This Sunday we had lunch at The Hungry Bear, for one reason or another it’s taken me ages to get to Meanwood and try them out. The last time I ate here was months ago at Zucco, the independent Italian ‘small plate’ restaurant just across the road. They opened last year and have joined the rest of the Meanwood food scene, which is becoming a bit of a haven with some great bars, cafes and restaurants, such as East of Arcadia, Alfred bar and the aforementioned Zucco. On appearance the exterior of the place is quite unassuming, but as you walk closer the sight of The Hungry Bear becomes apparent. On entering it’s quite small and petite, nicely decked out with large grey slate tiles, walls adorned tastefully with prints and a lovely selection of wooden tables and chairs which looked just right in their surroundings.
Our server brought us some menus and immediately pointed us to their homemade ales, which are brewed on the premises upstairs, but we decided to opt for some wine which was reasonably priced. This was quickly brought over with some tap water, which was a really nice touch.
After a quick nosey at the menu, we both fancied two courses so two courses it was!! They had a good looking menu with quite a few dishes from both starters and main courses that would have suited me just fine!!! We were on paper spoilt for choice. Starters are priced between £4.50 – £7 and main courses £8.90 – £14.50.
We decided to start with scallops and smoked salmon, then for the main course I won the battle of the belly pork on this occasion, my other half had to settle for his second choice of the burger. While the starters were being prepared we were brought an amuse bouche, which was a lovely surprise. A white onion velouté to be exact which was delicious, light but creamy, well seasoned and full of flavour. A fantastic start, and definitely a good sign for the rest of the meal!
I must say we felt comfortable very quickly here and found the place homely, even though the restaurant is on a well known busy road, I know this all too well from running countless times up Stonegate and Meanwood Road while training for one of my silly races, you really wouldn’t think it from the inside at all.
Our starters arrived not long after with great anticipation and didn’t disappoint.
Both went down really well, my scallops were well cooked, no sign of these being rubbery little bullets, the chorizo added smokiness, and with the salty crispy pancetta it was a great combination. The other half also devoured his starter in a matter of minutes, the salmon accurately smoked was accompanied by a well flavoured, smooth puree. The crisps were good in flavour, the chive one could have been thinner and more crisp, but did deliver on taste.
Our main courses looked very appetising and after taking my compulsory snaps I dove right in. I was loving the look of my plate, regular readers may have read of my love of belly pork and this reaffirmed my affection for this cut of meat. Moist, juicy and flavourful, partnered by a lovely puree, iron rich greens and a hearty cassoulet, all of which really worked. I loved every mouthful. Oh, I can’t forget the crackling, one of the best I’ve had in a long time, cooked attached to the belly so it possessed a good mix of crispness while also having that sticky, chewy texture. A great crackling! I was a good girl though, sharing it with the other half who also showered it with equal amounts of praise.
The other half’s burger looked great too, being gluten intolerant he left the bread, which I happily ate. His comments about the dish were that the burger was good, well cooked and was topped with good pulled pork. He wished there’d been more pulled pork though as it was rather tasty. The chips were excellent and were incredibly soft in the middle with a good crust on the outside. The burger patty on its own could have done with being a tad more flavourful, but when eaten with the pepper, relish and lettuce was a tasty mouthful.
So far so good, our Sunday lunch was going really well! We had a nosey at the desserts and by my surprise we both ordered one.
The other half’s passion fruit brûlée was lacking in passion fruit, but this really suited him as he loves traditional creme brûlée, it being one of his favourite desserts. So even though the passion fruit was absent, he certainly wasn’t complaining and thought it was excellent!! I’m not one who would not normally order a sponge based dessert, but this was YUMMY and incredibly moist. The cake was really light, airy, had lots of poppy seeds throughout and came with a great taste of orange.
Overall we had a lovely meal in The Hungry Bear. It’s been a while since I ate in Meanwood last, but I’ll certainly be back a lot sooner, and probably at The Hungry Bear!!
I definitely recommend it!!
Food: Nice size menu, enough choice for everyone from starters to desserts. Tastes great and very satisfying.
Service: Friendly service, staff unfussy but efficient and attentive when needed. Food arrived from the kitchen in good time and there were no overly long waiting times.
Atmosphere: Lovely and cosy atmosphere, nice ambience. Not pretentious in any way.The Hungry Bear
10 – 14 Stonegate Road
Leeds 0113 2740241 http://www.thehungrybear.co.uk