WHEN long standing, quirky, beer lovers paradise House of The Trembling Madness was told by its landlord that time was up at its Stonegate premises, the business’s owners looked elsewhere in the city to ensure the future of the bar and beer shop.

Their sights fell upon a five-storey, former leather shop in Lendal, and with the help of the York Conservation Trust they spent £1 million breathing new life into the Georgian town house.

The quirks of the original venue, such as the wall mounted taxidermy, can still be found but are more subtle and nestled among period elegance.

To me the ground floor bears resemblance to a city centre Italian cafe, with its sleek off-white panelling, brass accents on accessories, elegant arches, marble statues and ecclesiastical decor. The counter’s look and contents further hammer home the Mediterranean feel with pinchos and tapas starting from just £1 a piece.

Up the exposed spiralled stair case, set against arched panelled windows and the first floor has a completely different feel. Up here you find the bar area split across two rooms with a further snug (and the familiar furry friends). The dark colour choices bear a gothic charm with copper detailing adding a modern twist.

Up on the third floor, the female toilets offered excellent changing facilities for children, despite having to negotiate the stairs, and above that are private hire rooms, while the basement features the retail element of the venture with floor to ceiling shelves packed with beers to suit all tastes.

With more space on offer the new House of The Trembling Madness now has its own kitchen, unlike the original site, so three months after its opening we decided to go and see what was coming out of it.

The approach to food here is a casual affair, with food ordered and paid for at the counter. Menus mirror the Stonegate venue, leaving it to the specials boards to show off the extra skills from the new kitchen.

While I called in to book a table on a quiet lunch time, and was told they don’t take reservations, the Thursday evening we visited was a different affair, with the new venue clearly proving popular as both the ground and first floor were full.

We persevered at the bar and eventually got seated on the ground floor, which offered much quieter surroundings for dining.

Eating as a party of four, we were tempted by the selection from the counter, despite there being a snack section on the menu, so we ordered a selection of pinchos to start as well as few tapas dishes in the form of chicken, chorizo and butter bean; spicy spanish meatballs, and Dynamite Jerk Chicken, all priced at £3.50.

All were accompanied by delicious bread from the much acclaimed Via Vecchia bakery, although we left guessing as to what varieties were put in front of us.

The tapas was flavoursome and filling, and the Dynamite Jerk Chick certainly created an explosion of the taste buds with a firey flavour that developed in intensity over time.

Between us we chose for our mains; two large steak and stout pie with mash and peas at £9.50 each, a Hunters Platter at £10, and ham hock with sauerkraut and mash and mustard at £12.50.

The pies were no frills, proper grub. Slopped on the plate, they meant business with gravy oozing over the entire dish.

The Hunters Platter consisted of smoked venison, chicken, Yorkshire fennel salami, duck, Serrano ham, wild boar, lomo, homemade dill mustard sauce, spreadable chorizo and pickle, via vecchia bread and coleslaw. It offered great value with such variety but the smoked flavour from all the meats took precedence over anything else.

The ham hock was intensely roasted resulting in a thick hardy crust encasing beautifully juicy pink meat. Not wishing to over simplify the matter - I felt the dish needed something wet (gravy?) as while the accompanying mustard added a well paired flavour it was strong so could only be spread in small doses.

Puddings came in the form of a selection of cakes and bakes from the counter, priced at £2.50 each or a cheese board for £6.50.

I don’t think I would recommend House of The Trembling Madness as someone specifically to eat, however I don’t think that’s what the owners are going for. The food here is an accompaniment to the wider social offer, adding to the excellent provision of beers and spirits and stylish yet comfortable surroundings.

Service is relaxed yet friendly and staff are happy to chat about the new bar.

With food served until midnight it is the perfect place to meet with friends and enjoy a light bite with drinks, or something more warming and heartier for those hungrier.