Aside from clocking the exuberance of Leeds’s Victorian architecture the other week I was also looking for somewhere interesting to eat. I have to admit that, in the town centre, I was beginning to worry that I would be unable to find anything more exciting than chains like Jamie’s Italian or Gaucho.
Then I happened upon this place in South Parade.
This is Sam’s Chop House, yes it is part of a chain, but only of three. I believe the other two are over the Pennines in Manchester. This particular branch is located in the former offices of the Pearl Assurance Company and I’m sure it makes much better use of the space. Designed by William Bakewell it was completed in 1911 and was one of the first buildings in Leeds to be built of Portland stone.
A quick nose through the menu, packed with traditional British delights like fish and chips, braised pig cheeks and lamb hotpot convinced me it was worth coming back to investigate later that evening. I’m glad we did because the meal we had was quite superb. I started with the pork pie.
This was served warm with a salad and piccalilli . The pastry was crisp while the meat succulent and juicy, absolutely delicious. My partner had the roast black pudding with lentils and Wensleydale bacon. She let me try a mouthful, it was delightful.
For the main event I went for the corned beef hash. this came with a poached egg and yet another slice of Wensleydale bacon.
Reputedly ten days in the making the corned beef blended with sauteed potato and creamed onions really was melt in the mouth stuff, absolutely delicious, as was my partner’s lamb hotpot. For desert neither of us could resist the Trio of chocolate. Comprising of a brownie, orange chocolate sorbet and white chocolate cheesecake it was just the thing to round off our night out before wobbling back to the hotel.
So what’s the damage? Meal for two with coffee £60 service included. We had bought drinks from the bar at pub prices while waiting for the table.
If you ever find yourself in Leeds give it a try and you will discover that British food can be every bit as good as any other cuisine.