Stockdales of Yorkshire review: New restaurant raises the steaks in Leeds
South Parade has just added a brand new steakhouse to its already impressive selection of Leeds finest restaurants, but is it any good?
I showed up to the press launch half expecting to find at least minor teething problems, but this wasn’t to be the case – Stockdale’s of Yorkshire turned out to be a complete showstopper and served me hands down the tastiest steak I’ve ever had.
Gaucho’s, Blackhouse, Rare and the rest should take note – less than a week after opening, Stockdale’s have trounced them all on service, value, décor and most importantly, quality of food – and they’ve made it look so easy.
As soon as you arrive to a warm welcome at their reception area, you can’t help but notice that this is one handsome looking restaurant.
Whereas a nearby steak joint you may have heard of has gone for a rather gaudy, cow print décor (That could have been designed by Peter Stringfellow), this place oozes class throughout and manages to do this without being remotely pretentious.
The glass display cabinet downstairs, which showcases some of their finest cuts of meat, looks like it was curated by Damien Hirst and is certain to have the male members of your party reaching for their camera phone.
Just opposite, you’ll find the swanky private dining room, which comes with a nifty remote control, enabling you to frost over the windows at the click of a switch instantly shielding you from prying eyes. Very Bond.
So, they have nailed the aesthetics, now let’s get to the food. Developed with a Michelin-star chef named Anthony Flinn, the menu is relatively small, but incredibly well put together.
On arrival we were treated to drinks and a selection of nibbles from their snacks menu in the cocktail bar which were fantastic – they would serve as a sufficient starter themselves.
The highlight was the Loughnane Black Pudding Croquettes (3.00), served with mustard mayo– so moreish with a lovely texture.
The Truffle Hollandaise and Sourdough Soldiers (4.00) are also worth a mention and came beautifully presented, with an eye-catching duck foot egg cup.
We were then ushered to the downstairs dining room, which sits opposite the open-kitchen, giving it a great ambience.
Before our appetisers arrived, we were given a short but sweet introduction by Head Chef Jonathan Elvin, who explained Stockdale’s background. All the meat served is locally sourced from the Yorkshire dales, including the insanely good Wagyu beef.
The Assiette of Starters arrived, consisting of a selection of three dishes from the appetiser menu. The King Prawn Cocktail (9.00) came with heirloom tomatoes and shellfish mayo (made in-house), and provided a nice twist on an old English classic.
The standout dish here was most definitely the Fillet Steak Tartare (9.50), which is served with umami yolk and sourdough bread. Incredibly tasty and well put together, it’s something I would order again.
The only misstep was the Potted Chicken Liver Parfait (7.00) which came with house brioche and potted Damson Jam. This dish wasn’t unpleasant, it just didn’t quite fit into the menu for me and would be best served at an upmarket, boutique B&B for breakfast.
And so to the main attraction and what ultimately sets this restaurant apart – the steak. We were served the rare 10oz Wagyu Sirloin (35.50), which is cooked on the Jospur Grill and looked unbelievably juicy, unlike any other steak I’ve seen before. Don’t be put off by the fat around the sides – this is where much of the flavour comes from.
The phrase ‘melt in the mouth’ is overused when describing good meat, however this pretty much did do just that. My knife glided through the meat as if it was butter and was truly flavoursome and hands down the nicest cut of beef I’ve ever tried.
Originating from Japan, Wagyu cattle are small, stocky and strong, which means the meat has a more intense marbling and powerful flavour than most beef cuts.
You may have heard stories about Wagyu cows being massaged and fed beer, which is a little bit of an urban legend. This may have been the case on some farms, but it’s not standard practice, so take such claims with a pinch of salt. I don’t really care whether the cows are spoon fed caviar and champagne by a bevy of virgins waving fans – just so long it tastes good.
As tasty as Stockdale’s House gravy and Hollandaise sauces were, there was no need – this steak was so rich in taste, it can be enjoyed on its own.
The sides menu is also incredibly well-devised, and it’s the little details that often make a big difference. The Beef Dripping Chips (3.00) and Creamed Spinach (3.00) were moreish and absolutely on the money. Check out the full Stockdale’s menu here.
More of a savoury man when it comes to eating out, I still really enjoyed the Trio of Desserts and would urge those with a sweet tooth to save some space.
The Toasted Hazelnut Crème Brulee (6.00) was out-of-this-world, as was the Valrhona Dark Chocolate Tart (7.00) which came with malted milk ice-cream and salted caramel.
Final verdict *****
Steak and chips is without doubt my favourite meal, and having been disappointed by the food or service at all the major Leeds steakhouses at some point, it’s nice to finally have a favourite in my own city.
Stockdale’s is incredibly well-priced, provides amazing food in a lovely setting and the service couldn’t be faulted. It’s rare to find waiting staff who known their stuff, are passionate about what they do and have the right personality to entertain too.
As restaurants go, Stockdale’s of Yorkshire are a rare breed indeed, and just might be your new favourite restaurant.