In the shadow of York Minster, a lovely little tavern serves as a gathering place for enquiring minds. Called Mr P’s Curious Tavern, its green door opens into a whole world of wonders that any fan of good food and great gin would love to get lost in.
Mr P’s is the latest venture from Andrew Pern, executive chef and owner of the Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome. Focusing on small plates and tasty tipples, Mr P’s is a true tavern – a place to settle down with a great gin and snack your way through fantastic surprises.
As Andrew explains, “Mr P’s, to a certain extent, is a city version of The Star Inn at Harome. It’s a quirky oddity of a place on two levels, offering a sort of ‘haute cuisine’ of the tapas world: small plates using local food to create big flavours.”
From a ‘croque m’lad’ – a deliciously melty combination of ham, comté and quail egg – to venison chilli con carne, the menu is a delightful journey through classic dishes with a special Mr P twist.
“The food has some traditional elements of a tapas bar,” Andrew says, “with Spanish and continental hams, olives and sherries, and a few fun things like Cullen skink scotch eggs and tandoori pheasant. But first and foremost, it’s really good quality.”
And it’s served in a quirky, unusual space that can’t be beaten for fun atmosphere. The restaurant is stuffed to the gills with Andrew’s odd discoveries, like a statue of a gorilla in a hat and rabbit heads made out of fabric and mounted on the wall. At just 70 tables, it’s an intimate, warm and inviting space – the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by through the big front window.
“It appeals to locals and tourists alike as a great place to meet,” Andrew says. “It’s the perfect hideaway, where you can spend a few hours or even nip in for sustenance to refresh you for more retail therapy. It’s a busy, bustling place with music and ambience to match. “
Even more curious than the décor, though, is the restaurant’s former resident. In a previous incarnation, this cosy restaurant was inhabited by Thomas Grant, a publisher with a library to behold. He died in 1752, leaving behind many volumes (including a copy of Miscellanea Curiosea, from which the restaurant takes its name), but never quite departing – his ghost is said to haunt the rooms to this day.
But enough about the food, the décor and the resident ghost – what about the gin selection?
“Gin very much fits the style of the place,” Andrew says, “with its old English, almost Dickensian feel. The botanicals and flavours of the gins also match the style of food, so it’s a great opportunity to make food pairings.”
With almost 50 gins on the list and a dedicated gin parlour upstairs, this is the perfect place to find your next favourite bottle. And it’s worth checking back often, because Andrew and his team are always discovering new gins to love and list. The team’s passion for this beautiful spirit is clear from the gin list – each gin is lovingly described and its botanical blend explored.
“The list is constantly under review,” Andrew says, “as there are so many great new gins becoming available.”
So, the next time you’re in York, stop by Mr P’s for a taste of a perfect G&T and a peruse of the gin list. It’s a lovely little break in your day – and you may find that a pit stop at Mr. P’s gin palace becomes a regular occurrence!