I hesitated for a moment when drafting this post, I considered putting the Tannin Level in the art category of Cedric Suggests. The Tannin Level was always a place I would aspire to dine when living in Harrogate. By virtue of my, then, extreme youth, I did not have the funds to do so. Thankfully the times have changed and in my favour. This was the first stop we made on our way up to the Yorkshire Dales and was well worth the two hour drive.
The Tannin Level is a below ground restaurant on Raglan street in the heart of Harrogate which boasts some of the finest and most reasonably priced foods in town. We began with the Tasting Board which consisted of mini fish & chips, Smoked haddock & leek fishcake, honey roast chorizo, crispy halloumi, chicken liver parfait, dressed leaves and grilled bread. It is difficult for me to pin down a favourite component of this lavish tasting board as everything was exceptional. Perhaps the most fantastic was the chicken liver parfait, which, as the name suggests, was perfect. It reminded me of the home made parfait I would have at Christmas in France. The waiter did reveal to me that this was likely because the parfait, as with everything else on the menu, was made fresh on the premises each day.
The chorizo was delightfully oily and yet somehow soft. The halloumi was seasoned in a way I had not encountered before. More on the batter on the fish and chips below…
What amazed me about the fish and chips was the way the batter stuck to the fish itself so tightly. This is achieved by adding baking soda and some sparkling water to the batter mix. This helps with wasted batter and gives a far more accurate picture of what lies beneath. Additionally, my worry with fish and chips is often how much batter there is on the damned thing. I will usually be full once a fraction of this batter is consumed so was most grateful to the Tannin Level for eliminating this problem. The haddock itself was divine as we had come to expect. The mushy peas were also a star of the show, they were pureed to perfection and had a tantalising flavour which I am at a loss to describe to you.
Nick and I ordered the Trio of Pork which consisted of crispy Yorkshire belly pork, 6 hour braised pork cheek, French black pudding pasty, buttered mash, honey glazed Chantenay carrots, baked apple puree and red wine jus. This was nothing short of masterful. The black pudding was encased in home made pastry and was so fine in texture I could not believe what I was eating. It was beyond anything I expected. I sawed off the crackling and handed this to Matthew, who devoured it with aplomb. I’ve never been one for crunchy meat. The remaining pork on my plate did not last very long. It was so soft and flavoursome. It fell apart on the fork but still held together enough to be chewy. The apple sauce was probably some of the best I have ever tried. There were only a few splodges here and there but it was enough to make a marked impression on me. Overall a sensational dish.
We were so thoroughly impressed with our meal at the Tannin Level. I am now cross with myself for not going more often when I lived in town. If you are in Harrogate and have a spare £20, go for lunch at the Tannin Level, you won’t regret it one bit!