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Anthony's, Leeds


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It's OK for someone to have had a less than stellar experience isn't it?

it is, and I know the frustration when you travel a long way and don't get what you expect, and i know matt knows his food and his opinion will be taken seriously so it's only fair to point out where i think he's been a bit over zealous :laugh:

when i read the review i first thought the dishes were all ALC and fair game, but when i discovered they weren't, i only think it fair to point out that two of the dishes used to illustrate the uninspiring menu were simple lunch dishes, made to a price point not a specification i imagine.

likewise i think it harsh to claim it is 'no different to dozens of restaurants' when it quite patently is.

most UK restaurants at this level have their roots in classical french cusine and Anthony's doesn't, they're spanish. So you should eat something here that you won't get anywhere else in the UK, that's what makes it special and why it is worth making the trip.

you don't win friends with salad

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But the dishes Matthew had and went into in detail about were from the ALC. He had the same (though plus an extra starter) as I did about a fortnight before. My risotto was great, though obviously without the inspiring feeling of first tasting it, and the JBC was less good than when I first had it (though still great). I'm still undecided on the Salt Cod. I didn't have the chicken hearts, but thought the dish worked less well than any of the other mains I've had there. Though I agree with you on 'a few misses is acceptable.'

Olga wasn't downstairs when I was there and the service noticeably sufferred.

Very fair point to Matthew on the music. Whether it's Jamie 'bloody' cullum, Joss Stone or whoever, I don't want their MOR warblings during dinner. It's always the worst bit of the Anthony's experience for me. But then I used to be a music crit, so I get particularly wound up by these things.

We're back in a couple of weeks, and I'm sure it will continue to be v.v. good. Though, of course, once you become friendly with the staff you're predisposed to enjoy it more.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Braised rib ravioli and carrot Puree, exactly as it said and ironically coming after watching Ramsay make a Oxtail ravioli on Kitchen nightmares. Slightly dry meat nothing wrong with the dish apart from it being completely uninspired.

Another dessert of Apricot Rice pudding was a very ordinary tasting rice pudding, with a fanned apricot laid on top, not even a hint of vanilla in the pudding :sad:  :blink:    . I didn't get to taste the Lemon Chiboust.

FFS it's 23 degrees outside and i really should be out on my bike!

whether Matt had them as 'his' dishes is irrelevant. He's tasted them and chosen to pick them out and use them to put forward his argument that anthonys is 'no different to dozens' of others and 'not worth the trip'.

my point is that's unfair, it gave the impression to me on first read that anthonys are serving a dull starter and desert on an a la carte menu, which has been pointed out to be expensive eg 'Given the prices tha they are now charging it is only fair to compare it to a lot of London restaurants' and that is misleading, it might be a small point but nevertheless i think it should be made.

you may disagree, think i'm too close to the restaurant or whatever. But having eaten similar dishes a few days earlier (and not being knocked over by the salt cod either) including the cocktail amuse, pre-starter, the bread with 3 butters (all unmentioned in the review) i thought matt's verdict on the food was overly harsh and certainly his conclusion unjustified.

going out on my bike now!

you don't win friends with salad

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bit harsh to have 2 courses off the set lunch and then complain that food is dumbed down and expensive no?

3 of us ate a total of 4 dishes each. We covered the entire starters and one starter from the lunch menu. We all ordered mains from the ALC, one of us ordered dessert from the Lunch menu. That's 12 dishes in total with 2 from the Lunch menu. I don't believe I claimed the menu was expensive, just that it was now comparable with London prices and as such it was fair to compare the cooking.

didn't you have any interesting cocktail amuses / pre starters that were unlike anything available elsewhere?

We had a melon and grapefruit cleanser, pleasant but not earth shattering. Amuse was a dish with half covered in Pomello and the other half with roast sweet corn - good quality corn. The bread was as reported a hundred times before. I don't believe I had the almond butter before, it was OK. Parmesan butter still the best. I can't remember the pre dessert.

most UK restaurants at this level have their roots in classical french cusine and Anthony's doesn't, they're spanish. So you should eat something here that you won't get anywhere else in the UK, that's what makes it special and why it is worth making the trip.

