Le Cochon Avegule, York
Eating somewhere new is always exciting!
Le Cochon Avegule is a quaint French restaurant, based on the cobbled streets of York. Joshua Overington is the head chef behind the doors of this fantastic establishment, alongside his partner Victoria, they opened Le Cochon back in 2014.
My mum booked a table for 3 of us, and we were the first ones in that evening. Welcomed with a warm smile from the whole team we were shown to our seats. This was the first time I visited the restaurant, as well as my first blind tasting menu!
The menu consisted of 10 beautiful dishes showcasing Joshua’s fantastic food abilities.
1. L’Arpege egg
Otherwise known as ‘hot and cold’ egg. Representing the ‘hot’ was the delicious runny egg yolk that sat in the bottom of this delicate egg, whilst the ‘cold’ was lemon infused whipped cream on top, with chives decorated around the inner edge. A wonderful contrasting taste which set the pallet ready for the adventure ahead!
2. Kohlrabi cannelloni with Whitby crab
This was a great twist on a fish course. I absolutely love crab, and unlike normal cannelloni we are all used to, this was sweet and delicate made of the vegetable Kohlrabi. Now I hear you – what is kohlrabi? It’s a vegetable whose name actually translates (or so I have read) as ‘turnip cabbage’. It’s crisp taste was complimented by the Whitby crab. One thing this restaurant stands for is locally sourced produce, despite being French in cuisine. Being the hungry ‘lass’ I admire their Yorkshire patriotism!
3. Spiced squash croquette
Now I’m going to be honest – this was incredible… however, despite being warned and me being the ‘cochon’ I am, I popped it in my mouth too quick and it was way too hot! Once the absolute fear of melting passed, this was mouth-wateringly good. The butternut squash brings such a sweet taste to a dish, and by presenting it in croquette form, there was the added level of substance and crunch.
4. Smoked Cumbrae oyster with Vin Jaune granita
My first ever oyster (shocking I know!) Staring down at the plate it looked like a scene from the little mermaid – shells galore! The granita sat on top of the oyster, made of Vin Juane (which is a French yellow wine), freshened my pallet against the incredible seaside taste of the oyster. Never be scared to try something unusual – you’ll often find you love it!
5. Sourdough with cultured butter & beurre noisette, sea salt
I mean who doesn’t love bread? But I can tell you this was no ordinary bread, this was exceptional. Just simply typing the word sourdough gets my mouth watering – often in fine dining restaurants, they ‘grow’ their own sourdough for many months (sometimes even years!) I use the word grow, as you have to feed this bread to enhance its flavour. Accompanied with the beurre noisette, the bread course became an experience out of this world. Beurre noisette is supposedly ‘burnt butter’ and often used as a warm sauce in France – it has a dark caramel taste which was utterly moreish! For something a little more traditional, a spread of the cultured butter and light sprinkling of sea salt on the bread was pure heaven. One of the best bread courses ever!
6. New season alliums with sauce gribiche, trout roe & scallop powder
This dish was baby leeks presented with a dollop of sauce gribiche. The rich taste of the sauce was the winning element of this course. Gribiche is from French cuisine sauce that resembles a mayonnaise and made with cold eggs, and perfectly accompanies vegetables and fish.
7. Smoked eel with artichoke purée, cavolo nero & dashi
Hidden underneath this rather large leaf of cavolo nero (named after its almost entirely black appearance) was the most delicious piece eel. I think was the first time I had tried eel, and despite not usually being a massive fan of smoked dishes, I loved this dish! After devouring the wonderful kale and eel, I was ordered by my mum to grab my spoon, to gather all of that wonderful soup remaining. Each element of this dish married perfectly and made this one of my favourite dishes of the evening.
8. Confit belly pork with braised endive, anchovy cream, ramson & cardamom infused jus
Now, this has been named (by myself) the best dish of the entire evening. I am a massive lover of belly pork, but more often than not this dish is fatty and rather overwhelming. This in contrast to other experiences was simply perfection. The creamy substance you can see in the lower left corner is the anchovy cream. Anchovies are particularly strong flavoured fish, with a rather ‘fishy’ taste, but this worked brilliantly with the sweet taste of belly pork. The jus brought another level to the entire dish, with the cardamom adding the subtle spice that the dish required.
9. Warm chocolate mousse with sea salt, olive oil and pepper
Or in other words, the perfect pudding. Unlike some other fine dining restaurants, Le Cochon did not shy away from sweet tooth monsters like myself, and provided us with what I like to call a ‘proper pudding’. There were all kinds of tastes within this dish, the ice cream broke its tradition of being a sweet treat and was sea salt flavoured, whilst the mousse was rich and smooth on the pallet. I loved how the dish was separated using a salt and pepper biscuit, not only for taste but visually as well.
10. Rhubarb and custard
“You started with an egg, and now you are ending with an egg” were our waiter’s final words of the evening as he placed one of these in front of each of us. This egg held a sweet dessert of rhubarb and custard; the contrasting flavours we have all tried at least once in our lives. Interestingly 80% of rhubarb in Britain is grown in Yorkshire, giving its name of the rhubarb triangle! This quintessentially Yorkshire pudding of rhubarb and custard, however, was delicate, sweet and the perfect spoonful of deliciousness. I could have eaten a dozen if I had more!
Overall, I look forward to returning to this amazing place for another range of wonderful dishes. I can honestly say this one of the best fine dining establishments I have had the privilege of eating at in the UK. Make sure you give Le Cochon and the team a follow (see below), and next time you are feeling a need to try something get yourself booked in at this fabulous establishment.