Friday, 10 September 2010

Kendell's Bistro (French), Leeds

Restaurant Review

You get the feeling of entering a twilight world below the streets of Paris as you descend from street level down a short staircase inside the entrance of this hidden French bistro. Tucked away down a side street next to The Wardrobe and opposite BBC Yorkshire and Aagrah, this is a little piece of France in the heart of the English city.

We are met by a smiling waitress who ushers us through the candle light to the strains of a Gaelic balladeer. The candles themselves are something to behold with ancient wax droppings creating a sea of white across the tables, evoking a sense of antiquity. Even though it is before 6pm on a Thursday there are already other diners present, a testament to Kendell’s popularity. We booked in advance just in case.

Quickly seated comfortably at our table, a small bread basket promptly arrives containing warm french bread slices. The menu from which we are choosing is the “Teatime at Kendells”, pre-theatre option and indeed we are asked if we need to leave at a particular time, a thoughtful touch. The choices are chalked up on a wall mounted blackboard which adds to the authenticity, and we are close enough not to need the binoculars which are provided on request. We opt for 3 courses with wine at £22.95 each.

Our orders are taken quickly but we do not feel rushed and we have already been supplied with wine – a half bottle each of house red and white, both palatable but rather watery. However as this is primarily a beverage to wash down food we are unperturbed. A large jug of iced and lemoned tap water is also provided on request.

The starter of Gratin Lyonnaise is delicious, the soup itself  flavoursome and rich with a good amount of cheese on the slices of fried crouton. The only slight criticism would be the taste of frying oil that overwhelms the soup in parts. The black pudding with apple sauce is perfectly balanced but the portion a little on the small side.

Our main courses are the stars of the show. The Salmon en croute is exceptional in a beautifully rich tomato beurre blanc accompanied by crushed garlic potatoes to die for. The Porc Boulangere is a huge dish with deliciously soft meat surrounded by crisp crackling basking in a herby broth with potatoes and vegetables. We are really too full for dessert but as it is part of our set menu we succumb. The selection of sorbets is suitably light providing a good balance of sharp and sweet, and the “floating island”, comprising egg whites atop a delicious cold, viscous crème anglaise was just right.

This is a seriously decadent experience in terms of both food and ambience. The service was excellent, being both attentive and unobtrusive. Overall a fantastic experience, however the pre-theatre set menu is very substantial and rich and probably deserves to be savoured and saved for, at such a reasonable price, frequent special occasions.,

Kendells Bistro

St Peters Square



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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your French food experience at Kendell's Bistro. It must be a great place to eat authentic French food. The Gratin à la Lyonnaise sounds delicious.

    French Course


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I have always enjoyed problem solving for friends and family and as a teacher for the last 18 years this is part of what I do every day. During the last year I have been rediscovering a passion for writing and I have recently produced a short story and several reviews for my blog - Places to visit and eat/drink in Leeds, Yorkshire UK. I am also offering my services as a freelance writer.