MAXINE GORDON heads up Bishy Road for a night out

BISHOPTHORPE Road's success story has been well documented – not just by us here at The Press but in national newspapers and magazines too. Recently, it was hailed by the Sunday Times as one of the reasons York was named the Best Place to Live in the UK, while The Guardian used it as a case study to show how high streets can revive themselves when traders and communities come together.

That double act has been the remarkable recipe for success for Bishopthorpe Road which just ten years ago was full of empty shops and rather down on its luck. Its revival has been as sprightly as its upbeat new name: Bishy Road.

There are cafes galore, and we decided to check out Angel on the Green – an all day cafe/bar/restaurant commanding an enviable corner spot in the former Cycle Heaven building.

When the place first opened it was all about its pizzas. But the menu has expanded, and offers a good range of vegan and gluten-free options too.

We booked a table on a Friday evening at 7pm. It was full on arrival; groups happily chatting over a pint and a prosecco in the bar at the front, while diners filled the tables in the two rooms at the rear. The decor is unpretentious and almost rustic: a warm rusty-yellow on the walls, wooden tables and chairs and fairy lights give an inviting, homely ambience.

The place has a good reputation for coffee and cake – and there were at least eight amazing-looking bakes on display on our visit, with something for all tastes, including coconut and lime; Malteser; Oreo; rosewater and pistachio, and a triple-layered dark chocolate sponge covered in multi-coloured meringue peaks.

The menu has a selection of small plates, sharing boards, mains, pizzas, and a choice of sides.

A bottle of house white – a Spanish Verdejo Viura – was crisp and fruity and perfect for easy drinking. It was a good price at £17 a bottle, but could have been served colder.

There were four of us and to begin we chose the homemade haddock goujons (£6.50); buttermilk-fried confit chicken (£4) and potato, spring onion and ginger croquettes (£3.50).

Each came with a different creamy dip and all were good. The croquettes were alarmingly dark (perhaps slightly over-cooked), and a lurid green inside on account of the spring onion. But they had a lovely fluffiness and the ginger really powered through. The chicken fell away from its crispy coating and was tender and very tasty. But the goujons were the star: the fish was amazingly fresh and cooked to perfection; it flaked away into giant pieces and was delicious with the tangy house tartare sauce.

Service was super quick and efficient. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable too about the menu, which is always impressive and as it should be.

My husband really enjoyed his anchovy pizza (£9 for 9"/£11 for 13"). The base was very thin, and the tomato sauce smooth and tangy. He loved the saltiness of all the ingredients: the marinated anchovies, the capers and olives. He gave it a "four out of five".

My daughter also liked the roasted lamb breast with French fricassee peas, buttery mash and rich lamb gravy. At £14.50, this was one of the more expensive items on the menu. The mash was silky smooth and the peas and shallots lovely and sweet. The lamb was tender and full or flavour, if a bit fatty. A "three-and-a-half out of five", she reckoned.

My friend B had the Caesar-style salad, which came with strips of bacon, chicken and fresh anchovies (£9.50); she thought it very good, a steady "four".

I chose the seasonal vegetable curry, with rice and flatbread (£8.50). This happened to be cauliflower and potato. It had a lovely earthy taste, sweetened by coconut, but most of the cauliflower pieces were charred (perhaps roasted in the oven too long) and the flatbread, which looked more like a naan bread, was black on the back. I thought this showed a lack of care, and was disappointed, so would score my meal only a 2.5.

But it was the only real off-key note on the night.

We were too full to have cakes – but they looked irresistable, so we will be back.

York has a thriving indy scene, and it's thanks to places like Angel on the Green.

Incidentally, the name comes from the fact it is opposite a little green on Bishy Road and the first owner of the building was a Mr Angel.

Our bill for the evening, including drinks, came to £77.80 - which we thought was good value.

Angel on the Green, 2-4 Bishopthorpe Rd, York

T: 01904 866073

FB: @AngelOnTheGreen

Food: Mostly good 3.5/5

Ambience: Inviting 4/5

Service: Attentive 4.5/5

Value: Good 4/5

All reviews are independent and paid for by The Press