So what if one of the dishes was a Beef Ravioli? My last visit I ordered a dish with Cannelloni - it was different, the pasta was in fact pork fat and that is what distinguished it from other restaurants. I don't think it was unfair to order a Beef Ravioli at Anthony's and expect it to be something other than a run of the mill Beef Ravioli. Same for the Rice Pudding, sure it's off the lunch menu but it was a poor rice pudding by anybody's standards.

i continue to wrack my brains for any london restaurants that would have the balls to put pigs lungs and chicken hearts on the menu, never mind jambugo and squid, horchata, roast water melon, parmesan air, mangosteens & sweet cucumber cannelloni for example on any menu

Well Rodizio Rico has Chicken hearts on the menu and I don't think that St. John would think twice about putting heart or Pigs Lung and Maw on the menu :raz: I can't believe that you are even asking where might serve Jabugo Ham with squid :shock: Unusual ingredients do not make the meal, the finished product, in my mind, tasted very similar to a lot of other restaurants. Incidentally I did say:

The most successful starter was the braised pigs cheek, Maws and Lung

Finally what we ate wasn't poorly cooked, and Anthony's isn't a bad restaurant but compared to my last visit it wasn't pulling its weight.

For me this thread is developing a feeling of Deja Vue, something to do with a poor El Bulli review I think...... :laugh:

Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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For me this thread is developing a feeling of Deja Vue, something to do with a poor El Bulli review I think...... :laugh:

I have to say that the one meal I've had at Anthony's was sublime; avant garde, but refreshingly free of pretensions; novel ingredients, but not used gratuitously. Everything one could ask of a restaurant that wants to do something different, but without disappearing up its own arse, so to speak.

However, having been knobbled for not being 100% behind a certain restaurant myself, you have my sympathies in your attempts to express what I've no doubt is a genuine reaction. I would ask, though, do you think it's fair to judge offerings from the du jour menu as representative of what Anthony's is about? Regular trade in Leeds must be pitched at the kind of diner who regularly eats lunch in Leeds. Given this context, isn't the inclusion of conservative dishes such as Beef Ravioli, understandable?

Anyway, on a more general note, it must be about time that young Anthony hired a PR, I worry that his initial bang has not been sufficiently capitalized upon. I haven't seen his name in the papers for a while. If he's not careful, he'll disappear of the radar. These days cooking good food is not enough.

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Dirk,

LexisNexis being......................??

Paul

I went into a French restaraunt and asked the waiter, 'Have you got frog's legs?' He said, 'Yes,' so I said, 'Well hop into the kitchen and get me a cheese sandwich.'

Tommy Cooper

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  • 1 month later...

Well, after a few days tootling round Dorset (including a very nice night at River Cottage HQ), the Wooster birthday brought with it a not-terribly-needed excuse for a visit to A's. Tuesday evening. Seemingly the good people of Leeds don't feel like dressing up on a Tuesday night, so we feel a bit over-dressed. Never mind, trilby in corner, bottle of house champagne and we're off.

The big news (unless Garry's already mentioned it) is that A's now does a tasting menu at £55 a head. Anthony Sr. mentioned it a month or so ago, but without knowing quite when it would kick in. We hadn't called in advance, so were a bit hopeful with 'two tasting menus, one nothing with legs, the other non-dairy', and, indeed Holly came back with the news thay couldn't really do that on such short notice. However, we were re-assured that given a phone call the day before, neither would have been any problem. Completely understandable. So we go back to the ALC, which is basically what Garry listed above only without the 'Journey by Chocolate' and with a 'Fruit BAsket' (can't remember the actual name) instead--ten flavours and textures of, uhhr, fruit.

