Café Concerto, York

Concerto 03

After the chance find of Le Langhe in York last week, we find ourselves there again, this time on the train rather than chancing the very slow traffic. York was busy as ever and, although not a school holiday, there were school parties out as well as the usual multitude of tourists – mostly Japanese taking lots of photographs and meticulously checking that the photos were correct after every click. After all, it’s along way to come back.

We walked around the city walls, now safer with some metal railings on the inside of the ramparts to save you from the drop if you fall, but mostly to stop you straying into private gardens which abut the walls on the inside. Who knew York was so green inside the walls – especially the bit from Bootham to Monk Bar. We also ventured into the Minster [£10!]. It’s a pleasant change to find a religious building so [relatively] devoid of unnecessary adornment. The building is rich in carving, including the contemporary ceiling bosses designed as part of Blue Peter Competition after the fire in 1984 which destroyed part of the Minster’s roof. It doesn’t need all the gilt and gloss you often find in cathedrals in Europe and elsewhere. It just relies on its size and the wonderful simple stained glass for its majesty. On this visit there was only a small amount of scaffolding erected – there’s always some. the building is in need of constant repair and even has its own stonemasons, carving new stone to replace those bits that time and wether has worn out.

Lunch this time was at a very old favourite. Café Concerto is a simple, independent little spot, slightly bohemian and with a strong vegetarian [though the bacon sandwiches are excellent] selection on the menu. All the walls covered in old sheet music. Rather reminds you of Norwich forty years ago, or perhaps the provincial version of Cranks.

Cranks led a vegetarian revolution in Britain, opening its first restaurant in Carnaby Street in 1961 and becoming a wholemeal mecca for vegetarians including Cliff Richard, Hayley and Juliet Mills and the Beatles.In the 1980s and 90s, however, its sandal-wearing hippy image was seen as anachronistic, and the chain faced competition with the increasing availability of vegetarian food.

Whatever, it’s here to stay, celebrating 21 years of service to its loyal following. Simple soup [chunky tomato or honey-roast parsnip] with a filled baguette. Child friendly and there’s nearly always a table.

Café Concerto York

Concerto 02

Concerto 01

Sheet music on the walls…

York Minster. No scaffolding and a typical Yorkshire sky...

York Minster. No scaffolding and a typical Yorkshire sky…

Inside the Minister. The building needs to adornment...

Inside the Minister. The building needs to adornment…

The restored south Trancept with the Blue Peter bosses...

The restored roof of the south transept with the Blue Peter bosses…


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