CELEBRATED York chef Stephen Andrews has come a long way since he first opened Fish & Forest as a street food outlet in Spark:York.

Two moves later - first into the Gillygate pub, then to a standalone restaurant in fashionable Micklegate (nestled between Partisan, The Rattle Owl and Skosh) - Fish & Forest is now listed in the Michelin Guide.

It's even more of an achievement when you consider Stephen's timing - he moved up to Micklegate just as the country was going into the first lockdown.

But fast forward two years plus, and he and his small team are enjoying the fruits of their labour.

The latest place is compact - just 26 covers, 18 of which are inside. There are two booths and a bench in the rear courtyard that looked inviting too. But that is quite a leap from The Gillygate where Stephen and co had just six tables and a private dining booth for six!

Following a Press review I wrote when they were at The Gillygate in 2019, Stephen invited me back to give my verdict on the Micklegate venture.

I'll admit to being a teeny bit apprehensive. I recalled my visit to Fish & Forest at The Gillygate as quite something and being hugely impressed not just by the quality of cooking and flavours, but the five-star service. Could Micklegate match it?

York Press: Inside Fish & Forest in Micklegate, YorkInside Fish & Forest in Micklegate, York

Well, I needn't have worried. Turning up with my husband on a Friday night, we were brilliantly looked after by Stef and Millie, two enthusiastic and passionate waiters who not only knew their way around the menu, but delivered our dishes with reverence. And any diners here will understand why. The care and attention going into the food is worthy of a bow.

There's definitely a bit of culinary alchemy going on as self-taught chef Stephen layers the ordinary with the unusual, mixing textures and flavours to create his own magic and cast a spell over the diner - and before you say anything, yes I did have a G&T and a delicious glass of Picpoul during the evening. But even stone-cold sober, these dishes would impress.

We began with starter plates of wild trout ceviche (£11) and the tomato tartare (£8.50).

Both were light and perfect for a hot summer's evening, but struck at opposite ends of the flavour arc. The ceviche - marinaded raw trout - was cool and elegant, with dots of orange honey and green chive oil adding colour and pockets of taste.

On the other extreme, my starter was in essence a salsa of chopped tomatoes mixed with strawberries and ponzo (a citrussy soy sauce) and was like having a disco in your mouth. Served with fine cracker, I loved the intensity of the sweet and savoury flavours and the squishiness of the salsa against the bite of the crisp cracker was just perfect. Lip smacking would be the word!

The meal continued in this vein as we tucked into the venison with green peppercorn (£27) and plaice with Provencale sauce (£25.50). The venison amounted to two chunky pieces, beautifully cooked to be as tender as you could have hoped for; my plaice was delicate and lovingly married to the big guns of Mediterranean flavours - tomato, garlic, olives and capers. I liked that the sauce was soup-like, more of a bisque than a stew.

We shared a small side of roasted potatoes with greens (£4.50) but I wish we had ordered two!

York Press: Summer pavlova at Fish & ForestSummer pavlova at Fish & Forest

Turning to desserts - could we continue on our winning streak? We opted for the summer pavlova (£8.50) which amounted to a stack of meringue, Chantilly cream, ginger crumble and berries. No complaints, but it turned out to be the bridesmaid next to the menu's chocolate offer. It's simple name of 'Chocolate delice with blueberry' (£9) did not do justice to this five-star show-stopper. The delice - a generous finger of rich and creamy chocolate pudding, almost like a set ganache - would normally get the top billing, but it was upstaged by its co-stars. Demanding a standing ovation were the shards of raspberry meringue, so thin that they seemed to defy the laws of possibility. The Chantilly cream was flavoured with berries and was simply delicious while the blueberry foam was absolutely luscious on account of its thick, velvety texture.

So I am pleased to report that while Fish & Forest may have moved across town, it hasn't lost its way.

Find out more at: www.fishandforestrestaurant.com