Other news is that A's will be shut for two weeks from around the 6th September. They're putting in a proper all-cooking, all, uhhr, cooking kitchen. Don't know what A Jr's been using up till now, but it evidently isn't good enough. Alongside such investment, they're now up to a full staff complement which definitely showed. A lot slicker and better organised than the last couple of visits (though those have been lunchtimes). Anthony Sr is also concentrating more on the business side so wasn't in evidence and won;t be as much as before. Leaving Holly in control of the bar area. No Probs.

As I always have the 'risotto of white onion' I went for it again. And it was one of the best--perhaps had been getting used to it, but the mix was just as interesting as the first time I tried it. Indeed, the overall experience and quality was up there with the best meals I've had there (which is hard to do once you've got used to it all).

I won;t go through everything. The 'Roast Monkfish' was a gorgeous light, salady selection, mixing well with the avocado mousse. Loads of cress which left us wondering where, these days, one buys it from--primary schools perhaps? Mrs W. had the Jabugo starter without the brioche, and felt it worked even better. The 'Fruit Basket' was a lot of fun, some lovely crisp apple slices, toffee apple which wasn't, ice cream, angel delight, froth. A talking point.

Because of the disappointment over the tasting menu, Anthony did an extra dish for us and I felt like Mr Marshall for a moment. It'll be on the new menu (which starts in a week or so)--Hake with beetroot. A very, very delicate piece of a fish that isn't really that delicate, on thin slices of beetroot. Again, very summery, satisfying, light. Possibly the highlight of the meal. Those of you who go straight for the beef/lamb don't know what you're missing.

All in all, a wonderful night. Full and happy, picked up the Trilby, navigated round the drunken chavs outside and off into the night.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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:angry: tasting menu?!? jealous? me??! oh nooooo .....!

Just kidding. Thanks for the update. Was looking at my diary which seem to be scarily full till September, and now I find my cunning plan for lunch in early September is foiled - curses!!

Might have to take a day off work to get there for lunch again at this rate!

Yin

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Other news is that A's will be shut for two weeks from around the 6th September. They're putting in a proper all-cooking, all, uhhr, cooking kitchen. Don't know what A Jr's been using up till now, but it evidently isn't good enough.

With tony snr's control on costs an expensive kitchen to start was obviously not the agenda, for the food they turn out, the kitchen is pretty basic and standard, certainly not a lab!

from memory on opening there was a normal stove, salamander grill, a flat hot plate thingy for the fish and a small pass. That's about your lot. They have extended the kitchen a bit already and got things like a low temp oven but it's all pretty standard stuff, oh and the bar from its nightclub days is still down there!

september closing has stopped a proposed friar/marshall roadtrip but i'm sure i will get down there soon for a fix....

oh and of course glad to hear you enjoyed your dinner bertie!

you don't win friends with salad

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Had the opportunity for a quick meal at anthony's this week, pleased to report that it is certainly firing on all cylinders ahead of their summer hols/kitchen refurb due 3rd -13th september if you're thinking about a trip.

I had two new dishes (from the ALC) with poached quail with a croissant veloute to start. I was thinking of the old risotto favourite but went for a new one, it was quite a big dish actually a bowl with the poached breasts and the trimmed legs,the thigh boned and the 'end' left on the bone. The veloute was poured over the dish at the table and was nice and rich, but not heavy.

my main was lemon sole, white peach and ham hock ravioli. On a rectangular plate there was a decent chunk of sole and under the ham hock rectangular 'carpaccio' of white peach, 2 mm thick slices. Of course being anthony's the ravioli wasn't pasta but a very thin sliver of 'pig' wrapping the ham.

A very enjoyable dish, i was tempted by the roast silver hake with baby squid and garlic cream as Tony's squid 'n cream is one of the finer combinations i've ever eaten, but in the interests of research had to try the new dish!

unfortunately i didn't have time for desert just a swift coffee and with a bottle of viognier, the cocktail amuse, amuse, bread & butters & service the bill was an eminently reasonable £55.

