Li­cence front, Dave Lee dis­cov­ers bistro at Henry Yeast & Son.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Food& Drink -

WISH I could re­mem­ber who it was that said you get a bet­ter view of life from the top deck of a bus. I’d like to credit them for help­ing me spot a crack­ing lit­tle restau­rant as I took my first bus trip for years down Hull’s New­land Ave re­cently.

Re­call­ing the quote as I trav­elled and en­joy­ing a new per­spec­tive of a street I thought I knew well, I spied what ap­peared to be an in­ter­est­ing look­ing off-li­cence. In­ter­est­ing both be­cause they are an in­creas­ing rar­ity th­ese days and be­cause it ap­peared to sell some in­trigu­ing-look­ing brews.

A trip back on foot a few days later re­vealed that Henry Yeast & Son (as the es­tab­lish­ment is called) may look like an unas­sum­ing offy from the out­side but step in­side and you find a lit­tle, long Euro­pean-style bistro af­fair. There’s a bar at one end, a kitchen at the other and two rows of plain ta­bles run­ning along ei­ther wall. It’s got bare floor­boards, bare brick walls and ap­pears equally stripped of pre­ten­tion and fuss.

On en­ter­ing you are in­stantly trans­ported to a habi­tat rem­i­nis­cent of the back­street bars found in Ber­gen or Bruges and even be­fore the mar­vel­lously friendly staff wel­come you in, you just know that you are go­ing to have a re­lax­ing, re­fresh­ing cou­ple of hours. You can prob­a­bly al­ready tell that it’s eas­ily my favourite find for quite a while.

I was sur­prised to learn that Henry Yeast isn’t new and has, in fact, been open al­most 18 months. It’s the project of chef/owner Ja­son Git­tins and a cou­ple of sleep­ing part­ners and has been de­signed to fill a gap in the near-over­sat­u­rated New­land Ave/Princes Ave eatery cir­cuit. The in­ten­tion is to of­fer An­glo-Teu­tonic cui­sine sup­ple­mented by spe­cials with a twist. Odd as it sounds, find­ing some­where in Hull that of­fers rab­bit or tur­bot is ac­tu­ally quite dif­fi­cult, here they ac­tively seek out and stick th­ese ‘rar­i­ties’ on the daily-up­dated spe­cials board.

How the place has flown un­der my radar for so long, I have no idea. Af­ter ask­ing around a lit­tle, though, I found that it is ex­tremely pop­u­lar with the more culi­nary-savvy res­i­dents of the sur­round­ing Av­enues area of the city and that they have been qui­etly flock­ing to ‘Henry’s’ in their droves. It’s easy to see why.

To kick off with there is the beer menu: a baf­fling A3-sized tableau fea­tur­ing dozens of beers, per­rys and ciders sourced from all over the UK and Europe. Each is briefly de­scribed to help you make de­ci­sions but we found it a lot more fun to sim­ply or­der blind – “Pick a num­ber,” “32,” “Two pints of Kwak, please.” It may lead to you leav­ing on your knees, but it’s a hugely en­ter­tain­ing way of get­ting there.

The food menu is rather more con­cise, there are just half a dozen starters and mains, moules, steaks and sides. Of the starters, I’ve tried the French onion soup, the pot­ted pork and the black pud­ding cakes and can rec­om­mend all of them. None are spec­tac­u­lar but all are sim­ple, tasty and well-pre­pared.

The same is true of the mains; the belly pork is great, the duck breast in cherry and port sauce was suc­cu­lent and fruitily de­li­cious and the comfit chicken features a vast chicken leg on a bed of puy lentils, lar­dons and broth. It’s as com­fort­ing as a Sun­day lunch.

Just as im­por­tant as the food and the booze, though, is the at­mos­phere. Dur­ing the day it’s a great place to sit with a pint and a pa­per while pre­tend­ing you’re some kind of aloof, in­sou­ciant Euro-poet. Come night, it fills up with din­ers who know a good thing when it opens at the end of their street and who chat­ter and laugh and seem gen­er­ally happy to have found some­where so laid-back and cosy.

The only neg­a­tive I can poke at the place is that the desserts aren’t hugely in­spir­ing. The likes of brown­ies with ice cream,

UNAS­SUM­ING EX­TE­RIOR: In­side Henry Yeast & Son is a Euro­pean style bistro.

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