Get an idea of what the best kitchens in the city can really do with these ambitious and adventurous tasting menus.
A tasting menu is an experience to be savoured. Step away from the a la carte menu and let the best chefs show you what they’re made of. These multi-course extravaganzas are a chance to push the boat out, try new things and enjoy the theatre of fine dining in Leeds. Get ready for the unexpected as the most creative culinary minds get to work.
The Man Behind The Curtain
A Michelin star and a chef who has triumphed on BBC’s The Great British Menu – The Man Behind The Curtain is the must-try tasting menu in Leeds. Michael O’Hare is the man in control of the stunningly original food here, conjuring up dishes that take you on a journey, seemingly concocted by a mad professor. The menu evolves and reflects seasonality, but you can expect stunners like scallop with tiger’s milk and plankton focaccia, or a hand roll with Wagyu beef fat, wasabi and toast gravy. Expect a few off-menu surprises too. The lunch menu costs £88, dinner £132 – it’s more than worth the wait.
The Man Behind The Curtain, 68-78 Vicar Lane, Lower Ground Floor, Flannels, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7JH.
Chef Jono at V & V
Chef Jono at V & V has really carved out a name for itself as one of the temples of fine dining in Leeds. Chef Jono – a Masterchef: The Professionals finalist – builds on the foundations of his predecessors in the kitchen with menus that are simultaneously playful and accomplished. Ease yourself into his style of cookery with the Sunday lunch tasting menu where chicken liver is paired with burnt chocolate, cod ceviche with wood ants. The Signature Tasting Menu – yours for £70 – also comes in vegetarian and vegan guises. You’ll be delighted by roast scallops with curry sauce and scraps and a truly original mushroom tiramisu.
Chef Jono at V & V, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Salvo’s Headingley home has long been the place to go for perfectly executed Italian fare, but the kitchen likes to flex its creative muscles too. Away from the ever-tempting a la carte menu, they run regular tasting events on Fridays and Saturdays. The theme might be seafood, for example, or a deep dive into regional dishes such as the Sicilian and Tuscan menus. The latter features the classic Tuscan bread salad Panzanella, Ribolita soup, chicken liver parfait with crispy sage fritters, pasta with a wild boar and mushroom ragu. That’s all a warm up for the Tagliata – rump steak, truffled polenta and red wine jus. Expect to pay around £48 per person.
Salvo’s, 115 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3PX.
Yorkshire-born Simon Jewitt is the chef keeping Crafthouse not just at the top of Trinity Leeds, but also near the top of the pecking order when it comes to high-class restaurants in the city. He crafts a seven-course tasting menu that’s a very reasonable £67 per person, with an optional wine pairing running you another £45. The kitchen turns out a luxurious dish of seared scallops with whipped cod’s roe to kick things off in fine style. After that, there’s corn-fed chicken terrine, Jerusalem artichoke risotto, duck breast with plum, perfectly kept cheese and a divine Valrhona pave. All that and some of the city’s best rooftop views too.
Crafthouse, Level 5, Trinity, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
HOME made a huge impact when it arrived in Leeds, and it’s going from strength to strength at its new waterside home. As before, you can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen as they piece together the seasonal, changing menus designed by Masterchef semi-finalist Elizabeth Cottam. The 8-course ‘short’ menu costs £70, while £90 gets you another two courses. You might be tucking into BBQ pork with prawn, peach and sweetcorn, or a smoked cola, lime and chocolate dessert. It’s a constantly innovating restaurant, with new dishes in development all the time – you might just be the first to taste a brand new invention.
HOME, 3 Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE.
In search of a tasting menu in Leeds that feels like a real bargain? Book yourself a table at Shears Yard. This Calls stalwart conjures up a fresh menu of deliciousness every season. For £45 per person, you can tear into freshly baked homemade bread, then a very special smoked cheddar royal with artichokes and black garlic jam. Duck leg terrine is rich and deep, hake fillet a lesson in fish cookery with a chicken butter sauce you’ll wish you saved some bread to mop up with. Two desserts round things off perfectly, although you can pay a supplement for a cheese board. There’s also a separate vegetarian tasting menu, which can be adapted to vegan.
Shears Yard, 11-15 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EH.
CORA is the sister restaurant to HOME and it shares more than just DNA and a love of spelling the name out in capitals – it’s equally creative too. This is an all-day affair, with breakfast and lunch served a la carte. Friday and Saturday evenings, however, are the time for terrific tasting menus that allow the kitchen to really express itself. It’s priced at £65 per person with wine pairings at £50 and juice pairings at £40. Prepare your palate for some unusual combinations, as coffee is twinned with celeriac and cod with hazelnut. Other options might feel more familiar, like stilton with cranberry. Menu descriptions are bare bones, making for surprises aplenty.
CORA, 162 High Street, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 6BW.
Set menus might be common at Oriental restaurants, but this is the only Chinese tasting menu in Leeds. Dark, lacquered wood contrasted with the neon blossoms lure you in, and the menu keeps you riveted throughout – this is not the sweet and sour you grew up on. There are three different tasting menus – four if you count the veggie option – running at £55, £65 and £96 per person. That last one is the Emperor’s Choice, which begins with Lotus Chip Mess and climaxes with the twin desserts of White Chocolate Dragon Egg and Chocolate & Hazelnut Pagoda. In between, you’ll journey through black wagyu ribeye, sesame-roasted scallops and black cod.
Tattu, 29 East Parade, Minerva House, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS.
The Owl brought gourmet dining to Fish & Game Row in Kirkgate Market, and it’s another offshoot from the HOME team. The market doesn’t just provide inspiration for the tasting menu, but also many of the ingredients. You’ll have to go on a Friday or Saturday night to try it. Kicking off with fresh homemade bread and snacks, you’ll get a range of choices across the menu, with highlights including glazed ox cheeks that fall apart into heavenly strands at even the rumour of a fork and North Yorkshire mallard with fennel, rose and Jerusalem artichoke. It’s a laidback environment, but at £52 each, this is still serious cooking.
The Owl, Fish and Game Row, Leeds Kirkgate Market, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DT.