Things you shouldn’t do halfway through a meal; check your hotel reservation in Leeds. Also things you shouldn’t do; panic and swear a lot because you booked it for the following week, followed by panicking and swearing outside when a few phone calls confirm that anywhere decent is either fully booked or trying to charge me £500 for a Malmaisson. Welcome to York, Carlo. I’m very sure Skosh are very happy to have you here, skulking and whining and wineing.

It’s my fourth attempt at Skosh. There had been attempts some years ago after the Jay Rayner review, an ill-fated Yorkshire trip that coincided with the start of lockdown, and more recently an attempt to tie it on to the back-end of a Northumberland trip that didn’t happen because York on race weekend is a cesspit of Moss Bros and Pretty Little Thing where the most basic of hotels comes vastly overpriced. It’s race day on that date we are here but we’re not staying; we’re now in a hundred-and-fifty quid shithole on the edge of Leeds in a room with two single beds because muggins here can’t work a calendar.

The start to Skosh is so good I spin the record back and restart it with the same dish again. A little ceramic egg filled with something aerated and mildly cheesy to spoon through until you reach the blackened leeks in treacle-like vinegar at the base. Clean it out. Order another. Repeat. Consider a third. Follow it up with the paratha, as flakey as a leper colony, and douse it with the whipped aubergine, chewy, dehydrated aubergine and sev scented with fresh curry leaf. And don’t forget the discs of fried papads loaded with a white crab meat livened with lime and a little heat.

I think that’s the end of the Indian dishes as the menu looks to new reference points. We struggle to finish the deep fried padron peppers with jalepano ranch mostly because the green notes merge into one and lack definition, though the green beans with satay cream and watermelon is a borderline genius way of drawing the best out of the veg and immediately resetting it. Lobster roll is similar to a corn dog and is a rich, almost overwhelming sausage of crustacean offset by pickled ginger. It’s fun but I wouldn’t order it again. Star turn goes to the pork dumplings that could be from a top dim sum gaff had it not been for the coriander yogurt that pulls it back towards your local indian restaurant. It’s way more enjoyable than the fusion dumplings I had at Oesteria Francescana, though that may have something to do with the company. And the fact that Massimo Bottura wasn’t scolding the amount of wine I’d drank.

Dessert is a donut served with an elderflower soda that’s less than a fiver. As were the cheesey eggs to start. The beans, the paratha, and the dumplings are all under a tenner. Nothing is much more and we struggle to spend £80 between two with a bit to drink. The night ended up fine, if you care; some average drinks in Below Stairs, some excellent ones at The Watermark. The National on their imperious form and an early-ish finish in the comfort of two single beds in a shit hole on the edge of Leeds. Don’t do Leeds like I did. Do York like I did.


Season two of the podcast is coming soon. Listen to season one here.