Love Leeds: Three of the cities most romantic restaurants
Leeds is fast becoming one of the best U.K cities outside of London for fine cuisine, with new restaurants seemingly popping up every week. Whilst it seems half of these new eateries have gone for the current U.S meat-feast trend, there’s plenty of choice from all four corners of the globe – but what about when you fancy something a little bit special?
You might be a randy bugger looking to step things up and seal the deal on that all-important, third date. You could be looking to celebrate a special anniversary or a birthday, or perhaps you just like good food and fancy a change from pulled pork and burgers. Leeds has got a good handful of gems which are a cut above the average restaurant and have the perfect ambience for when you’re looking for that Barry White, love walrus vibe, or family occasion. Check out my pick of the cities best:
Tucked away in the Round Foundry, just off Water Lane (Near The Midnight Bell), The Foundry is a hidden gem that will never be able to rely on passing trade, and it doesn’t matter; it’s stellar, word of mouth reputation speaks for itself. Step inside, and the relatively small restaurant space is warm and inviting, but with enough room to make it intimate.
When I last dined here, they brought over complimentary bread and chorizo whilst we perused the small ,but perfectly formed menu. They do offer some amazing specials too, but check out their a la carte menu here. We went for the pork belly with prawns, and I can hand on heart say it was the best I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know what their secret is, and I’ve rarely eaten a bad pork belly dish per-say, but this was so packed with so much flavour, and perfectly soft with a crisp skin- unbeatable.
For mains, we chose the house speciality – Cotes de Boeuf for two, with comes with pepper and bernaise sauces. This dish had been recommended to me by a friend, and like the starter, was just delicious. Make sure you go hungry, because you do get a mountain of beef here. As you would expect, this joint has a cracking wine list – we chose an Argentinian Malbec, but take a look at the rest of their selection here.
Side dishes can often be something of an afterthought, there to simply fill the plate, but not here. The honey roasted parsnips were so crispy, I mistook them for chips, they were just so darn good. Whether you’re celebrating with family, or want a romantic evening for two, this place really has something special.
The Foundry Wine Bar, 1 Saw Mill Yard, Round Foundry, Water Lane, LS11 5WH. Call 0113 245 0390
Sitting pretty on St Peters Square just opposite Leeds College of Music, Kendells is another diamond of a restaurant that’s hidden away from the city centre throng. This delightful French bistro is owned and run by a bloke from Halifax named Steve, but it’s so authentically Parisian, you wouldn’t guess that on entering – he must be a serious Francophile this chap. Despite being filled with art and antiques, the relatively small space inside doesn’t feel cluttered, and the candlelit tables and open kitchen only add to the cosy and inviting atmosphere.
I ate here recently for the first time, and was tempted by their early-bird menu, or ‘Menu Prix Fixe’ as they call it (2 courses and 1/2 bottle of wine £23.90 or 3 courses £26.95). As it was a Tuesday night, I arrived expecting to find the place half-empty, however it was packed out and had was positively buzzing with atmosphere. They clearly take a lot of custom from theatre fans, as West Yorkshire Playhouse is just a stones throw away, but like The Foundry, they clearly get a lot of repeat business and word of mouth trade.
To start with I had the Oeufs en Meurette, which consisted of a perfectly cooked poached egg with salad, croutons and lardons (cubed pork) – a simple but effective dish. My companion had the Saumon Fume au Raifort (smoked slamon with horseradish cream) which she loved. I think she also liked the fact that I didn’t reach across the table and dig in for a change – smoked salmon isn’t my bag.
The mains were equally impressive; I went for the Ox Cheek, which came with mash and green beans which bound together with pork fat. The meat was really tender, and worked perfectly with the Domaine de Miselle Merlot, which was far better than your average house plonk. Across the table, the duck was similarly well-received (and approved by me, as I did dig in this time).
By the time dessert came, we were seriously stuffed, but the raspberry sorbet looked to good to pass on, so we dived in. I rarely have pudding for the very reason that I’m usually too full, but this was lovely (still couldn’t eat it all mind).
I had high expectations for this place before going, due to glowing reports from friends and online, and it didn’t disappoint. I will definitely return to try their a la carte menu – it changes on a regular basis, and I’ve never seen a chalk board as packed with so many diverse specials. I had some serious food envy whilst looking at some of these dishes being sent out. Kendells really is top notch – follow them on Facebook or Twitter for their latest offers and menus.
Kendells Bistro, 3 St Peters Square, Leeds LS9 8AH, tel:0113 243 6553
If you are a proper foodie, and don’t mind travelling out to Kippax, then you really must seek out Truffles. This tiny restaurant resembles somebody’s living room crossed with a pub (and a very nice one at that), and they are usually booked up months in advance – your best bet if you’d like to go at short notice is to cross your fingers and call up for cancellations, which worked for us.
The contemporary British menu changes on a regular basis, and if you have a sweet tooth, their cakes, pastries and other desserts are the stuff of legend. For starters I went for the Warm Salad of Chorizo (8.75), which came with potatoes and onions – the chorizo was simply awesome and gave most Spanish tapas joints more than a run for their money.
The main dish of Gressingham Duck Breast (19.25) came served with potato gratin and was cooked to perfection. I can’t recall what my companion chose (this was last year), but everything lived up to the glowing reviews and we left full as a bull. As I mentioned earlier, Truffles is often booked up by families celebrating special occasions, so if you want to come here with a large party, then plan well ahead. You won’t be disappointed.
Truffles, 69 High Street, Kippax, Leeds, LS25 7AH, tel: 0113 286 4646