The thing about being married to a foodie is that it raises your standards for fine dining. I love eating out – I tend to just be grateful that someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning away, but seeing things through my husband’s eyes for the last 20+ years has made me appreciate the distinction between food prepared with love and just food. Believe me, there is a difference.
At the weekend we ate at Bar and Kitchen @ LS1 – the newly refurbished restaurant located at Crowne Plaza Leeds on Wellington Street. We knew that the venue had undergone a multi-million pound renovation, teaming up with interior designers Murray & Willis to transform the restaurant into a modern, Scandi inspired area and the bar has an art-deco vibe. But what we didn’t know until we got there, was that the menu offered fine British cuisine with a unique Yorkshire twist. It was both modern and of the moment whilst retaining comfort and charm – both qualities that ooze unassumingly out of Yorkshire.
We were greeted at the front of house by Adreanna and taken to our table. The restaurant was calm and welcoming – a nice respite from the dark, rainy Leeds night outside, but with a few large groups already enjoying the restaurant before they headed into town for a night out, the atmosphere was exciting. Like anything could happen. Here are some shots of the restaurant…
After getting settled with a drink, we took some time to contemplate the menu. There was a variety of contemporary British classics with a Yorkshire twist. Think tear and share Yorkshire puddings with a side of succulent marrowbone gravy for dipping, or a perfectly cooked black pudding scotch egg. You can also choose from classic prime cut steaks, gently spit roasted joints and succulent fresh seafood. We opted for the sharing starter which included three items for £12. We chose Welsh Rarebit, Grilled Flatbread with Spiced Crushed Chickpeas and ‘Rip & Share Yorkshire Pudding with Marrowbone Gravy. This gravy was amazing – my husband called it ‘liquid gold’! He wasn’t exaggerating. When Head Chef Lee Miller came out to speak to us, he told us that the gravy takes three days to prepare, as the flavour is gently built up for all that time. Upon tasting it, you can tell. It really was the most delicious gravy we’d had. To be tried to be believed.
For our mains, my husband went for the Slow Roasted Belly Pork with Cream Apple Compote, Sprouted Broccoli and Cider Jus and I opted for the Grilled Seabass with New Potatoes and Green Vegetables.
The restaurant and food were very photo-worthy, so I couldn’t resist sharing this meal on Instagram from our table!
Enjoying a delicious dinner at @ls1barkitchen LS1- the restaurant within the Leeds Crowne Plaza before we head off to the Arena for John Bishop live. Here is the pork belly…. A ‘must try’! Slow cooked for eight hours to build in the flavour. Well done, Head Chef Lee Miller! #ls1 #ls1bar&kitchen #review #leedsblogger #foodie #littlestoriesofmylife #bloggerlife #datenight #snaphappybritmums #photooftheday #foodphotography #foodgram #igersleeds
Afterwards we enjoyed puddings. I chose the Creme Brûlée with a handmade shortbread accompaniment, and my husband went for the cheese board which included a lovely seasonal rhubarb cheese from a local producer. It was then that the restaurant’s Head Chef, Lee Miller came out to see us. He wanted to check we’d enjoyed the meal but also to tell us about his philosophy in creating this menu. I didn’t realise until he started talking that most of the ingredients on the menu are locally sourced. The cheese comes from a cheese-maker about 20 miles away who also makes cheeses for the Queen. The meat comes from local farms, the bar is stocked with beers from a Leeds brewery, but the locally brewed ales are also used as marinades and ingredients in some of the food dishes. This recognition of what our county has to offer in quality is a driving force in this menu, and the passion that Lee has for the food and for creating a dining experience for customers is evident. This passion is shared by his team and the front of house staff who all work together to proudly offer this bar and kitchen to customers.
Having lived in Leeds for the past 12 years, Chef Miller has not only adopted the city as his own, but also the region’s fondness for flavours and homely dishes. This menu really is your favourite comfort food with a contemporary Yorkshire twist.
Lee adds: “Great British cuisine is definitely up there as some of the best tasting food in the world, and being able to take that and turn it into something that is fun, aesthetically pleasing and delicious, is the reason I get so much joy out of my job.
At Kitchen @ LS1, you don’t just get delicious food, you also get a service to match the quality of the cuisine we put on the plates.”
Looking back at our evening, I couldn’t think of one criticism of the food, the venue, or the service. However I did have one of the actual printed menu! They are doing themselves a disservice, because the menu doesn’t get across the passion for Yorkshire food or the care that goes into these dishes. I loved my Creme Brûlée with the shortbread biscuit but I didn’t know until Chef Miller told me, that the shortbread is handmade in his kitchen – not just bought in.
If there is one point that the Bar and Kitchen @ LS1 could take on board is that the menu should be re-written. It needs a food loving wordsmith to encapsulate each dish into a short sentence, to get the customers’ taste buds tingling before they have even smelled the aromas. As a customer I want to know that the Queen also enjoys the same cheese, and that the shortbread is made fresh on the premises. I want to hear about the marrowbone gravy and how it is built up over three days to layer in the flavours. I like to hear that the slow roasted belly pork takes eight hours to reach perfection. As a home cook, preparing meals for a family, I like quick and easy meals that take half an hour to create. When I dine out, like at LS1, I love to hear the time and effort that has gone into the preparation of each dish, because it makes me appreciate the true value of what I am eating. Not just a ‘night off from cooking’ myself, but the hours and passion that have gone into my dinner.
For us the measure of a successful review is if we’d go back. I have been proud to review many restaurants in Leeds and the surrounding areas, some more impressive than others, but Bar and Kitchen @ LS1 is definitely one we’d go back to, taking the kids next time. We are dying to try the delicious marrowbone gravy again – on a Yorkshire Pudding over Sunday lunch! For our favourite family meal of the week, our next outing will be to LS1!
Have you ever eaten at LS1 or would you give it a try after reading this review? Do share your views in the comments!
Thank you to Bar and Kitchen @ LS1 for hosting our table for two for the purpose of this review and special thanks to Adreanna at Front of House for looking after us so well, and also Head Chef Lee Miller and his team for the delicious food!