Monday, 16 February 2015

Shears Yard, Leeds (with cocktails to start)

I'll be the first to admit that I bitched about our move to Leeds when it occurred.  But there is absolutely no denying, not even from a reluctant resident like me, that the city has a far more exciting bar and restaurant scene than is found in many other Northern cities - including, I'll concede, my beloved York.  The thirty billion (figure only slightly exaggerated) students gives it a perpetually youthful feel but even when their loan cheques have run out, there are plenty of young professional types ready to don high heels, sharp suits and hit Call Lane for a cocktail.

Well, I say young professional people - but last Friday saw me hitting Call Lane for a cocktail and I am neither of those things.  But I put on about five times more make up than I normally wear and played willing.

Before I move on to the main event - dinner at the delectable Shears Yard - I first have to give a quick mention to the Black Swan bar/pub/restaurant type place that we visited for a pre dinner drink and that subsequently has leapt straight in to our favourites list.  The espresso martini would have made me weep with joy if it hadn't been for the fact that my mascara was not waterproof.  I am going back very soon to check out the pizzas that smelled, as they emerged from the beautiful bespoke pizza oven, like manna from Italian heaven.

Espresso martini!
So, Shears Yard. We've been meaning to go for a while and if you pop over to the website you will probably understand why - we figured that if the food ate half as well as it read it was bound to be amazing.  It sounded eclectic, slightly eccentric and with a tick list of ingredients designed to appeal.

The setting itself was gorgeous and bang on the current trend for exposed brick work and slight industrial aesthetic, but sufficiently full of  twinkly lights to make it a romantic setting on Valentine's Day Eve (NB: not a thing).  And the well sized bar, which allows patrons to relax with a drink both before and after the meal, was a lovely bonus - I am a big fan of having an area in which to linger in an establishment.

But, as ever, the important thing was the food - and the food at Shears Yard gets a big thumbs up from me.  I think we knew that we were on to a winner when the bread turned up - black pudding brioche with beetroot butter - tasty and alliterative!  We were so fulsome in our praise that the waiter brought us over a second plate and while my usual policy is to avoid filling up on bread prior to a meal, this was way too good to resist.

An early review of the place found the dishes to be a little try hard, and while chatting with the owner after dinner, he mentioned that they had tried to dial it back.  That said, the kitchen seemed very keen on creating dishes with multiple component parts.  Often, this meant that the individual constituents were slightly muted in flavour - I'm thinking particularly now of a chicken liver parfait definitely situated at the lighter end of the offal spectrum - which nevertheless came to life when matched with the mini smoked chicken kiev and home made brown sauce.

I went veggie for my main course and absolutely loved my cauli cheese spring rolls with charred romesco and curly kale coleslaw.  Good vegetarian food is a thing of beauty and this was original, well thought out and sensitively treated.  D was not impressed (he is a committed carnivore) - preferring to get stuck in to a pressed pork belly dish which he deemed very tasty indeed.  A shared dessert of chocolate parfait with chocolate orange sorbet and a brownie was...well, as chocolatey as it sounds on the tin and beautifully made, even if it didn't push up against any flavour boundaries - quite frankly I don't want anyone to mess with my chocolate.

Chicken liver!

All in all, a fantastic evening.  As ever, it is an absolute pleasure for me as a diner to come across an independent local restaurant doing exciting, tasty food and I look forward to a continued acquaintance with Shears Yard.  If Leeds keeps on yielding little gems like that, I may not ever be able to leave.

1 comment:

  1. "quite frankly I don't want anyone to mess with my chocolate" - hear, hear!

    I'm partial to a cocktail myself.....

    Hope this weekend is as good.