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Blackhouse review

Simon Binns eats the 43rd best steak in Leeds. Probably.

Written by . Published on February 17th 2011.


Blackhouse review

Steak and red wine is a fairly heady combo and often indulgent. But Schofield, our Manchester editor was in Leeds to meet a bishop and I’d just been named the 43rd ‘must follow journo’ on Twitter by a PR blog, so we thought we’d celebrate.

The oysters were spot on – they normally are across the chain’s half a dozen venues. Schofield said they were fresh and full of the sea, just what you want from an oyster.

It’s a strange feeling, being the 43rd best at something. For a start, it means 42 people are better at the same thing as you. They don’t make podiums with 42 places; just three, normally.

The 43rd highest-selling record in the charts probably doesn’t get on the radio either. But a hero of mine, Stewart Lee, has a DVD called ‘41st Best Stand Up Comedian’, based on a list he was once in, so I’m sort of chuffed on that level.

Blackhouse is a good-looking place, fit for the odd special occasion. Big windows, marble and decking from the outside; the same big windows, dark woods and leather on the inside. Think four-star hotel lobby.

We were in a bit of a rush – the bishop was waiting – which the front of house reacted to well; keen and efficient and very smiley, as we asked to have the starters and main courses brought together.

Schofield ordered half a dozen oysters (£9.75), perhaps hoping the bishop was going to show him his organ, and a rum steak (£17.25), medium rare.

I decided on duck spring rolls (£7), which seemed an odd inclusion on the menu, and the steak frites (£14.25), a pan-fried sirloin ordered with plenty of pink, and some chips.

The oysters were spot on – they normally are across the chain’s half a dozen venues. Schofield said they were fresh and full of the sea, just what you want from an oyster.

Schofield’s meat was a tad on the grey side, however, with some flashes of pink. A shade overlooked but a good piece of meat and he was happy enough.

My spring rolls, however, were a bit of a mess. The filling looked and smelled like cat food and didn’t taste too much better. Take them off the menu now. They’re pointless.

The steak frites arrived looking nice enough but as I cut into the middle, all I could see was grey; no pink. If you pride yourself on being a grill, surely cooking the meat correctly should be a fundamental?

The merlot we drank with it was soapy and garish, like an expensive suit that didn’t fit or looked like it had seen better days in years gone-by.

To be fair, when this was mentioned to the front of house, they apologised and duly knocked 10 per cent off the bill.

Blackhouse itself is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon with a (properly-cooked) steak, several bottles of better wine and watch the world go by, inside and out. The service and ambience is bang on.

On this showing though, there are definitely better steaks in town. Blackhouse won’t be as far down as 43rd best on that particular list, but there is definitely room for improvement.

And the bishop didn’t even turn up.


Rating: 14.5/20
Breakdown: Food: 6.5/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5
Address: Blackhouse Leeds
31-33 East Parade
Leeds
0113 246 0669

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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WoolyweaselFebruary 17th 2011.

I have eaten at Blackhouse quite a few times and I have always been impressed. In my opinion its one of the best places in town to get a steak. I usually go for the rump, medium and its always spot on.

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