Yorkshire village restaurant is named best in the world

Katie Morley

Brothers who took over a village pub in Yorkshire as teenagers have turned it into the "world's best-reviewed restaurant" in just over a decade.

The Black Swan in Oldstead, North Yorkshire, which is run by the pair, has been named as the "best restaurant in the world" in an international TripAdvisor poll based on customer reviews. 

It is the first British restaurant to win the prestigious title according to the travel website.  The pub was taken over in 2006 by brothers James and Tommy Banks who were just 17 and 18 when their parents stood down from running it. 

In what has proved to be a winning combination, James heads up the front of house operation while Tommy runs the kitchen.  Tommy previously admitted to the Daily Telegraph: "We had no idea what we were doing, and would just invite our mates round to get drunk."

The Black Swan Inn and beer garden in Oldstead. Credit: Richard Watson

But just over decade later the brothers, now 27 and 28, have beaten Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck and Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir to the title as the UK and world's best restaurant.  The Michelin starred restaurant prides itself on fresh home-grown ingredients which may be a key element of its secret to success. 

Set on two-and-a-half acres of land, virtually all of the restaurant’s fruit and vegetables are grown on-site or on their parents’ farm down the road, where back-up beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes are on tap.

The travel website said the winner was selected based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected on the site over a 12-month period.

The Black Swan in Oldstead has been named as "best restaurant in the world" in an international TripAdvisor poll.

The judges said: "Dishes such as squid dressed in horseradish juice, Texel lamb with turnip and mint and cake made from chicory root and blackcurrant can be found on the menu, which promises a combination of amazing fresh produce straight from the garden, alongside special things that have been preserved from previous seasons.

The young chef's achievements come despite him being struck down with ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that saw him undergo major surgery three times and spend the best part of  a year in and out of hospital. He said: "I was very low, but determined to make something of myself, so I decided to work all hours to make the restaurant a success." 

The Black Swan in Oldstead.

This involved building The Black Swan up to be a "special-occasion, destination place", simply because "no one would come all the way out here just for a nice pub".

Back then the food it served, with Banks as sous-chef, was classic and French-inspired, winning the the Black Swan won a Michelin star. But Banks was then faced with the challenge of retaining it after the head chef left to open his own restaurant. He succeeded and, at 24, he became what he described as "the youngest Michelin-star chef by accident. Totally by accident". Reacting to the award, Tommy Banks, head chef at The Black Swan, said, "Its a huge honour to win this award, but what makes it really special is that it's been awarded because of feedback from our customers."

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