If a laid-back, quirky, coffee shop and a small, intimate neighbourhood restaurant had a baby, Partisan would be the result. You’ll find the independent foodie spot in up-and-coming Micklegate. Stop by Monday to Sunday from 9am-5pm for all your brekkie, brunch and lunchy needs (they serve Afternoon Tea, too), or call in on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening between 6-10pm for a spot of dinner. The brainchild of Argentinian cook/foodie, Florencia Clifford and partner, York-born Hugo Hildyard, it’s a place to truly unwind and indulge in fresh, honest food with homegrown flavour. The atmosphere is as serene as can be, even when packed, and the food is as pretty as a picture. Nice, big portions, explosions of flavour and colour, and a mini bakery at the front, filled to the brim with fresh-out-the-oven deliciousness. One of the best-looking cake counters we’ve seen in ages.
White walls with pistachio-green panelling and a smattering of colour from a collection of paintings – and the odd glint of gold from a few of the mirrors hanging up, slightly askew. Tables are wooden, chunky and creaky and placed close to one another, making the place feel convivial and even more intimate. The majority of the furniture and vintage-y bits and bobs you’ll find are sourced by The French House, also in York, and are for sale. See something you like? Just ask.
Loads of tea and all your typical coffee options. Soft drinks, too, and good selection of wine and beer in the evenings. We opted for lemonade and cups of green tea.
We haven’t had the pleasure of dining in the evening here (not yet anyway), but we can – and do – give the brekkie/brunch/lunch menu a big thumbs up. It’s relatively small, but perfectly formed, showcasing a range of dishes (all of which are cooked from scratch – nothing is frozen and you won’t find a microwave in the tiny kitchen) inspired by Florencia’s Argentinian, Scottish, Italian and French heritage, as well as her and partner Hugo’s love of fresh, homegrown herbs and veggies. There’s a seasonal nod, too, especially when it comes to the evening menu, which changes almost every week. We were also pleased to see a good selection of veggie and vegan options on offer, too.
We grabbed a table around midday and settled on a couple of dishes to share between two. If you’re an egg-lover like us, you’ll be pleased. Here, can eat them on toast, with soldiers, served the Mexican way, smushed into a warm tortilla with spicy refried beans, avo, fresh salsa and soured cream, poached and topped with hollandaise, cooked the shakshuka way with spicy tomatoes, feta and roasted peppers, or baked in a spicy Nduja sausage sauce in a skillet. There’s also the kitchen’s version of Turkish eggs (£8), which we tried – and loved. Think silky eggs, scrambled low ‘n’ slow ’til pale and fluffy, on a hunk of sourdough, joined by twists of fresh baby spinach and glossy tangles of soft, sweet white onion. Also in the mix are medjool dates, chopped into nuggets, giving each mouthful sticky sweetness, and a good amount of spice – including cumin, which we can’t get enough of. Topped with a generous spoonful or two of cooling natural yogurt and a sprinkling of almond dukka for some crunch, it’s a total winner. Our chum ordered the ‘Vegan Partisan Breakfast’ – essentially a plant-based fry-up, served in a sizzling hot skillet. It’ll cost you a tenner, but we think it’s well worth the money. In place of eggs is a generous portion of tofu scramble, infused with sweet-and-smoky rose harissa – a very tempting flavour combo neither of us had tried before. Dig around the pan and you’ll also discover slices of tempeh, cooked ’til crisp and golden brown, tomatoes on the vine, homemade baked beans, roasted potatoes, flat-cap mushrooms, avocado and salsa verde. Hearty and filled to the brim (quite literally) with fresh, homemade produce, we couldn’t fault it. Order a wedge or two of bread to mop every last bit of it. We also shared a bowl of soup (£6), made with just about every green veggie you can think of. We slurped (and dunked, with bread and butter) our way through it in minutes. Choosing puds was tough. Salted caramel, pecan and white chocolate buns, or hot-from-the-oven cinnamon buns? Strawberry and white chocolate brownies, or rhubarb, blood orange and rose loaves? Carrot cake, or lemon meringue pie? Vegan donuts, glazed in cardamom and orange icing, or a slab of baked cheesecake? It took us far too long to decide, but in the end, a warm cinnamon bun (£2.50) and a slice of cheesecake won our hearts. The bun, as big as our pal’s fist, was pure, sugary joy, loaded with cinnamon and smothered in thick, cream cheese icing, while the cheesecake (£4.50) was by far the best we’ve ever tried. Homemade and baked the proper way, it was infused with amaretto and almond, giving a marzipan/cherry bakewell tang, and made with juicy whole plums. So good, we’re still thinking (dreaming?) about it now, nearly two months on. Overall, a beautiful brunch – we cannot wait to return during our next visit to York. Put it on your list – now.