Crafthouse, Leeds

It had been a while since we’d visited friends in Leeds so we headed up there a couple of weekends ago for a catch up (which obviously had to include a meal out!)

We headed to Crafthouse for our 7:30pm reservation – the restaurant itself is situated in the Leeds Trinity shopping centre which is not a destination that I would usually pick for a meal out at all…. Luckily when you’re in the restaurant you lose all sense of where you are and you feel miles away from the busy shopping centre you see in the day time

We started our evening with prosecco whilst we took a look at the menus – some of us went for the a la carte option and some for the Christmas set dinner menu. Designed by executive chef Lee Murdoch, each of the menus had a an extensive selection of really interesting sounding dishes so we had plenty to choose from

Having decided on our meal choices, we set about choosing wine. We picked a bottle of Reisling, however the one we’d chosen wasn’t available so we were recommended another. At almost double the price of the one we wanted, I had high hopes but unfortunately it wasn’t quite to my taste. When I think of a Riesling I think semi-sweet and refreshing and this was quite dry – not unpleasant but certainly not what I had expected, although the others seemed to enjoy it

Luckily, when the starters arrived my mind was taken off the wine – roast goose liver with gingerbread, miso roast apple, pecan crumble and aged balsamic was an unusual combination if ever I did see one but worked surprisingly well! The liver was cooked to perfection and as you’d expect, had a buttery soft texture that just melted in your mouth. Complimenting the rich liver well, the gingerbread was soft and treacly and the tangy sour miso apple cut through both to ensure the whole dish wasn’t too sickly and heavy. The pecans were a welcome addition bringing texture to the plate, but I wouldn’t have called them a crumble as they were mostly whole. Also, the balsamic glaze wasn’t overly noticeble to me but it didn’t feel as though anything was missing from the dish

The second wine we chose to go with our mains was much more successful that the first – a Yealands Estate Grüner Veltliner

For my main course I chose the winter truffle risotto with spinach, parmesan, burnt butter & crispy shallots. I absolutely love both risotto and truffle so I had high hopes for this, however I have to say it was a little bland and had nowhere near as much richness as I’d expect which was disappointing. The flavour of the truffle didn’t come through and unfortunately the whole dish felt a little lacking in both flavour & seasoning

For dessert I chose the ‘Gold, frankincense & salted caramel’ chocolate tart, accompanied by a glass of Blandy’s 10 year old Malmsey Madeira which was recommended. I have to say that this was a truly lovely chocolate tart – delicate pastry was filled with a beautiful silky chocolate ganache and made even more exceptional by the gorgeous toppings – a chocolate sphere filled with molten white chocolate, biscuity balls and piped caramel cream with silver leaf on top. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Head Pastry Chef Stefan Rose has worked at such Michelin star establishments as Marcus at The Berkeley & Pollen Street Social, and reached the semi-finals of BBC Bake Off: Creme de la Creme this year – the attention to detail on the dish was excellent

As with the Riesling that accompanied my starter, the Madeira wasn’t my favourite and again I wished I’d stuck with my own choice and had the dessert wine instead

Overall we did have a lovely evening, and although my risotto wasn’t quite up to scratch my starter and dessert went a long way to make up for this. The dishes that my fellow diners chose were all beautifully presented and well received, and I’d possibly visit again for lunch if we were in the area, to try some other dishes and see the difference in the restaurant itself in daylight – it is known for having great views however this was a little lost at night and from where we were seated

Visit their website here

Categories: Food, UK

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