Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunday supper | Rare (Lamberts Yard Leeds) restaurant review |

This week I was very fortunate to be invited down to the press launch of the newly opened RARE, bar and restaurant in Leeds.The restaurant which promises "uncommon excellence" and offers quality food, would rival any fine dining restaurant. However Rare offers larger portion and uses meat from rare breed stock which yields a higher fat content so the restaurant uses traditional techniques like brining, braising and slow cooking that although takes longer, produces a fantastic unique melt in the mouth taste. Going against traditional fine dining concepts diners can except spacious seating, excellent table service and no dress code. So whether you put on your Conserve or your Louboutin's, want a intimate meal for 2 or a place to catch up with friends, rare can "meat" your fine dining expectations, without the fine dining price tag.

 Here's just why I love Rare:

Arriving at Rare, you first enter the upstairs bar area. The seating is spacious and with the dim lighting, comfortable seating it could be the perfect setting for day drinks after a hard days shopping or quiet drinks on a date. Taking our seats we was quickly brought over a drinks menu. The simple clip board menus (what I think is genius) fit the simple "uncommon excellence" theme of the restaurant. I was very quick to spot the Hiver Honey Beer, this proved a very good choice as I was told Rare is the only bar/restaurant in Leeds to currently stock this. 

Our table was soon ready and we was lead down the candle lit staircase into the main dining room. Although the taxidermi longhorn cow takes centre stage in the dining area, the dining area feels sophisticated and cosy more like your entering into a friends dining room (a friend with very good taste in décor) then a busy city centre restaurant. 

So enough of me rambling on, obviously you all want to know about the food: 

Rare (Lamberts Yard Leeds)
Rare (Lamberts Yard Leeds)
We was seated and handed a menu each. The menu is small but for me I prefer small menus, it shows the restaurant has selected fewer dishes to showcase only the best cooking. We was also given a little bowl of Tamworth pork cocktail sausages to tuck into whilst we decided what to order. This was such an amusing yet thoughtful touch what also made me very hungry as it instantly gives high expectations as they are delicious.  

The starters:

Potted smoked duck £6.00 
Served with grilled sour dough toast and a date, fig and apple chutney.
The duck was excellent and the presentation was beautiful. The pâté was smooth and flavoursome and the tangy date, fig and apple chutney was perfect accompaniment. This starter I felt actually had a little festive theme and in some ways represented excellent home style cooking at it's finest, presented in the sealed little jar it looked every bit home made. My only criticism here is the portion is rather large so I quickly ran out of the crisp sour dough toast so I was unable to finish all the delicious potted smoked duck. 

Spicy Tamworth pork belly ribs £7.50
Served with red cabbage and beetroot pickle.
My friend ordered the Tamworth pork belly and  must say I was a little jealous. However as I had "work" to do I obviously has to try some. The pork broke away easily with the side of the fork and was moist, juicy and super delicious. The accompaniments of red cabbage and pickled beetroon worked well with the pork and made this one very morish starter.  

Rare (Lamberts Yard Leeds)s
Rare (Lamberts Yard Leeds)
Browsing the main courses on the menu everything looked so delicious. Split into the categories, cow, pig, chicken, lamb, game and veggie even with the short menu I felt spoilt for choice. The one thing I did notice is the chicken (aimed at been a sharing main course) Is described as plenty for 2 enough for 3 what again is a thoughtful touch and promotes the friendly welcoming theme of the restaurant, also making the dining experience very affordable. 

The main course:

10oz Longhorn beef burger £13.50
Minced in house and served with baby gem lettuce, heritage tomatoes, dill pickle, red onion rings, Swaledale cheese, beetroot and horseradish relish, triple cooked chips, wholegrain mustard and celeriac coleslaw. 
Lets just take a minuet to ogle the burger. Mmm. I never order burgers in restaurants (this is what my friend choose) it feels like I'm wasting the opportunity to try something new. I did however how to eat some humble pie  when this arrived. We've all eaten burgers but I've never seen a burger look as delicious or thick as this. Although my friend struggled to finish it all, this was more because it was so meaty and filling. With the traditional burger toppings of onion, tomato, pickle, lettuce and cheese even all these ingredients had been carefully selected to ensure the best in taste. 

1/2kg Tamworth pork belly £13.00
Served on sliced pickled cox English apples, wholegrain mustard and cider sauce and finished with pork crackling. 
This seemed to be a very popular choice amongst diners and there is clearly good reason for this. Firstly the portion is more then enough, in fact it could probably be shared.The meat falls away from the bones, if your like me and bones in your food is a scary thought, you need not worry your little self. The meat is moist and flavoursome and again shows just what the restaurant stands for with there uncommon labour intensive cooking methods. Sitting on top of thinly sliced English cox apples and surrounded by the cider and mustard sauce the meal is simple perfection.

Rare (Lamberts Yard Leeds)
The cocktails:

Now as if I was going to end this post without taking about my favourite topic of all, cocktails!

Although the restaurant offers a unique wine and beer list, if there's one thing I love it's cocktails. The cocktails are made with just as much care and love as the food. Served in chilled frozen glasses with weird and wonderful garnishes reflects the effort put into creating these delicious drinks. I despise any bar that charges high prices for cocktails when the bar staff can barley create a Black Russian yet my fuss pot self was very impressed. The cocktails cost around £7.00 - £8.00 and are worth every penny. I did have to double take at the menu when I read the word pancetta in their gin cocktail. I can assure you the gin cocktail tastes like fruity sherbet sweets and the pancetta is a garnish. It's like a free bar snack in your drink and nothing to fear.  

Overall I was very impressed and can't wait to return to Rare. The food shows delicious simple cooking at it's best, using only the freshest locally scoured ingredient. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is welcoming. The prices are more than reasonable and the restaurant is excellent value for money. 

For me the restaurant defiantly delivered "uncommon excellence"


Lamberts Yard
163 Lower Briggate 

Follow on twittter: @eatdrinkrare

*Meal provided free of charge*

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