Can the new and improved Crowd of Favours cook up a proper Sunday lunch? Our reviewer went and found out…
Crowd of Favours is now a Camerons Brewery pub, thanks to the takeover from Leeds Brewery last year. It’s had a spruce up since with a lick of paint and new furniture, and when we arrived at around 2pm on Sunday afternoon, the venue felt like it had been refreshed.
We weren’t there to check out the new interior though, but rather to see if Sunday lunch was still up to scratch. We arrived at the bar to find it was nice and busy, with big groups and couples in for the same reason we were, which is always a good sign.
First thing’s first, we made the most of Crowd of Favours’ always tempting beer offering. Though it has changed hands, they still have the Leeds Brewery beers on the go. I opted for a trusty favourite, Leeds Pale, while my friend plumped for the dark, traditional stout, Gathering Storm. Both surefire wins.
The menu isn’t overloaded which meant we could be quick and decisive – a good thing when you’re as hungry as we were. There’s beef topside, whole baby chicken, lamb, turkey or vegetable Wellington. I went for the beef topside and my friend went for the lamb. There were a number of starters on offer too, from soup to breaded brie and salmon pate, but we decided to save space for pudding.
After a 10 minute wait, the food arrived, and there are few greater gastronomic sights than a plate piled high with all the trimmings of a Sunday roast, crowned by a heaving Yorkshire pudding. On my side of the table, the beef topside took up a good third of the plate, with two hefty slices folded over, pink and juicy in the middle. The meat was incredibly tender, almost melting my mouth.
Across the table, two big slabs of lamb sat one atop the other – it was a welcome sight. The thing with lamb is that if the quality isn’t up to par, it can turn into an ugly fight between meat and fat. Here, that wasn’t a problem, with barely any fat on each chop at all.
When we said all the trimmings, we weren’t kidding. Each plate comes loaded with mashed potato, root vegetables, green beans, braised red cabbage, roasted new potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy – which makes for quite the meal.
The root vegetables, a mixture of swede, carrots and parsnips, all seasoned wonderfully, with a crunchy exterior and soft interior, which went down a storm with a slice of meat on the fork. The green beans, too, were a joy to behold, and it made me wonder why I don’t include them in my own roasts.
Which brings us nicely onto the potato section of the meal, and it was a game of two halves. The roast potatoes were actually roasted new potatoes, which is a bit different, but then again I’m a bit of a traditionalist. Yet, they were cooked pretty damn well, with a soft inside within a crunchy skin.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the mash. It was the Sunday lunch’s one downfall. Bland, lumpy and a bit of a waste of space, especially compared to the quality of the rest of the plate. Even just a bit of seasoning would have helped matters.
The one thing that might split opinion is the braised red cabbage. For my dining partner, it wasn’t to his tastes, proving a bit too strong on the palate. For me, however, I’m a fan, and the crunchy, potent cabbage really injected some flavour onto the plate, adding a tangy sweetness to the gravy that covered the whole plate.
We wolfed down a hefty Yorkshire pud on top of all that, and even found room to look over the dessert menu afterwards. The service all afternoon was absolutely spot on, and to save us going back to the bar to order, the waitress clearing our plates took our order too.
There are only two options to pick from, so you’re not overloaded with choice – it’s either a sticky toffee pudding or a homemade chocolate brownie and we went for one each.
My friend’s sticky toffee pudding went down quicker than a knocked out boxer. It was light but wonderfully indulgent with the gooey toffee sauce drizzled on top. It also came with creme Anglaise, as did mine, although there wasn’t enough creme Anglaise on either side of the English Channel to save my sorry brownie.
Despite looking a treat, it turned out to be a disaster. You’d expect it to be soft yet chewy, but this one was unbelievably dry, crumbly and more like a stale spongecake than a fresh homemade brownie. After battling away for three bites, I gave up, much to my disappointment.
Despite the brownie leaving a sour, sand-paper taste in the mouth, the Sunday lunch on the whole was a success, and one that we’d only be too happy to return for. It comes to just over £40 for two roasts, two desserts and two pints, and as long as you steer clear of the brownie, you really can’t go wrong.
Crowd of Favours, Harper Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EA.