Small plates, big ambition

How The Rise is adding to York’s splendid hospitality sector

York’s newest culinary experience The Rise at the iconic 5-star Grand Hotel & Spa opened its doors in June 2017, and the latest venture from the Grand’s award-winning food and beverage team is a unique offering to the vibrant dining scene in the city.

Whether it’s food, service or the aesthetic, The Rise is a perfect combination of contemporary and classic.

The restaurant’s striking and instantly iconic decor pays homage to the building’s vibrant history. Features include a pressed tin ceiling, darkly stained oak panelling, and as a nod to the North Eastern Railway (the building’s original 1906 resident), a locomotive-inspired black steel bar front, emulating the comfort and style of first class train travel in the early 1900s.

We caught up with the hotel’s renowned executive chef Craig Atchinson to discuss the project and the inspiration behind The Rise’s stand out dining experience.

“For The Rise, we wanted to break away from the traditional and sometimes limiting ‘hotel restaurant’ menu. That is how we fell upon the idea of a small plate concept. We want the guests’ experience to be exactly that – an experience.  So, by embracing the small plate menu, we are crafting a journey where guests pick and choose from multiple different flavours and textures.”

“At the Grand, we felt that there was a demand for this style of flexible dining. We want people to feel that they can just come into our restaurant and not feel pressured to sit at the table for two to three hours. So whether you want a quick lunch with one plate and a glass of wine, or you want to stay for two hours and go through the menu dish-by-dish, the choice is there for you.”

With the new menu, Craig and his team have placed a particular emphasis on providing seasonal, ethically sourced and where possible local produce.

“I believe local produce leads the way and is part of what makes the menu so special. The producers around the area are some of the best in the country, but it does not stop at that – there are some international influences on our menu. Ultimately, it is about creating the best dish possible, and that means the best ingredients. We are just fortunate to have so many brilliant local producers.”

The food and beverage team behind The Rise have left no stone unturned and when considering the customer experience and the importance of service on the overall dining event.  Craig continues:

“Throughout the hotel, we opted for a more informal approach to service, without sacrificing standards. People, on the whole, can find the fine-dining approach to service quite daunting, and that detracts from the experience. We want our guests to relax and for them to feel like they are at home. I eat like this all the time at home, everything goes in the middle of the table, and people just help themselves and get as much or as little as they want, and I believe it is the best way to eat and create memories and it is certainly the most pleasant way to dine. Great food needs the support of excellent service, and our belief is that the team at The Rise delivers both.”

The launch of The Rise will be followed later this year by the addition of The Grand Hotel & Spa’s new accommodation wing and the refurbishment of Hudson’s fine dining restaurant.

“In the three years I have been here, the hotel has gone through an amazing transformation. This year, with the current extensive development and refurbishment, the Grand will become one of the largest 5-star hotels outside of London and the only 5-star hotel in York.”

Accompanying the original menu is an equally impressive drinks offering including a well-crafted wine list and a well-thought out cocktail list comprising of ingredients from an enviable back bar.

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