the fresh, homemade pasta and the trio di condivisione carne piatto, a sharing platter of delicious meats. To top it all off, it’d be criminal to leave without trying the sublime tiramisu!
This award-winning pub, nestled in the heart of Hull’s old town close to the museum quarter and Holy Trinity Church, is bursting with character. It boasts a seriously impressive selection of local ales and some of the friendliest staff you could hope to find. In light of their passion for quality beer, the team created The Hull Ale Trail, a tour around some of the oldest and best pubs in the old town. Whilst you’re relaxing, drink in hand, check out all the old advertising memorabilia that adorns the cosy interior. Their globally-inspired menu is no less impressive than their drinks list, and word on the street is that their fish and chips are not to be missed.
Occupying a prime position on the bustling quayside, bistro-bar Leonardo’s is something of a local legend. Owned by Lee, Jackie, Guy and Sam since 2012, the restaurant is the proud recipient of the 2014 Hull Business Development Award. Take a pew outside when the weather warms up and make the most of the pretty waterfront setting by dining al fresco from the tempting traditional menu. Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Leonardo’s is bound to put a smile on your face. A trip here on a Wednesday is bound to brighten up your working week; some cracking live music is scheduled every single week. Be sure to book ahead though – Leonardo’s is, unsurprisingly, very popular!
Fancy dining in one of the UK’s biggest and best aquariums? The Two Rivers Restaurant is located in the middle of the award-winning The Deep, and is undoubtedly a unique dining experience in the city. Family-friendly, this restaurant is bound to be a hit with young and old; where else could you dine in front of a shark? This venue is ideal for a special family occasion, a celebratory meal or a romantic rendezvous for two. The menu revolves around local, sustainably sourced produce, giving a Yorkshire twist to Mediterranean dishes. In between courses, take a wander around the exhibits and marvel at the creatures of the deep. A word to the wise – book ahead to ensure you get a table next to the tanks.
Street food can be difficult to do right, especially when high-street leviathans are muscling their way into business. Thankfully Hull has got Dope Burger who know how to do things properly. This joint has been garnering something of a cult following since opening. Each burger is made to order and could well be one of the best burgers you’ve ever had. Try the black & blue burger, packed with blue cheese and black treacle, or the smoked Dope burger with maple bacon, cheese and Baconnaise. Although it’s a meat-eater’s paradise, veggies are catered for with a delicious homemade spiced black bean and chickpea burger. Add some of their sweet potato fries onto that and you’ve got a winner.
A short drive north of Hull is the pretty market town of Beverley. Dominated by its majestic minster and flanked by the Westwood – open parkland where cattle and sheep graze freely – this town has its own fair share of gastronomic delights.
Cosmo’s Flaming Grill Bar & Restaurant is a newbie to Beverley’s culinary scene and is already taking on the giants of the high-street. Located on the corner of the attractive Wednesday Market square, Cosmo’s is a stylish and spacious venue perfect for a light bite or a filling evening meal. The chicken, marinated in their special piri-piri sauce for 24 hours, is delicious, and the seafood risotto and 10oz rib-eye steak are superb. Cosmo’s is already earning an enviable reputation for the stellar service and friendly staff, who’re happy to suggest a dish or a drink from the extensive menu. Top tip: take advantage of the special offers on Wednesdays, when the superb cocktails are only £3.95!
From the town centre head through North Bar, an historic gate dating from the 12th century, and travel out towards the Westwood. It’s here that you’ll find Westwood Restaurant, tucked inside a Georgian courthouse. Though the façade may be old, this restaurant is bang up to date. The elegant surroundings perfectly complement the menu which is simple, stylish and utterly satisfying. Twins Matthew and Michele Barker are the partnership and passion behind the business, whose passion and dedication have made Westwood a jewel in the region’s restaurant scene. Expect superb-quality meat, beautifully-presented dishes and first-rate service. It’s not hard to see why it was voted one of the top 100 restaurants in the UK.
If it’s fine dining you’re after, you really can’t miss out on visiting Hide Restaurant at Tickton Grange, just outside Beverley. This family-owned Georgian hotel, surrounded by four acres of gardens, woodland and meadows, is a very special place to be. The elegant, award-winning restaurant is named Hide, which is a nod to the owner’s family history of working with leather. The talented chefs work closely with the wealth of Yorkshire artisan producers to create simply wonderful food. It’s the perfect backdrop for anything from afternoon tea outside under the cherry blossom and casual gatherings with friends by the fire in the library, to weddings and private dining.
From your sojourn in Hull, take a stroll across the Humber Bridge – the impressive suspension bridge connecting nearby Hessle with Barton-upon-Humber. Once called the eighth wonder of the world, it’s the longest suspension bridge crossable by foot in the world, and has enough cable to wrap around the Earth twice. No doubt the hop from Yorkshire to Lincolnshire will have worked up an appetite – sate that grumbling tummy with some delicious food, south bank-style.
Whilst strolling across the bridge you’ll see The Old Tile Works long before you reach it. Recently refurbished after flooding, The Old Tile Works offers a relaxing dining experience as well as a great morning out. The adjoining Artisan Village houses some of the local area’s best talent and is the perfect spot to watch the master potter at work, or pick up a bespoke piece for your house. Early birds can enjoy the full Lincolnshire breakfast in the attractive, cosy interior. Those with a larger appetite should tuck into The Tile Works Aberdeen Angus burger at lunch, and if it’s just a slice of cake and a cup of tea you’re after you’ll be well catered for.
In the evening, make a bee-line for The Surma, a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. The talented team here create amazing Indian and Bangladeshi dishes and serve them in contemporary surroundings. Guests are warmly welcomed by the professional team, and will leave feeling like old friends. Classic dishes are executed perfectly, and there’re plenty of new dishes to try for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The spices used are expertly blended, and are showcased in dishes like the apna gosht and Surma Tandoori chicken. Takeaways don’t get much better than those from The Surma and are excellent value for money.
From culture to cuisine, Hull and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. Check out the events on offer in the run-up to 2017 here and you’re bound to find something that’s just your cup of tea. It’s true what they say – it really is never dull in Hull!