The tasting menu is now available as bertie mentioned, but it is not fixed or printed in the menu so it is a 'menu suprise', from what i can gather it is going down very well with the customers and giving rise to serious food envy from the ALC diners when they see the succession of plates going out!

I'm not sure what the current situation is regarding tables on the evenings but given the holiday season is upon us, the chance of a table at lunch certainly is pretty good at the moment. if you've been thinking about a trip now might be a good time to try....

Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

you don't win friends with salad

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had two new dishes (from the ALC)  with poached quail with a croissant veloute to start. I was thinking of the old risotto favourite but went for a new one, it was quite a big dish actually a bowl with the poached breasts and the trimmed legs,the thigh boned and the 'end' left on the bone. The veloute was poured over the dish at the table and was nice and rich, but not heavy.

This was on the tasting menu at the beginning of August and is a very interesting dish. The night we had the tasting their were some old favourites, some ALC and some new testers on it, in total it is a big meal but not too big :biggrin:

On the bookings front, on Friday 5th of August the first table for four on a Saturday night was 26th Nov. However they were not taking bookings for January until after they reopen in September.

David

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I managed to sneak in for lunch over the bank holiday weekend, and Sat night bookings seem to be pretty much gone for all of Dec, and I think there's only 2 tables or so left on Fri nights between now and Xmas!

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  • 3 weeks later...

On the bookings front, on Friday 5th of August the first table for four on a Saturday night was 26th Nov. However they were not taking bookings for January until after they reopen in September.

David

Sadly I have just had to let this reservervation (26th Nov) go, if you are quick...

:sad:

David

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another excellent meal yesterday, unfortunatley i'll have to wait for scott to show me his pics to get all the detail as although i took my camera, i didn't take the memory card.

and by the time we'd had our usual after 'lunch' drinks got the train home, ordered a take-away from the pub, decided to actualy stay and eat in the pub, have a few pints, go back to mates house for a swift drink it was shall we say a little later than had anticipated, so i can't be relied to get all the facts in the right order!

also tony is demonstrating at the yokrk festival of food and drink tomorrow (as is andrew pern from the star). this had completely by-passed me but actually looks very good this year.

http://www.yorkfestivaloffoodanddrink.com/

you don't win friends with salad

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Christ Gary - you need locking up mate. :blink:

My second meal here and it was for me, despite the attendance of both Scott and Gary at the same table, and even better experience than last time. Loved the beetroot foam with fresh peas (as did our little horror) . Another favourite was the Lemon sole with that knockout ham hock ravioli. I had my taste of the famed risotto with the parmesan air. I enjoyed the squab and the quail dishes we tried- but possibly a little to similar in texture. I didn't mind that much though!

Have to say my favourite was the malt with supremely sweet shrimps and razor clams - stunning stuff. Apologies for the sketchy details- it was a long day !

Lovely to see Yin and Sarah again. Tweedledum and Tweedledee I can live without :biggrin:

BTW - I think Anthony may have some serious competition for the affections of Olga- our little man developed a major passion for her during our lunch.

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Saturday rolled around and yet another weekend started with the thought 'must go to bed before 2am, am too old for such activities'. Said activities being of course sat on mate's sofa post pub, scoffing doritto's (amazing how hungry one can get after a 3 course dinner) and drinking beer.

anyway we* survived the car journey to York station and the transpennine express to leeds just in time for a swift bloody mary in ABO with Scott and Yin before heading down to Anthony's to meet Bapi, Rosie and Hugo.

* yes sarah came along too, Although the current Anthony's visits score lies something like 20-3 to me, i did do the decent thing and invite her along, and it wasn't a birthday/anniversary! (which would account for the previous 3 visits).

Whilst waiting for hugo to direct bapi around the Leeds one-way system (he's got as good a chance as anyone, despite only being 9 months old) we busied ourselves with a bottle of house champagne and waited for the call downstairs.

