LUU Food Soc went to new eatery Shears Yard and told LSi all about it.
Amongst the abundance of restaurants Leeds has to offer, being the ‘newbie’ is not always easy! So when the team behind the Arts Café announced the opening of a brand new ‘independent kitchen and bar’, the standards were set high. Tucked away in a corner down The Calls, the building could easily be missed and the blank exterior admittedly gave me cause for concern. However, all is soon forgotten as you enter through the large glass doors into an intimate bar area complete with candle-lit tables and low ceilings with exposed beams. The dining area builds on this already enticing atmosphere with light bulbs hanging freely from the ceiling. Simple and yet somewhat alluring.
The smell from the kitchen soon wafted into the dining area and after such a warming start, the stage was set. Dining with the Leeds University Union Food Society, the team at Shears Yard were kind enough to create a set menu for us at a discounted rate and I started off with the Ham hock terrine, aerated piccalilli sauce, pickled cauliflower & ciabatta croutes. Upon arrival, the starter’s somewhat artistic description did not disappoint, with the aerated piccalilli sauce leading the show. Paired with the surprisingly light ham hock terrine, the two bold flavours worked well together and the ciabatta croutes were a nice added touch.
Eager to continue, there wasn’t much debate when it came to the main course, it had to be the Duo of pork- slow cooked pork belly & braised cheeks with heritage carrots & pork jus. The presentation was again superb and the taste exceptional. The pork belly was possibly the best I have ever tasted and the braised cheek was surprisingly succulent. The carrots and delicate flavouring of the jus was a nice addition to what was an excellent course. I’m also reliably informed by fellow diners that the Fillet of hake, almond crust, warm nicoise salad, deep fried egg yolk & smoked potato puree, was also a favourite on the night, with both presentation and taste getting top marks.
To finish off two superb courses, I was now expecting a dessert of a similar standard. However, although creative in appearance, I was somewhat disappointed by my choice, the Passion fruit curd & pistachio corral with crème pate, white chocolate sorbet & soil. Combined with the sorbet, the passion fruit curd was phenomenal and yet the plate was dominated with a flavourless white powder (dubbed white chocolate ‘soil’). The pistachio corral also lacked flavour and unfortunately the refreshing passion fruit curd was undermined by its counterparts. However, I must admit that following the exceptional quality of the first two courses, I may have set the ‘dessert bar’ a bit high.
As the evening came to an end, I was thoroughly impressed with what Shears Yard had to offer. The quality of the food, in both presentation and taste, combined with the friendly staff, enticing atmosphere and unique interior design, sits Shears Yard comfortably amongst some of the best restaurants Leeds has to offer.
Once you overcome the somewhat uninviting exterior, this ‘newbie’ is certainly a must visit restaurant.