The Atlas Pub, Leeds

My best mate and I were overdue a much needed night out, and a must as part of the evening is always to have some yummy food. I’d wanted to try out the Atlas Pub, which had replaced Create after reading some favourable things about the place. Wanting to see for myself we met there for drinks Saturday evening and decided to stay for a bite to eat. I remember the space from its Create days with the bright white interior and eye-popping coloured seating, while the interior Atlas has gone for looks a lot different with dark walls, bar and furniture making it have more character and warmth.

They have an unusual set up as it seemed the bar staff also double as the waiting staff, it appeared to work though and I found the lady who served us to be friendly and helpful. 

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Food is ordered at the bar with a menu that’s comprises light bites and main courses. In terms of cost light bites ranged from £4.50 – £8.50 and main courses – £8.95 – £17.95. After a bit of research on their website it says they have a menu of ‘classic and modern dishes from around world’, a bold statement I thought as I’d wondered with such a range of cuisines would it be a case of Jack of all trades but master of none? To test this theory out I chose their Classic Paella and my friend the mussels dish, to accompany this a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to wash it down.

Now I’ve eaten paella loads of times and fully anticipate the cooking time for a decent one, so to our surprise it came within 10 minutes of ordering. It looked like it had all the constituents of a good paella, mussels, chorizo, prawns, saffron and rice but it was all swimming in quite a lot of liquid. 

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On taste the individual flavours of the chorizo, prawns and mussels were there, but the dish was a little wishy washy and missed the depth of flavour you’d expect. The rice was cooked but didn’t have the right texture, a great paella has rice that has slowly absorbed moisture, and in turn developed a deep flavour.  For me I love all the additional ingredients like prawns etc, but it’s the rice that really does it for me!!! Sadly the rice lacked this depth, it was a real shame as I’d just wished they’d said it would take the desired amount of time and I would’ve happily waited.

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My friends mussels dish came with a loaf of bread and even though the server was good enough to bring a finger bowl for my friend, I didn’t get one. As we didn’t have anywhere to put our mussel shells at first glance our lady was very quick and brought us an empty bowl for them, without any fuss. 

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My friend seemed to enjoy her dish with the well cooked mussels, bacon and celery adding the desired flavour she seemed quite satisfied, using the fresh loaf to mop up the creamy mussel liquor with good effect. A quirky little surprise was seeing a half and half loaf when she cut off a slice!!

Overall we had a nice meal but for me there are issues with the concept of the menu. If I was to go back I’d probably stick to safer dishes, but I shouldn’t really need to should I?

Food: I’m not so sure about the menu trying to cover a lot of different cuisines. Food a little hit and miss.

Service: Friendly, helpful staff, not overly long waiting times, a few little niggly things with service that could be easily rectified.

Atmosphere: The place had a nice Saturday night buzz  and warmth to it.

Our meal cost £38 for two people – one course each with a bottle of wine.

The Atlas Pub
Atlas House
31 King St
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 2HL
0113 244 2906 
http://atlaspubleeds.com

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