Once seated, the wine list was a priority, Slacker's previous excellent choice of Gavi di Gavi was going to be our choice as it did match tony's cooking very well, however there was only one bottle left and so not wanting to mix our drinks ( :laugh: ) we opted instead for the usual riesling of which i was assured there was sufficient!

Bapi by this point was very concerned about his stomach, he hadn't seen a menu and was fretting, 'calm down bapi' came the soothing voice of the regulars, if you see a menu that means no tasting menu! (although there is now a tasting menu on the menu), we're always happy to let the kitchen feed us what they think is appropriate!

First up: Shot glass of Sugar cane lime, rum and elderflower, good and refreshing

Secondly: beetroot frappe, fresh peas, mangosteen. This looked a picture, the bright purple of the beetroot contrasting with the bright green of the peas (with butter mmm) and mangosteens on top.

Thirdly: parmesan air risotto, the original and the best, you can't get sick of eating this, as winter draws in it is an exceptionally good dish. Bapi obviously forgetting the million mentions of this dish already - 'what's the brown stuff in the bottom?' rest of the table in unison 'espresso' !

fourthly: A kidney shaped dish, with at the bottom, a chestnut pannacotta, with brown shrimps & razor clams atop, finished at the table with a malt cream (i think there was also a malt 'watermark' around the dish too) very unctous, creamy, autumnal, just mmmm really.

Fifthly: Poached Quail (in milk) croissant veloute, boned thigh, rest of leg and breast of quail in a well, croissanty sauce with crunchy bits too. The exact description of which escapes me, despite me eating it on saturday and watching tony cook it in a demo on monday. Sorry it's been a long week!

Sixthly: Lemon Sole, ham hock ravioli, caviar. Nice bit of lemon sole, but star was the ravioli, i think made from beaten pork belly, excellent ham hock, slices of white peach underneath and topped with caviar- a rare excursion into luxury produce for the kitchen.

We switched to their very nice '99 santenay for the following , it's not really lunch without red wine is it?

Seventhly: Roast squab, artichoke and peanut the squab being a rare cooked breast and the artichoke and peanut a millefeuille-esque chunk of the two, lovley fresh peas and some interesting brush strokes of chocolate that looked like they had been baked on the plate prior to service.

Eigthly: Cheese two lots of seven with the picked sliced celery, mini loaves and home made crackers.

and a chilean desert wine helped the following on their way .....

Ninethly: Butter caramel, beurre noisette ice cream and pop corn, a small amuse portion but very more-ish. Caramel, butter, shards of popcorn- what's not to like?

Tenthly: Anise egg custard with tranquility tea (lime flower, hawthorn berry, yarrow, fennel, scullcap). Looked like a rectangular, shallow lemon tart, playing with some new crockery to our advantage a clean, refreshing dish, in the mold of a tarte au citron.

Eleventhly: Fruit bowl, some fresh berries and quenelles of fruit a nice cleansing finish, before the raspberry beers :laugh:

The boys then ventured into the kitchen for a look at the new toys fitted, whilst the girls had coffee.

New kitchen is very smart, made to measure and as is to be expected, idiosyncratic - with big anthony's logos on it, marco had his name on his bonnets (the cookers, not his range rover), so tony's taken it a step further!)

A plancha for the fish 'n meat, no frying pans. A brat (sp?) pan for making stocks and solid top stove (but silver, not your usual cast iron, cleaner you see). All electric and spotless. Although often tagged as a molecular gastronomy chef i can assure that if you speak to tony for more than five minutes you'll find he is not interested in science/technology for the sake of it, his expensive low temp oven lies vitually unused as they have decided they can get better results using their own techniques.

The difference with Anthony's cooking is he challenges the orthodox, why do you cook fish/meat in a knackered black pan? why add veg and herbs to stocks? Why sous-vide something and then blast it under a grill?

Anyway we eventually let Tony get back to his prep and we headed upstairs for coffee, p4's and of course calvados and raspberry beers, there is no finer way to end a meal!

you don't win friends with salad

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