The Vices, York hotel review
Food and drink
A wine library with a magnificent steel bespoke bottle holder forms a centrepiece of the tasting room. Here, under ceramic egg pendant lamps and the table adorned with the prettiest Joanne Keely flowers, those wary of Italian wines are quickly won over by the owner’s expansive knowledge and passion and can enjoy limited edition wines such as Chiara Condello, Lo Stralisco Riserva 2018, of which they’re the only UK stockists.
A dark and moody dining room awaits at its restaurant Allium, where chef Luke Sanderson turns out a tasting menu (no allowances for children or allergies, but they do host takeover events). Dishes might include hand-dived scallop tartare with rosehip, juniper mayo and a rosehip and lemon crisp and breast of mallard with Jerusalem artichoke & lactose fermented grains and hazelnut. Frette linen and Lehmann glasses lend it an elegant edge, but otherwise, the moody lights give it a slight club-like vibe with a cinematic window into the kitchen so you can watch the chef arrange his micro-herbs.
Pastries that would rival some of the best in London – think Popham’s or Flor – from nearby Flori are piled high into a basket alongside mountains of fresh berries and freshly squeezed orange juice for an in-room breakfast.
The bar wasn’t open yet when we were there but now serves an array of spirits, all chosen by Daniel and Moreno.
Walk just 10 minutes down the road and you’ll find a proper old-school Samuel Smith boozer. Beyond this however are the watery frowns of the Ouse, seeking out the university to the left and into the heart of York to the right with its teeming streets and excellent food scene (Skosh, 2 Many Wines and Cave du Cochon are musts).
The Vices seems to have an undercurrent of sustainability running through it. The entire building runs from an automation system, which uses presence detection for the lighting, audio, heating and even hot water. The lighting and sound adjusts as you move through the building, but switches off as soon as it’s not needed. In Allium, locally foraged ingredients run through the menu, and “waste” ingredients have been used, such as the whey from the homemade butter being used to hydrate the fermented grains, rather than being simply washed away.
It is reaching out to a grown-up wine-focused, design-led market. There are no children allowed under 12 and no accessible rooms, though the property is welcoming of the polyamorous market.
Accessibility for those with mobile impairments
The nature of the building unfortunately means that all three suites are lacking in wheelchair access. However, the wine library, cocktail bar and restaurant are all ground floor and are fully accessible.
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