Thursday, 5 May 2011

Leeds' Lovely, Lazy Lunch at the Cross Keys

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The Cross Keys Pub, 107 Water Lane, Leeds LS11 5WD 
We appeared to be the first customers of the day when we arrived just after 12 noon on a sunny Saturday. A very warm welcome was provided by two members of staff one of whom turned out to be our designated waiter, no ordering at the bar here which is a nice change these days.
The outside courtyard area where we sat was secluded and felt and looked very continental despite being just a short walk from Leeds' city centre. Our drink orders were taken quickly and were very well priced: A glass of lime and soda with chunks of real lime was 25p and a glass of coke £1.25.
I ordered a Gloucester Old Spot Bacon, Cornish Brie and ‘Big Apple’ Chutney sandwich with mixed leaves and coleslaw for £6.95. This manifested  as two huge white doorsteps of soft, white bread with succulent, fatty bacon that was crispy in places and slightly smoky, set against a backdrop of creamy brie. The chutney was a main feature being rustically homemade. Comprising apple chunks and sultanas this was a nice blend of sour and sweet. I’m not normally a fan of fatty bacon but possibly because this was a cold sandwich it really worked.
My vegetarian companion devoured the Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Cashel Blue Tart, Watercress and Walnuts £9.95. She was pleased to find such an unusual choice on the menu and described the tart as rich and cheesy with a zesty dressing on the salad which complimented the iron tang of the purple sprouting.  Overall this was considered a very good dish.
As part of the Holbeck Urban Village development on the edge of the city centre The Cross Keyes is much more than just a local pub. It provides a range of services and events for the student/young professional community that it serves. These include a quarterly local market in the courtyard selling everything from jam and cheese to jewellery and handicrafts, takeaway fish and chips. Yes you read that correctly – Roosters beer battered fish and chips wrapped in newspaper to take home, truly inspired! Also the obligatory Quiz,  a parcel minding service so you can pick up your post on the way home and monthly tasting events. The next beer supper will be with the Thornbridge Brewery on 17th May 2011!  This all smacks of very clever marketing with a useful end result.
Our visit to The Cross Keyes was a very pleasurable lunchtime experience largely because the outside seating area is so delightful and also because the food and service were very good. My only reservation is that the menu feels ever so slightly overpriced but the usual clientele are probably quite willing to pay and this is virtually a city centre gastro-pub after all. Well worth a visit. 
Tel: 0113 243 3711

Photos by Jennie Cole

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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.