With graduation day fast approaching, Leeds Student has scouted out the best places in the city to celebrate the end of your university career. This week, Victoria Gray reviews The Blackhouse Grill on the Square.
If you’re looking for that perfect restaurant to take your parents to for your graduation lunch or dinner – y’know, where you can splash out a bit (it’s a time for celebration after all) and be left feeling like Leonardo di Caprio circa Great Gatsby, rather than Titanic Leo puzzling over which fork to use – we may have found just the place.
The Grill on the Square is a classic example of a ‘fancy’ restaurant, where you are treated like royalty, but without feeling like you need to put on the airs and graces. And with a free bottle of champagne on offer for graduation groups of over four, what better way to celebrate your special day?
We visited on a Sunday evening, and were immediately shown to the bar – just as it should be. Sampling the delicious cocktails, made to our taste (being able to tell a bar man what you feel like, and then getting him to blow torch some sugar to caramelise it on top of your drink, is a luxury usually only available to Richard Branson), we soaked up the atmosphere, and pick up a few ideas for our after dinner tipples.
We were shown to our table and greeted by our immensely friendly waitress, who would be with us for the evening. The line on where such a personalised service can become intrusive is thin, and I’m (hugely) glad to say it was not crossed at all – while she remembered our orders off by heart, asking us how our dishes were after each course, pushiness didn’t come into it at all.
And to this menu – steak is the order of the day, but it is by no means the only choice. The starters list contains a list of ‘classics’ and Asian inspired snacks. A garlic rub bread, where you literally rub a clove of garlic over your bread to create a dangerously addictive appetiser, and a duck spring roll were both fresh and just light enough to not fill us up before the main event.
The steaks themselves were cooked to perfection – Blackhouse is one of those places where the phrases ‘rare’ and ‘medium rare’ actually mean different things, and the different cuts of steak are visibly different, rather than just different in price. It seems almost unnecessary to describe the juicy texture of the meat, accompanied by its sauces and sides: you’ll just have to see for yourself. The wine list is extensive too, and swapping between white and red for the starters and mains was an inspired idea.
Full nearly to bursting, we could just manage a cheese board, which came with three cheeses, grapes, chutney and enough biscuits spend a great deal of time picking at over another glass of wine.
We then headed to the heated terrace to mull over our meal and watch passers by in the square while enjoying a fascinating ‘Smoky Old Fashioned’ – a whiskey cocktail that comes in a decanter filled with ash smoke, to give the effect of smoking a cigar while drinking a whiskey. This rather summarises the experience of Blackhouse: classic, but with a twist. A real treat – and ideal as a solution to that ‘nice restaurant’ you want to take your family to on your graduation day.
Blackhouse are offering a complimentary bottle of champagne for graduation parties when you book for a group of four or more. They also have an extensive lunch menu. Click here to visit their Leeds website and book a table for graduation , or call 0113 246 0669.