Menu tasting free of charge.
I've lived in Leeds for four years, but I'm still a little unfamiliar with the suburbs. Journeying out of the city centre always has be craning my eyes along the journey, taking in the new eats and drinks to try.
Up past Roundhay Park is my most recent bite out of the suburbs, The Deer Park. Driving up to the newly refurbished pub-cum-restaurant in the early evening, the lights sprang out of the street. A grand white building lit up, ready to welcome guests for drinks and a brand new menu.
I can't speak for the before, but the after of the refurb is stunning; guilded accents, cosy, luxe furnishings and a brightly lit bar as the centrepiece. To welcome us into the event, there was a Tanqueray station with garnishes and cordials to enhance our G&Ts. I opted for simple berries and mint for a refreshing start, before we were seated for the evening.
The new menu has a lot of variety, including an extensive vegan offering which is always great to see. We were treated to a three course experience, myself and three guests, to get a full taste of the menu. So, what was served up?
Let's head around the table in three courses.
Truffled goats cheese. The star of the food styling, really mild goats cheese (very my style) and sweet chilli beetroot which helped dull the earthy flavour in the best of ways. A good option for a lighter start.
Oven baked king prawns and lobster, served with bread to mop up the leftover garlic butter, so fresh tasting.
Scallops of the day, cooked perfectly and another light option to start the night with.
A generous portion of duck liver and port parfait, smooth and creamy, with just enough bread to pace yourself into mains.
Speaking of... Straight into the main events. Seared sea bass on a bed of fresh greens. Fresh and light and a member of the Clean Plate Club.
Roasted rack of lamb. Matt was in his element with this serve, the meat was cooked to perfection but the potatoes lacked a touch of creaminess from the dauphinoise promised.
Slow cooked pork belly, pastrami pork cheek and scallops. An amped up surf and turf, served with the same dauphinoise.
Plant-based burger. Always a sucker for a veggie burger, this one smeared with coconut tzatziki for a fresh lift. The patty was light but a little overly moist, still delicious!
Truth be told, we could all draw a line here, but keen to show off the new menu, the dessert options were brought out, each of us picking our favourites from the menu. There were all the usuals to be expected at a gastro pub, with a few plot twists brought into the serve.
Blackcurrant mousse. So light, so moreish and beautifully presented. I wasn't keen on the sugar work in flavour, but it brought the insta points.
Baked vanilla cheesecake. A classic, living up to its reputation and serving a great portion at the end of the meal.
Melting chocolate & peanut bomb. The theatre. The caramel hit the bomb and it was touch and go as to whether it would melt under the pressure, but gently it peeled away, revealing the full dessert.
British cheese board. Modest chunks of cheese served with a fan of crackers, chutney and grapes. A good sharer and one to cleanse your palate at the end of the night.
A whole load of food to get through, it was a really delicious evening. The Deer Park is one of those places I can see being filled, with people spending ages at their tables catching up over good food. Come summer, the new conservatory area pulls back, letting in what will hopefully be another glorious British summer - I will definitely back to claim a seat.