Stray Foodie is a monthly food review written by Michelin-starred chef, Frances Atkins. In 1997, Frances opened the Yorke Arms near Pateley Bridge, where she was the owner for 20 years. During her ownership, she held her Michelin-star status for 16 of those years.
The Wild Plum, Hookstone Road, Harrogate, HG2 8BW
Frances’ Lunch: Crazy A-Bao You for £13.50 and a cup of coffee for £3.25
Looking up at the pink neon ‘Wild’ sign I thought to myself, am I in the Hardrock Café or is this a dream?
I was in fact in a restaurant located above a very popular ladies’ couture venue, The Snooty Frox, in Harrogate.
The Wild Plum Café is busy, modern, clean and bright and I’ve been told customers queue to enter such a hallowed space. It certainly is the place to be; it’s a vibrant and trendy space. A great contrast to the entrance, where I was met by the Lady of the House who was most charming. I was shown upstairs and found Girl Power at its best.
Head Chef, Bethany, daughter of the Snooty Frox owners, rules with her two female colleagues dressed in great ‘modern Chef’ gear.
They were dishing out bags of style from an open kitchen with fabulous bottles of fermented fruit and vegetables. This immediately says, ‘serious kitchen’.
This is clever food; artistic, creative and hot (in every sense of the word). The Menu included the sort of food you can eat at any time of the day, assuming the seasoning is taken care of.
I was spoilt for choice but had the home-made Crazy A-Bao You with Carrot Kimchi, Sesame Soy Crispy Egg and Sriracha Mayo with the Crispy Cornflake Chicken. It arrived as Bao Buns – which were as pink as the Neon sign – in a bamboo steamer.
Would you like Frances to review your restaurant or café?
From pop-up to fine dining, Frances would like to hear from you. If you’d like her to write a review on your food, send her an email to: [email protected].
The Carrot Kimchi was on its base with Cornflake Chicken-style burgers and Crispy Eggs topped with a wonderful array of culinary flora. It had a syringe of Mayo at its side and some sweet jam. This was a very generous portion.
There were plenty of other choices and I was very tempted to have the Butternut Squash Fritter (GF) which was Mexican-style with smashed avocado, poached egg, rocket, sweet chilli jam, roasted garlic yoghurt and homemade salsa.
The Wild Plum Buddha Bowl sounded so exciting but with so much going on. Maybe – for a slightly reserved palate – a little confusing?
This food was exciting, tasty and young and I was told everything is made fresh on the premises. Looking around the Café, the other dishes were colourful and lovely.
Knowledge of flavour and ingredients comes with experience and perhaps not always so exciting but leaves a longer lasting impression.
These are exciting times in the culinary world, as it is all changing. It is young dedicated female chefs, like Bethany, who will shortly be leading the way in our industry, certainly in Harrogate.
- Stray Foodie: Frances visits the Grantham Arms, Boroughbridge
- Stray Foodie: Frances visits the Bistro at How Stean Gorge, Nidderdale