White Cloth Gallery is a venue synonymous with cool exhibitions and secret cinema screenings. Ideal for city worker lunches and after work drinks. Recently they’ve worked on a new menu, one with a wider range of options, including some healthier choices. I’d gone to have a nosey, take some photos at a pre-launch tasting and was joined by four other hungry regulars who all work in offices nearby. The aim was for us try a selection of dishes, critique and give feedback, commenting on what was good, areas for development and any other ideas we might have.
The menu is divided into four areas: small plates (£6), pizzas (£8), superfood salads (£5) and pressed foccacia sandwiches (£6).
Pretty quickly we were brought lots of dishes to try, the table started to disappear underneath everything, I couldn’t keep up. First a couple of superfood salads, I found them quite tasty, but the rice and bulgar wheat dishes had a little too much oil, something easily remedied. It was hard to judge whether they were worth £6, even when told each bowl would be full during an actual lunch service. Out of these I preferred the bulgar wheat salad, with salty halloumi and coriander it had lovely flavour, the seasonal broccoli salad was also enjoyed especially in combination with the toasted almonds, giving extra texture and nuttiness. For me, and others around the table these were thought more of as side dishes, rather than individual dishes.
Next up were items from the small plates section, such as meatballs with tomato sauce and penne pasta, roasted globe artichokes with pesto and penne pasta. I can make a mean bowl of pasta and meatballs and was disappointed that even though the meatballs had some chilli heat, they could’ve done with more seasoning and were a tad bland. The pasta was well cooked, but the tomato sauce was a little nondescript and could be punchier in flavour. My favourite of the pasta dishes is shown below, it also gained praise from my fellow diners, the delicately spiced soft pork worked really well with the flavour from the onions.
A couple of sandwiches were brought out, at £6 I thought were a little pricey considering their size and a tad gimmicky with their presentation, but cute nonetheless. Both had good flavours, at £6 could definitely be bigger or served in combination with a salad.
Whenever I’ve eaten at White Cloth, I’ve always had their pizza and enjoyed it very much, the last time was in April when I devoured their pork sausage meatball with red onion marmalade and rocket oil!!! Fellow diners around the table all agreed that the pizza is usually what they come for here, rather than anything else.
I’ve always expected their pizzas to have a thin base and be generously topped, which on this occasion they were again. Faced with a selection of three pizzas, everyone dove straight into the meat options, my favourite was the spiced pork and roasted balsamic onion, I’m assuming the same main ingredients as the pasta dish I spoke about earlier. The chilli meatball pizza was tasty, but the meatballs had the same issues for me as in the pasta dish, needing more seasoning and were a little dry. I would’ve loved a drizzle of chilli oil, or even the rocket oil I had from the pizza I’d admired back in April. The poor artichoke pizza was left alone, apart from one slice that was tried, it seemed that everyone at the table were hard and fast carnivores, so it hadn’t really taken anyone’s fancy. Even I was getting pretty full by this point and couldn’t manage any more.
As this was a pre-launch tasting, the idea was to get feedback, take suggestions on board and making alterations where needed. The menu at White Cloth Gallery has now gone live, with a few pricing changes, pasta and salad dishes now £4 and sandwiches £5. Maybe this will entice more people to go for dishes in combination, such as pasta with a salad etc. I’ll be interested to pop across one lunchtime and see what the final menu tastes like and spot any improvements which may have been made.White Cloth Gallery 24 Aire St Leeds West Yorkshire LS1 4HT