RestaurantsWest YorkshireIlkleyLS29
HARDENS CLUB PARTNER

survey result

Summary

£114
£££££
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“We just love the ambience, atmosphere and theatre of this quirky temple of gastronomy, and return whenever we can” – is a familiar refrain from the many diners who make the pilgrimage to a small West Yorkshire town on a regular basis, to eat at this seminal establishment. Set in a 1720 townhouse, The Box Tree celebrates its 60th anniversary this year – the last 18 of them under the ownership of chef Simon Gueller and his wife Rena. In 2018 it was controversially stripped of its Michelin star, for reasons that can only be put down to fashion: certainly, our many reporters had and have detected no signs of a decline in standards. The Guellers’ initial reaction was to put the business on the market, but, recognising their continued passion for the place, they changed their mind – much to the delight of fans. Post pandemic lockdowns, their offer has been stripped down to a no-choice tasting menu (five courses plus canapé, amuse-bouche and bread for dinner, three courses at lunch), but it’s still likely to end, as ever, with a “perfectly executed soufflé”. More to the point, it’s still going down an absolute treat: “I’ve been to the Box Tree on many occasions, but my recent visit was the best ever!”.

Summary

£97
 ££££
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Why it lost its Michelin star I do not know, it was as good as ever”, so it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this Yorkshire institution has been unfairly cursed by the tyre company. Established in 1962, this “intimate and opulent” venue is Yorkshire’s answer to Le Gavroche: “a proper classical restaurant, with all the standards of service, napery, glassware, etc that we're always being told aren't important for the dining public these days”. But since the October 2018 demotion by Michelin, change has been been nearly non-stop. The star loss led to the immediate departure of head chef Kieran Smith and appointment of Samira Effa in his stead. Then in April 2019 Michael Carr joined because Samira didn’t last. All the while “despite the upheavals, the Box Tree has sailed serenely on: the chintz still looks out over the hushed rooms, Didier da Costa still presides over a great wine list, and there is still soufflé for dessert”. And practically all reports still attest to its “impeccable”, somewhat classical cuisine and “gentle, low-key hospitality that treats you beautifully”. In September 2019 – more change – as Simon and Rena Gueller announced they are selling up, despite significant investment in the property these last two years. Hopefully the next owners will just forget Michelin, and continue to do what the place has been doing so well (and it’s rated on that basis).

Summary

£97
 ££££
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Why it lost its Michelin star I do not know, it was as good as ever”, so it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this Yorkshire institution has been unfairly cursed by the tyre company. Established in 1962, this “intimate and opulent” venue is Yorkshire’s answer to Le Gavroche: “a proper classical restaurant, with all the standards of service, napery, glassware, etc that we’re always being told aren’t important for the dining public these days”. But since the October 2018 demotion by Michelin, change has been been nearly non-stop. The star loss led to the immediate departure of head chef Kieran Smith and appointment of Samira Effa in his stead. Then in April 2019 Michael Carr joined because Samira didn’t last. All the while “despite the upheavals, the Box Tree has sailed serenely on: the chintz still looks out over the hushed rooms, Didier da Costa still presides over a great wine list, and there is still soufflé for dessert”. And practically all reports still attest to its “impeccable”, somewhat classical cuisine and “gentle, low-key hospitality that treats you beautifully”. Hopefully in future, they will just forget Michelin, and continue to do what the place has been doing so well (and it’s rated on that basis).

Summary

£105
£££££
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“You have to like old-style comfort, cuisine and experience” but hitherto there’s been “nowhere better” than Simon and Rena Gueller’s “traditional and cosy” bastion (opened in 1962): “a proper restaurant, doing proper classical food, with proper service and a proper wine list”, which on all accounts has been “on top of its game” of late… so we were all the more flummoxed by Michelin’s decision to remove its star in October 2018! Soon thereafter, chef Kieran Smith parted ways, Simon Gueller said he was returning to the kitchen, and then immediately thereafter that came further news that Gueller had snapped up Samira Effa from Alimentum, when it was announced that the Cambridge restaurant was unexpectedly closing down. Alimentum was known for its cutting edge culinary style, whereas here it’s always been “the absence of dry ice and other fripperies” that folks have loved so much, so whether the contemporary shift such a move presumably entails goes down well remains to be seen. Constants, though, are the “amazingly broad wine list” (“enviable breadth and depth, and if you look hard there are some fair prices in there”), and “one of the most knowledgeable sommeliers around”, Didier da Costa.

For 31 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at The Box Tree?

Restaurant details

Highchair,Portions
16, 22
No jeans
50
10+

The Box Tree Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of The Box Tree Restaurant in LS29, Ilkley by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of The Box Tree restaurant.
Angela R
Great to have this restaurant on my doorsto...
Reviewed 2 months, 2 days ago

"Great to have this restaurant on my doorstop"

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Angela R
Excellent as always Very lucky to live in w...
Reviewed 6 months, 21 days ago

"Excellent as always Very lucky to live in walking distance!"

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Jon B
Tasty little amuse bouche of a cheese gouge...
Reviewed 7 months, 5 days ago

"Tasty little amuse bouche of a cheese gougere, filled with a manchego custard, with chilli & chorizo jam. The choux could perhaps have been a litle crisper. Nice warm bread, served with ordinary butter and a marmite butter (this not to my taste, but others like it). Pleasant salmon ballontine, with diced and sliced varieties of beetroot and topped with a soft and melting horseradish ice cream, garnished with red vein sorrel. It was ok, looked nice but not outstanding. The main course breast of chicken, nicely cooked and moist, pommes anna, very good, buttery and hot, very nice carrot, good flavour, charred leeks done well, crispy small onion rings and a very good cep cream sauce. Dessert was a chocolate delice, nice and light, on a chocolate soil base, topped with a coffee ice cream, a little caramel sauce and buttery hazelnut tuile, very good. Finished with cheese (an extra £15). A goats cheese, Yorkshire blue, baron bigod and a truffled cheddar, with a little chutney, grapes (fridge cold though), sliced apple and celery, and assorted crackers. ok. Service fine and not too intrusive apart from the usual frequent topping up of the water. I also had the alcohol free Ilkley Brewery pale ale "Virgin Mary", quite pleasant."

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Prices

Availability 2 courses 3 courses coffee included service included
Lunch   £39.50
Dinner   £85.00
SundayLunch   £49.50
  Cost Availability Courses
Menu1 39.50 Lunch only 3
Menu2 85.00 Always available 6
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £28.00
Filter Coffee £4.50
Extras  
Service 10.00%
35-37 Church St, Ilkley, LS29 9DR
Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
Wednesday6 pm‑8:30 pm
Thursday6 pm‑8:30 pm
Friday12 pm‑2 pm, 6 pm‑8:30 pm
Saturday12 pm‑2 pm, 6 pm‑8:30 pm
Sunday12 pm‑3 pm

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