Friday, 2 September 2011

Reviews Restaurant - Leeds Art Gallery Café

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Deceptively substantial and delicious

Leeds Art Gallery Cafe

Walking into the Art Gallery café is a little like walking into the foyer of an exclusive London hotel, and therefore slightly intimidating. This impression is created by the original, ornate tiles on the walls and floor which were uncovered by a restoration project about four years ago and the enormous leafy palms in beautiful planters that are dotted around the place. In fact this area between the Art gallery and Leeds Central library was closed up and hidden for many years but has now been opened up again for everyone to enjoy.
I was very impressed by the efficiency of the service and once in the queue to be served any feelings of trepidation soon disappeared, and I was served very quickly. As I was eating alone  I attempted to choose a varied plate to comment on.  My choice was a sandwich and salad combo for £6.50. I opted for a pasta salad with chorizo and a mozzarella and tomato focaccia.
There was a choice of any sandwich and salad from the choice of three, and sandwich and soup for the same price. Any of these were also available on their own as well and priced accordingly. There was a good selection of sandwiches including pleasing choices for vegetarians, most notably a mixed bean wrap. The soups were tomato and basil and mushroom and goats cheese.
Taking my diet coke to my table, I could have chosen from a variety of speciality coffees, teas and cold drinks, my food order followed promptly with charming service from the young man who attended to me. The food was impressive: The orzo pasta was just like rice in appearance and texture and a delicious accompaniment to the small cubes of tasty, garlic infused chorizo and red pepper, offset beautifully by sun blush tomato, parsley and fragrant coriander. The bowl appeared quite dainty but with each forkful taken the quantity didn’t seem to diminish.
 The herb focaccia with baby spinach, pesto and vine tomato was lightly toasted and substantial. The pesto was a little overwhelming but nonetheless the combination was delicious. I was surprised by how filling this lunch was. In fact I had to take half the focaccia away with me in a napkin and I do not have a small appetite.
This was a little like the best of aeroplane food, before the changes, ( I intend to start a campaign to bring back proper three course aeroplane meals included in the price of your ticket). Hence my lunch at the Art Gallery Café did not look very much in terms of quantity, but this initial impression was deceptive because it was very filling as well as being scrumptious. As we all know it was a perennial mystery why those small ceramic bowls of food served up en route to our holiday destination were so filling. I had always believed it was to do with altitude but having been so replete at the Art Gallery café this week I’m beginning to wonder?!
I strongly recommend a lunch visit here. They also offer a hot dish of the day which on my visit was a curried beef pie with Bombay potatoes and a riata style sauce, which I’m assured was delicious. The surroundings are opulent and the food is good and delivered promptly.
 Leeds Art Gallery Café, The Headrow, Leeds LS1

Lunch deal at the Art Gallery Cafe

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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.