“Everything we do here is about enhancing the guest experience. If it doesn’t, we don’t do it.”

The Staff Canteen

Previously known for his fine dining restaurant Le Cochon Aveugle in York, former Great British Menu chef, Josh Overington, has now opened a new restaurant – he spoke to The Staff Canteen about restaurant Mýse, his change in direction and what success now looks like.

Based in the Anglo-Saxon village of Hovingham in North Yorkshire, Mýse is aptly named as it means ‘eating at the table’ in yes, Anglo-Saxon.

The restaurant seats 22 and offers three bespoke bedrooms – the village itself is rural and quiet, you couldn’t get more different to Josh and Victoria’s previous venture, Le Cochon Aveugle in the heart of York. The couple announced its closure in November 2022 and Josh says it was due to him ‘creatively hitting a glass ceiling’.

“It was such a small restaurant and I felt like I did all that I could do,” he said. “Also, economically with 14 seats, I just thought it was time for a change and time to find something a little bit bigger.”

Victoria Overington, co-owner of Restaurant Myse
Victoria Overington, co-owner of Restaurant Mýse

They jumped at the chance to take on the former Hovingham Inn site and although it has been a labour of love, they are now satisfied they made the right decision.

“It’s one of the most beautiful places, I think, in the country. Me and my wife Victoria, who is my business partner, are from the country originally – we always dreamt of having a restaurant in the countryside. I felt it fit my style of food a bit more as I want to concentrate on things like game and foraged ingredients.”

Opening a new restaurant in the current financial climate

“To open a brand-new business and restaurant at this time was incredibly stressful, easily one of the hardest things I have ever done – there were a lot of sleepless nights!

“But now, it feels great. I feel like it completely represents me and my wife and my team. When you come to Restaurant Mýse, the whole experience is what I want people to feel,” explained Josh.

“The food obviously has some similarities to food which I have done in the past, but it is definitely different. It focuses on local and British produce, so you won’t find things like squab or foie gras or Provence tomatoes. The style is definitely a British restaurant, serving food of my heritage so not concentrating on French food.”

Restaurant Mýse

Josh says they are looking at old and forgotten techniques and how they can make them modern.

“It’s not like we are the first restaurant to do charcuterie, but we really want to, come game season, start making it out of game and basically showing and preserving where we are from.

“It’s about generosity as well, things in the room like the charcuterie and the parkin; that’s just a gift and everything about this restaurant I want it to be like a warm hug. Le Cochon Aveugle was aggressive and it was all about ‘go,go,go’ and it was a lot about chef ego. Mýse is about the guests.

Changing as a chef and a person

Josh opened his first restaurant aged 26, and he admits he made a lot of mistakes.

He said: “I’m a lot calmer and this restaurant definitely reflects that. It’s a lot slower and more zen like. I also think as a guest sitting down at the restaurant it’s a lot more emphasis on ‘what does the guest want?’. It’s about what we can do to make the guest have a world class experience. It’s not about how I, as a chef, can show off.”

He added: “Everything we do here is about enhancing the guest experience. If it doesn’t, we don’t do it.”

The future It is clear that the team at Mýse want it to be one of the best restaurants in the UK. Josh makes no secret of the fact they would like to chieve accolades, whether that be Top 100 Restaurants or the Michelin Guide but what comes first are guests.

Restaurant Mýse interior

He said: “Loads of people can cook and loads of people can serve but what happens if we go the extra mile? What if we overhear a guest saying it was the best bread they’ve had and then give them a loaf as they leave? It’s little things like that, little touches.

“Yes, this is a ‘fine dining restaurant’, but it’s a relaxed and fun environment where people can come and forget about the outside world for a few hours. I want them to tell all their friends and everybody about how great it is here.”

Surrounded by great restaurants

Within a 10 mile radius of Hovingham there are other well-known names operating great restaurants including Tommy Banks, Andrew Pern and just recently newcomer, Tom Heywood with Pignut in Helmsley. Josh says this is ‘100 percent a good thing’.

“My grandad always said if you were going to open a butchers shop, open on a street with another butchers shop. One of the reasons I chose Hovingham was because there are lots of other great restaurants in the area, it means that there are people who are willing and wanting to go and eat great food.

“If you open in the middle of nowhere and there aren’t any other good restaurants, then there might not be people who want to go and eat duck liver crumpet!”

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd August 2023

“Everything we do here is about enhancing the guest experience. If it doesn’t, we don’t do it.”