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Create, Review

Paul Clarke road-tests a restaurant with conscience

Written by . Published on September 26th 2011.


Create, Review

IN hard times, when eating out is even more of a luxury, Create’s innovative model of offering food with a social conscience is a smart move. 

The USP is that not only do they offer food, but members of their staff have a chance to change their lives through training programmes for the disadvantaged.

"It’s worth pointing that Richard may have designed the menu but he’s not in the kitchen so it’s down to his team to realise his vision every night."

But when I interviewed their award winning executive chef Richard Walton-Allen he made it clear that all that worthiness was irrelevant if they didn’t offer the high standards he’d build his career on.

First impressions are critical in the food game and Create got off to a good start as we were welcomed, seated and handed the set menu - three courses for £16.50 - and the a la carte menu. 

It is certainly a diverse menu but I wanted to test our waiter, so we asked his opinion on the starters. I was wavering between the dressed East Coast crab (£8) and the potted shrimp and crab (£6), but he suggested the crab if I was really hungry.

Salmon rouladeSalmon roulade

It was a sound suggestion. A huge portion of dressed crab meat came served in beautifully hollowed out shell complete with a fennel and chicory salad, This one of the best crab dishes I’ve ever had, wonderfully fresh and succulent leaving a real sweet zing on my tongue.

Across the table my partner was tucking into a small but perfectly formed spinach, bean and shallot salad. The green beans were lightly cooked offset by the crunch of the walnuts but best of all was a subtle rape seed oil dressing.

The Pinot Mirobello (£16) was spot on for what was going to be mostly a fish-fest, with the fruit notes cleaning the palate.

Our very efficient and friendly waiter was back with the main courses.  When I talked to Richard he sang the praises of the sea trout with croquetas and spinach, brown butter and clams (£12.50), which he said represented the best seafood the northern ends of the English coastline had to offer. 

It was beautifully fresh and cooked to perfection. The fish was wonderfully meaty and the clams were the perfect light antidote to the heavy fish. The croqueta was handmade and slightly overdone.

RarebitRarebit

The poached salmon (£12) was served cold with a salad of watercress and raw garden peas. The sweet poached salmon roulades looked handsome too, dusted with finely chopped parsely. 

It’s worth pointing that Richard may have designed the menu but he’s not in the kitchen so it’s down to his team to realise his vision every night. They did him proud on our visit.

It was time for dessert. The raspberry pavlova might have been beautifully presented but was very dry.

I don’t have a sweet tooth so I opted for a savoury dessert, toasted rarebit (£3.50). It was a splendid combination of decent bread, mustard and two cheeses. 

Create has come up with a challenging and interesting menu and it would be nice to think Leeds diners would regularly fill both floors of this impressive new addition to our city’s food offer.

I didn’t know which of the staff had the heart rending back story, because it was all about the food. And that's exactly how it should be.

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

Create
Moor View, Holbeck, Leeds LS11 9NF; 0113 394 6120

Rating: 16/20
Food: 8/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 4/5

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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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