Monday, 9 January 2012

Town Hall Tavern, Leeds

Saturday was one of those great days when everything goes to plan. Even better than that, it was one of those days when the plan lives up to expectations.

The big event was a night on the town to celebrate a couple of birthdays and the visit of a friend who emigrated to New Zealand a few years back, the centrepiece of which was an absolute belter of a meal at Red Chilli. You can order a rather large quantity of delicious Sichuan food when there's fourteen of you round the table. Three blog posts about Red Chilli in just a few months is probably overdoing it though, so I'll just say this: it's bloody brilliant.

Lunch earlier in the day was just as successful. After a refurbishment last year the Town Hall Tavern was re-opened as a gastropub (their description) by Timothy Taylor's. The gastropub description is fair in this case, as it's very much a proper pub with good food as opposed to a restaurant in disguise. Drinkers are definitely welcome.

The menu is a standard gastropub sort of affair, pub classics set alongside some more ambitious sounding dishes. There's also a list of pick-n-mix sharing plates all priced at a very reasonable £1.95. It was from this list that I ordered a pig's cheek scotch egg which got things off to a wonderful start.

Oooh this was good. I could eat one (read several) right now. A lovely greaseless crunchy crumb encasing dense shreds of moist, soft flesh and a perfectly cooked, runny yolked quails egg. We ordered nothing more from the snacks menu, but if the rest of it's as good as this an evening of superior Yorkshire tapas and ale is going to be in order very soon.

Ale roasted gammon, sorrel croquettes and wilted greens (£8.95) was equally accomplished. The chef here is obviously a dab hand with the deep fat fryer as the croquettes were as well cooked as the scotch egg. The same crust this time filled with a velvety, slightly oniony (or possibly leeky) potato filling. I couldn't taste the advertised sorrel though, which I suspect is like basil in that it rapidly loses its fragrance when exposed to heat.

The gammon was a thick chunk of porky goodness, not overly salty and a good match with the crunchy/smooth texture contrast and mild flavour of the croquettes. The jug contained a generous quantity of decent gravy presumably made from ham bone stock.

I wasn't quite convinced by the burger across the table, as the patty was a little overcooked. An option on the cooking level would be good as it tasted like good quality meat and would have been far better served pink. Apart from sticking to theme of using Yorkshire produce I also can't see any point in using Wensleydale here. It really isn't a very good burger cheese.

Most of what we ate at the Town Hall Tavern was excellent, and the prices are great for the standard of cooking and presentation. You'd pay a similar price for gammon slung on a plate with frozen chips and frozen peas at many other pubs. I wish they would serve everything on plates here though, the penchant for serving food on anything flat that isn't a plate just irritates me. Maybe that's just me though? But really, why would you want your burger to arrive on a massive chopping board? Why?

Minor gripes aside, I loved it here. The service was good, the food was good and it would be a great little pub to drink in too. I'll be back.


17 Westgate

The Town Hall Tavern on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Strangely enough your main courses were the same as ours from the day before (see We enjoyed ours too and the burger in our case was not overcooked. We will go again!

Dave said...

How strange, just checked out your review. Those croquettes are great aren't they?!

Pavel said...

God that Scotch Egg looks great!

billy_mac said...

I went the other day. Beer was well kept. Food was greasy and poor.

Our lass got a stone cold mash with the bangers, and the bangers' primary ingredient was salt. Very poor.

My burger was OK. Not as good as the White Swan's though.

Service was very good however.

Dave said...

Pavel - it was, best one I've had in a long while.

billy_mac - sorry to hear your food wasn't up to scratch, maybe different chefs and an inconsistent kitchen? Surprised they can't buy a decent sausage though, all ingredients we had were good quality.

beauté magazine said...

waw .. yum yum .. love it

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