The Go Down, York House, 15 Clifford Street, York, YO1 9RG


DICK Turpin might be frightening guests across the road at York Dungeon, but you won’t be left feeling robbed following a visit to Clifford Street’s The Go Down restaurant.

There’s certainly no masking that the family-run eatery, which has been using local ingredients since opening in 1995, can’t be faulted for value, with its £19.50, three-course, fixed-price menu refreshingly packed with choice and quality.

On offer Sunday to Friday from 5.30pm to 9pm and Saturday 5.30pm to 6.30pm, the hours are far from restrictive, giving diners a great option to sample “five-star English food” at an affordable price.

The portion sizes, meanwhile, are ample, with no need for side dishes to bolster your meal, as can so often be the case with such deals.

An “A La Carte” menu is available, but there really is no need to pay extra with a selection of eight starters, 11 mains and five desserts to choose from.

Prior to descending the stairs that explain the venue’s name and take you below street level, a passing pedestrian commented: “It’s meant to be nice, there” – an assertion supported by Trip Advisor’s 4.5 star rating from more than a thousand reviews.

On entering the establishment, you find yourselves immediately among fellow visitors in the cosy main dining room.

We were quickly greeted by the attentive staff and shown to our table.

The seating area was a little cramped to the point where we were almost banging elbows with our neighbours.

But, for those wanting a more private experience, there were tables available in an overspill area that wasn’t used on our visit.

Some of The Go Down’s appeal and charm might be lost there, however, in an establishment where the washing up is still done manually at the front of house.

Our reservation was made for 7.30pm on the Friday night of Ebor race week and the atmosphere was good, without being rowdy.

Parties of people in their 60s dined alongside couples in their late 20s to mid-40s, highlighting the restaurant’s broad appeal.

With service subtly helpful and friendly, without being overbearing, we made our choices from the wine list, which included all the usual suspects, starting from £17.50 a bottle and rising up to £32.50 and £35 respectively for the white and red named as the Connoisseur’s Selection.

Complimentary bread and olive oil followed, with the small loaf’s freshness confirmed when my other half’s fingertips were almost burned.

Moving on to starters, I ordered black pudding with potato rosti and crispy onions in a red-wine sauce.

It proved a very flavoursome dish with the thin layer of rosti a perfect complement for the juicy black pudding, as was the onion topping, while the sauce achieved just the right level of richness.

Nikki – my partner – opted for a Yorkshire Pudding entrée and, happily for me, needed some assistance.

The two large puddings were soft and fluffy, served with onions soaked in vinegar and with lashings of gravy to pour on as liberally as you desire.

For mains, having worked up a strong appetite during the day, I decided upon the 16oz rump steak, which was available for an agreeable £7.50 supplement, while Nikki chose chicken with pan-fried white wine, lemon butter, capers and cream.

I was also asked if I wanted a sauce with my dish and plumped for peppercorn from a choice of three, but only found out later there was a £2.50 surcharge, which wasn’t detailed on the menu or made clear in person.

The meal needed the extra condiment, though, with the consistency level spot on.

My hand-cut chips, meanwhile, were fluffy and lightly seasoned to perfection, with fries available instead if preferable.

Large succulent mushrooms and a juicy tomato finished off the plate nicely.

As for the steak, it was certainly the advertised size, but was a little fatty and cooked a tad rarer than the medium I had requested.

Nikki’s chicken was also a little dry, but the succulence of the sensational sauce compensated and the vegetable offerings of red cabbage, garden peas and roast potatoes were tasty accompaniments.

Finally, the biggest dilemma of the night came as we pondered our dessert possibilities.

Amazingly, crème brulee – a long-time Flett family favourite - didn’t make the cut, but we were not disappointed by our convictions.

I settled on sticky toffee pudding, which was moist, sizeable and partnered with a sublime butterscotch sauce that avoided being sickly sweet.

My better half picked the bakewell tart, which boasted a firm pastry and jam bountifully spread right through the dessert, with a creamy and hot custard.

Indeed, we were impressed by the temperature of the sauces, gravy and custard we enjoyed right through the courses, with none of the lukewarm mistakes committed by so many restaurants in that department.

The food was also excellently presented and dishes were not rushed out one after the next.

Nor were we left waiting too long between each plate, making for a pleasant two-hour dining experience from taking our seats to settling the bill.

A palatable ten per cent service charge is included too, avoiding any pontification about what would represent a fair tip at the end of the night.

In summary, we will be back, if only to sample the crème brulee!

Food: Flavoursome ****

Ambience: Cosy ****

Service: Polite ****

Value: Excellent *****