Tucked away at the back of the Crowne Plaza lobby is the newly refurbished Bar & Kitchen. You'd be none the wiser from the outside, but guests of the hotel are treated to a new luxury feeling restaurant, with a new head chef that's refreshed the menu.
Myself and a group of bloggers were invited down to try the new look and of course help in getting the word out about what's on offer. All that to come of course, but I have to share how our night started (even if this isn't the standard offering). We were welcomed into the restaurant with a set-up to create our own bellinis - so simple, so delicious. The bubbles were poured, with the flavour of peach dissolved through it.
Onto the menu, after catching-up over bubbles, we were greeted with a true Yorkshire grazing platter, available on the main menu as a sharing starter.
Yorkshire puddings with a rich marrow bone gravy, a speciality of the head chef, Lee. The gravy had us stumped on the night, none of us putting our finger on the rich meaty flavour, needless to say, it went down a storm. This, served alongside a delicious Welsh rarebit, that shamelessly went brilliantly with the gravy dip.
Wrapped up in mystery in front of us was the full supper club tasting menu for the night itself, each dish taken from the full main menu so we could pick and choose our highlights. Lee joined us for the menu reveal, talking through each of the dishes and why they had made the cut.
It's always great to see the thought that goes into the detail. The produce, the development, working with the kitchen team to ensure everyone nails what they're producing. The passion was clear from Lee and with each course, he came out to share the detail on the plate and exactly why it was there.
To start, the Yorkshire charcuterie board - always a favourite for me. A selection of meats paired with an in-house Henderson relish. The relish was really unique, almost a jam with a sour tang that went perfectly with the meats.
Also on the menu, the spiced pepper and tomato soup, thick and creamy with a delicious warmth behind the flavour, served with a homemade bread roll, made fresh in house daily.
Mains on offer were based around a heavy menu of meat, all sourced as locally as possible with a goal to have the whole menu highlighting the great produce that Yorkshire has to offer. It's currently at around 80% being sourced locally, all thanks to the new chef. There's actually only two veggie options on the main menu (a vegetarian wellington or a risotto), which is definitely an area they could build on. I'm always interested in more creative veggie dishes.
I went for the venison steak, crusted with parmesan and edged with butternut squash. The condiments surrounding the meat were beautifully rich and partnered perfectly with the meat. I couldn't taste much of the parmesan but the meat was delicious, if just a touch more done than I'd normally like.
Jennie went for the braised beef cheeks which gave me food envy, the meat looked fall-apart delicious, drenched in a Leeds Brewery ale gravy, served on a bed of mash.
The finale, of course, was the dessert. The full menu is standard fair for a gastro pub style dessert selection, brownie, sticky toffee pudding, cheese & biscuits. There are however a couple of interesting anomalies, one being the rhubarb and strawberry bakewell which I got to try on the night. The second being the Cambridge burnt cream creme brulee which sounds unreal.
The bakewell was delicious and perfect to end a four course meal, really quite light with a zingy rhubarb and strawberry sauce to add a further depth of flavour. This one is a seasonal special I think, but keep your eyes out for whatever is up next, should you be visiting.
A super tasty menu and an evening of brilliant hospitality from the Crowne Plaza team. I've visited before when the new restaurant had just opened and it's definitely an improvement in flavour since then. This would be a great spot for a date night or, of course, if you're looking for hotels in Leeds. You'll find the Bar & Kitchen @ LS1 at the end of Wellington Street, head to the back of the lobby to experience the menu for yourself.