Arts Cafe

Arts has been part of Leeds’ food and drink scene as long as I can remember, the girls and I have enjoyed many a leisurely girly lunch here in the past. In recent times though, I’m the first to admit I’ve only really frequented the place for a quick glass of wine, once in a while, and have neglected it as an option to eat out.

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A few weeks ago a Saturday was spent with the in-laws, after a few hours spent at the shops we were all pretty hungry, and as usual, the task came to yours truly to choose a lunch spot. I was thinking something that wouldn’t be too fussy in terms of cuisine, with a decent lunch menu and of course a good glass of wine. So with this in mind, I thought it may be a good opportunity to reacquaint myself with Arts Cafe.

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Saturday lunchtime; it was busy with free tables few and far between. The menu at Arts has always had something for everyone, whether you want something light or even a three course meal, it covers a lot of bases. Drinks and food orders were taken fairly quickly and even though it was busy, our lunch was brought to the table in good time. The place hasn’t changed too much over the years, I still find it a really comfortable space, somewhere a few hours can easily be spent with friends.

Their pie special was a popular one amongst us with two of us choosing item one with fries, the other with mash. To me a pie has to have a pastry casing as well as a lid, i’m a bit of a stickler when it’s comes to this, so if I was to name it, it would be chicken and mushroom stew/casserole with a pastry top. Saying that, it was really flavoursome and they’d been generous with the filling, of which there was plenty of moist chicken in good sizeable chunks, lots of mushroom which hadn’t disintegrated to nothing and a decent gravy. The fries and vegetables were served up in two bowls (the whole thing – three bowls on a board!?!)…why does each bit need to be in a separate bowl, sometimes I just want my food on one plate! It made it difficult to eat and I ended up making more of a mess than I normally do.

Chicken and mushroom pie
Chicken and mushroom pie

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Everybody else was happy with their plates, the fish plate was a winner and so was the venison, which looked fantastic! Beautifully cooked and paired well with it’s accompaniments. 

Arts fish plate
Arts fish plate
Holme Farm venison
Holme Farm venison haunch steak, with balsamic roasted salsify, shallot puree, kale in stout  and bacon

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Apart from my gripe about the plating up, after our visit I thought the food tasted good and was reasonably priced. As far as a choice for city centre dining – Arts is still a good spot with its varied, easy-going menu, and service that’s still as relaxed and friendly as it always was. 

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