Looking for restaurants in Harrogate? Read our review of Horto, and check out more restaurants in Yorkshire here.
Horto in a nutshell
Rudding Park’s kitchen garden-led pop-up has found a permanent home in the country hotel’s smart spa.
What’s the vibe?
Horto sits in Rudding Park’s swish spa, so expect guests to pad past the large glass doors in robes and slippers on their way to the rooftop pool. The restaurant maintains its relaxed, funky vibe from its pop-up days – a contemporary fireplace sits below a bold, neon canvas, mustard chairs and teal blue velvet booths beckon punters from the bar, and flashes of florals creep in to complement the garden view.
What’s the food like?
Head chef Murray Wilson works closely with gardener Adrian Reeve to conjure up a seven-course tasting menu based around what’s in season. There’s an a la carte option also, should you wish to enjoy heartier portions (with the added pull of sides such as wrinkly, skin-on new potatoes and garden brassica in a soy dressing).
Start by slathering roast chicken butter onto stout and treacle brioche, and popping elegant cacao spheres into your mouth, bursting with a surprising but delicious oyster emulsion. Loch Fyne scallops sat on a bed of crunchy potato cubes and the sweetest peas, pulled together with an umami-rich chicken and truffle velouté.
Cornish cod with parsnip cylinders, mussels and foamy fish sauce was delicious, but the real highlight was Nidderdale duck served with roast beetroot ends turned upside down like spindly wizard hats and a small but perfect mound of duck ‘ragout’ – a rich, indulgent fry-up of duck offal.
Desserts had plenty of wow-factor (a dramatic white chocolate and yuzu dome laced with sea buckthorn hid tiny cubes of fresh pear), but do try the cheese selection from Settle-based cheesemongers The Courtyard Dairy (who supply L’Enclume, Black Swan at Oldstead and more). We tasted one of the first 400 wheels of rich, clotted cream-like Winsdale brie, along with sheep’s-milk Leeds Blue, and tangy Hafford 18-month Welsh cheddar.
And the drinks?
Young sommelier Elliot Donati has put together an impressive wine list (white chateauneuf du pape, Burgundy’s saint aubin, Lebanese chateau musar). He also has wine pairing experience beyond his 20 years – Alsace pinot noir was light enough so as not to overpower an aged beef tartare, with a peppery finish, and Sicilian Nero D’Avola was soft and rich to make sure it stood up to the duck.
Treat yourself to a spa day and garden-led afternoon tea to make the most of the natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows (the lighting isn’t quite perfect in the evening when the curtains close). Dinner is best kept for a special treat, as its prices match the hotel surroundings and more, with mains £35 and £69 for the tasting menu.