Everyone I have spoken to, who have eaten at Dough Bistro – the French restaurant with a Leeds flair – rave about it. Having studied the menus online I was very excited to be finally spending a Saturday night enjoying a sophisticated bistro atmosphere, whilst tasting high quality dishes, prepared using local produce.
On arrival I was a little surprised by the actual location which didn’t scream French sophistication, however once inside surrounded by the exposed brickwork, intimate lighting and pictures of Montmartre we easily forgot we were nestled on the edge of a corner parade on Spen lane in Leeds. We were greeted enthusiastically by our waitress, who despite her youth, had perfected the delicate balance of attentiveness. We were shown to our table and given a copy of the five course spring tasting menu and a drinks order taken.
The five course tasting menu starts with an Amuse Bouche, created daily by the team. I always feel this gives a good indication of the standard to expect as the chef has free reign over this one. I was not disappointed by the mushroom velouté. I have to confess to loving mushroom soup, but always forget it’s an option and this one made an opulent start to what was to be a very rich menu.
The next course was Aviation Gin cured mackerel, a delight to a fish lover like myself, but the course which most unnerved my companion. Dedicated to a life-long pursuit to try to like restaurant fish she was yet to be convinced. Was cured mackerel really likely to be the dish which succeeded? I thought unlikely, but it turns out when the curing agent is a very nice gin, it will. The delicate disk of mackerel was served with a quenelle of light goat’s cheese mousse, a slither of fig, red currents and coriander oil, perfectly balancing sweet, sour and deliciously salty.
Perhaps equally as adventurous on the suburban Leeds palate was the irony pigeon breast which followed. Cooked with an expert touch it was gamey and rich but without being metallic tasting and complimented with another salty, sweet/sour accompaniment. Saffron Labneh (a Middle Eastern, yoghurt based, soft cheese), pomegranate seeds, pistachio crumbs, dandelion honey and dried apricots.
As if not opulent enough already, the savoury courses hit a crescendo with a generous helping of Old spot pork belly, black pudding and dauphinoise potatoes, all presented in equally sized stacks on the plate. For those who are generally concerned about the size of portions on a taster menu, this course was hearty Yorkshire fair, which would satisfy the largest of appetites. If the portion size didn’t spell out Yorkshire to you, then the poached stick of bright pink ‘tushy’ (I’ll own up, I’m not from round these parts but I’m reliably informed it’s what you call rhubarb) on the top should.
On to the two dessert courses and I was in need of a follow up drink. Our young, extremely well informed waitress was happy to make suggestions for accompanying dessert wines and I chose the Gutierrez Colossia Pedro Ximenez from Spain which is part of the complementing drinks menu and the drink served with the Peanut butter brownie, the first of our desserts. The brownie was served with the ever popular salted caramel sauce and a peanut ice cream, but it beautifully complimented the rich saltiness of the rest of the menu to this point. This was a taster menu which made sense as a whole. The logical outcome to this was the promise of a rich yet refreshing orange marmalade crème brûlée , but unfortunately there had been an issue in the kitchen and chef was not willing to serve the crème brûleés. Our waitress was as ever professional and unflustered. She apologised and ran through the alternatives without fault and her own, knowledgeable recommendations. In my head I wanted something fruity to finish but inexplicitly my mouth order chocolate fondant. Perhaps I was unconsciously testing the skill of a chef who had failed to deliver my crème brûlée! I needn’t have been so cynical, it was baked to perfection and brilliant in its simplicity at the end of such a complex tasting menu.
Dough Bistro does have a menu for all budgets; a dish to satisfy every diner and is truly deserving of ‘Best Suburban’ in the Oliver awards 2017 – not least for its ability to convince you you’re not in a suburb of Leeds for the night.
Written by Laura Goodyear
DOUGH BISTRO I 293 SPEN LANE I WEST PARK I LEEDS I LS16 5BD
Visit www.doughleeds.com for more information or call 0113 278 7255