It was an exciting opportunity to attend the launch of the new menu at Arts Cafe's last week. We felt so fancy. Arts is located on the busy Call Lane, but it feels like we could be walking into a bistro in France. The staff made us feel special as soon as we sat down. It has a real relaxed Bohemian vibe, with local art on the walls.
Straight away from descriptions of dishes you can tell the new A La Carte menu is a cut above the average dining experience. We wanted to sample everything! It's times like these I'm glad we have the ‘swapsies’ agreement, so we get to try two of each course! For drinks we started with the Macutu white wine, which was an absolute delight … in fact we enjoyed it a little too much! It also complimented our seafood food choices.
For starters we went for the Queen Scallops, Avocado, Quinoa & Tiger’s Milk; and Crispy Pigs Cheek Croquette, Beetroot & Smoked Apple. The scallops were fresh and tasty and the ‘milk’ super vibrant. Queen scallops are the small ones though, so bear that in mind if you’re expecting big fat juicy ones. The chunks of beetroot and smear of apple cut through satisfying stodge of the croquette. Both were ridiculously good looking! Starters stole the show.
The mains were even trickier to pick, but we went for Confit Duck, Bermondsey Sobrassada (we didn't know what this was either); and the Peas & Baby Gem; and Coley, Marinated Courgette, Black Olive & Tomato. The fish was cooked well and stood its ground with the other flavours on the plate. The duck and sobrasada (smushed, cured sausage) were punchy and rich, but the crispy bits on top were just for show. The staff were super attentive at topping up our wine up and checking everything was OK with our meals.
Finally for pudding we had the Dark Chocolate & Avocado Ganache, Yorkshire Raspberry which was just the right amount of sweet. If I was being greedy I’d have some cream too! We also had the English Cheeseboard (you only get 1 cheese, choose wisely) and switched to the ‘Listening Station’ Malbec to go with it.
The A La Carte is quite pricey as you'd expect, but a lot of the choices are also included on their 2 course for £17 or 3 course £21 deals. Their dinner menu runs until 9.30pm on a week night and 10.30pm on the weekend. We have been to Arts before and enjoyed it, but this new menu has definitely stepped up a notch! Regulars might be more used to hearty meals, whereas this felt a little more like style over substance. All in all we really enjoyed the fine dining experience and the beautiful, fresh and colourful plates of food. Definitely somewhere to impress your friends or date! Regulars will also be pleased to know that the new management is retaining the monthly art gallery element.
POPPY & KIRSTY (Instagram: @eatdrinkloveleeds)