−−− BY LINZI DAVIES −−−

Ask Italian in York has now reopened following a huge refurbishment project that saw the restaurant close back in July. The refurbishment of the Assembly Rooms, built in the 1700’s was organised in partnership between Ask and the York Conservation Trust to carry out vital repairs to the listed building and bring it back to its former glory. I went along with my family to see the transformation and try their new autumn menu.

I was absolutely blown away when I stepped inside the building. I don’t think I have ever eaten anywhere so magnificent before! Huge marble columns reach up to the corniced ceiling on each side of the restaurant which can seat up to 450 guests. The room is lit with sparkling crystal chandeliers which add to the grandeur. In contrast, the furniture has modern, sleek lines which allows the architecture to really shine. The front of house staff were warm and friendly, enthusiastic about the building that they are certainly honoured to be working in everyday!

All three of us really enjoyed our meals. The starters of calamari, chicken lecca-lecca, and pumpkin arancini were quickly gobbled up. The chicken and the arancini are both new arrivals on the seasonal menu, and are great additions.

My family chose a pizza and a calzone for their mains and both were appreciated with the authentic crisp crust and generous toppings. I chose another autumn special for my main meal – purple basil pesto Genovese.

The purple basil is unique to Ask Italian restaurants in the UK, grown specially for them. It has the same delicious aromatic taste as the green pesto which is more familiar, but adds a great contrast of colour in your bowl. Definitely recommended! For dessert, we enjoyed gelato, chocolate Etna, and pistachio and olive oil cake. This warm, moist cake was truly the most delicious thing I have eaten in a long time and I was sorely tempted to ask for the recipe!

The restaurant has a great range of drinks to accompany your meal too, and the whole evening was thoroughly enjoyable. Ask Italian do a great job of catering for the whole family with a children’s menu and also vegetarian and vegan options. Of course, the food is every bit as good as you expect from the chain, but the York restaurant offers something different – the stunning environment of the Georgian Assembly Rooms building.

Ask Italian, Blake Street, York, YO1 8QG

Tel: 01904 63 72 54

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