Close this search box.

Experiencing Gastronomic Excellence at Roots Restaurant in York

During a recent weekend stay in York, the highlight was undoubtedly dining at Roots restaurant. This Michelin-starred venue, operated by acclaimed chef Tommy Banks, presents an elaborate tasting menu set against a backdrop of contemporary décor, with exemplary service complementing the culinary experience. The high expectations set by Tommy Banks’ reputation were not just met but exceeded.

About Roots Restaurant

Nestled in a serene part of the city, this charming Arts and Crafts structure is a sibling venue to the Black Swan in Oldstead, mirroring its commitment to seasonal and sustainable practices. The tasting menus here fluidly adapt based on the availability of ingredients, sourced predominantly from their own kitchen garden, select local vendors, and the farm of chef-owner Tommy Banks’ family. The dishes, modern and inventive, are meticulously crafted, appearing understated but revealing a sophisticated complexity in taste. The wine selection is impressively diverse, with all options offered by the glass for a tailored dining experience.

The Transformation of The Bay Horse into a Michelin-Star Venue

The restaurant’s location in a Tudor-style building, formerly known as The Bay Horse pub, adds a layer of historical charm to the dining experience. Under Banks’ guidance, the venue transformed from a casual dining space with an informal small plates menu to a prestigious, high-end restaurant, reflecting the evolving culinary scene during the pandemic.

Tommy Banks’ Culinary Evolution: From Pub to Michelin Stars

Tommy Banks’ journey from a pub owner to a Michelin-star chef is mirrored in his other establishment, The Black Swan at Oldstead in Yorkshire. Originally intended as a pub with rooms, it quickly evolved into a destination for Michelin-standard food, embodying the chef’s growing prowess and the changing expectations of diners.

The Abbey Inn, Banks’ latest venture, represents a return to his roots, aiming to provide a more relaxed pub atmosphere, in line with his personal life changes and desire for an informal setting.

The Dichotomy of Pub and Fine Dining in Chef-Led Ventures

The article then explores similar experiences of other chefs, like Simon Rogan and Daniel Clifford, who faced challenges balancing their high culinary reputation with the traditional pub atmosphere. These stories illustrate the unique challenges and expectations that come with chef-led pubs and restaurants.

The Unique Appeal of Traditional Pubs

Despite these transformations, there remains an undeniable appeal for traditional pubs. Their informal ambience, freedom of seating, and relaxed dining experience stand in contrast to the more structured and sometimes formal atmosphere of chef-led establishments.

The Future of The Abbey Inn Under Tommy Banks

With The Abbey Inn, Banks is committed to preserving the essence of a true pub, offering a contrast to his other, more formal venues. This venture represents his ambition to create a space that balances high-quality food with a casual, welcoming environment.

Conclusion: Balancing Michelin-Star Dining with the Charm of Traditional Pubs


Tommy Banks’ endeavours in the culinary world highlight a fascinating balance between the allure of Michelin-star dining and the down-to-earth charm of traditional pubs. As these worlds collide, they create unique dining experiences that cater to a range of preferences, demonstrating the versatility and creativity of modern culinary arts.

Get Started with
Power EPOS Systems

Power EPOS is a market leader in supplying POS and Back Office technology to Hospitality companies, both direct and working with a number of accredited partners. Talk to us about your current suppliers and we will be honest about how we can improve on or complement what they do for you.

Get in touch