Food and drink
An enoteca with a beautiful custom-made steel wine rack forms a centerpiece of the tasting room. Here, under the ceramic egg pendant lights and the table decorated with Joanne Keely’s prettiest flowers, those who are wary of Italian wines are quickly won over by the owner’s know-how and passion and can taste limited edition wines such as Chiara Condello, Lo Stralisco Riserva 2018, of which they are the only British retailers.
A dark, brooding dining room awaits at its Allium restaurant, where chef Luke Sanderson cooks up a tasting menu (no child or allergy allowances, but they do host event-care). Dishes may include hand-dipped scallop tartare with rosehip, juniper mayonnaise and rosehip-lemon crisp and mallard breast with Jerusalem artichoke, lactose-fermented grains and hazelnuts. Frette linens and Lehmann glasses give it a touch of elegance, but otherwise dim lights give it a slight club vibe with a cinematic window into the kitchen so you can watch the chef arrange his micro-herbs.
Pastries that would rival some of London’s best – think Popham’s or Flor – from nearby Flori are stacked in a basket alongside mountains of fresh berries and freshly squeezed orange juice for an in-room breakfast.
The bar was not yet open when we were there but now serves a range of spirits, all chosen by Daniel and Moreno.
Just walk 10 minutes down the road and you’ll find a real old fashioned Samuel Smith boozer. Beyond that, however, are the watery frowns of the Ouse, seeking the university on the left and the heart of York on the right with its teeming streets and excellent food scene (Skosh, 2 Many Wines and Cave of the Pig are unavoidable).
Vices seem to have an undercurrent of durability running through it. The entire building operates off an automation system, which uses occupancy detection for lighting, audio, heating and even hot water. Lighting and sound adjust as you move through the building, but turn off when you no longer need them. At Allium, locally sourced ingredients run through the menu and ‘junk’ ingredients have been used, such as whey from the homemade butter used to hydrate the fermented grains, rather than simply being washed away.
It is aimed at an adult market focused on wine and design. There are no children under 12 allowed and no accessible rooms, though the property caters to the polyamorous market.
Accessibility for people with reduced mobility
The nature of the building unfortunately means that all three suites are not wheelchair accessible. However, the vinotheque, cocktail bar and restaurant are all on the ground floor and are fully accessible.