I recently made the rather life-changing decision to move away from Leeds. One of the sadder consequences of this is that I’m now too far away from many of my favourite places to eat. Plus, packing up and cleaning my flat was a real bitch, which I only made bearable by finishing off the remaning Havana Especiale I found in the back of the cupboard mixed with Asda smart price lemon juice, it’s like a Mojito for the Jezza Kyle massive, in case you were wondering.
Anyway, enough of my secret moving motivator juice because moving really wasn’t all that bad. I’ve got a huge list of new places to check out in my new neighbourhood and, before I left Leeds I got to say goodbye to everyone . Of course, that meant lots of ‘goodbye’ meals in strategically chosen fabulous restaurants. One of those places was Hansas, which I reviewed last week and another was the king of French restaurants, Kendells Bistro.
As a multiple award winner, if you’re a Leeds local Kendells is unlikely to have passed you by. It’s got a fantastic – and having now tested it, I can confirm – well-deserved reputation. It’s often touted as a romantic venue, which may put us single people off. But, it is a great place to take a date and it is romantic, but in a non-oppressive way. When people say Kendells is romantic they mean warm, welcoming, typically bistro-esque, romantic like the romantic poets romantic. Visit Kendells and you walk into a French culinary landscape complete with commanding boards of specials, groups of friends laughing and drinking lashings of wine, twinkly lights and scintilliating food scents.
I visited Kendells with my former housemates to say a proper au revoir . We decided to choose the Menu Price Fixe and opted for the two course deal for £16.95. Though there were three of us, I limited my photography to the fodder of myself and my nearest diner because it’s become a terrible faux pas to photograph your food recently and I only had my iPhone on me and didn’t want it to land in the Merlot. Food was prompt to arrive and generous in portions. There was a good selection of options on the fixed price menu but my starter choice of roasted beetroot and goat’s cheese tart was a no-brainer, I love the combination.
My nearest former housemate dearest chose bacon salad, which featured chunky lardons from a clearly generously proportioned pig, croutons and an oozing egg too. She did say the lettuce was a bit challenging because of the stringy leaves, but overall there was a good range of textures, flavours and a good mound of food.
When I eat French I like to eat duck, because I think the French are pretty good at embracing ducks fattiness and rich flavour and it’s not something I cook at home. After the starter I knew the Confit de Canard I’d chosen would be good, but I didn’t realise how good. There were three separate sauces on the plate so i tried not to let them collide, but I needn’t have. They all worked together perfectly. All of the elements of the dish worked apart, but there was clearly a lot of thought in this dish beyond – rich meat, good veg and garlicky sauce, it was divine duck.
To my right, my homegirl tucked into this pretty bird, complete with creamy tarragon sauce and a pleasing pile of pasta.
The fixed price menu offers brilliant value – the portions were good and we were pleased that we’d opted for two courses rather than three, though I did order a coffee to prep myself for more packing when I got home. Despite there being a time limit on this early bird deal we weren’t rushed for the table. And, when we collected our coats at the desk we were even walked to the door. It was these little things that made the staff at Kendells that balanced mix of attentive and genuinely friendly without being too in your face. You feel a bit pampered without being pressured, just like a good date.
I’m often asked where my favourite restaurant is in Leeds, or where I’ve had the best meal. It is hard if you’ve been to a restaurant only once to rate them as consistently brilliant. With Kendells I got the gut feeling that you’d be gastronomically pampered each and every time you go in there. I’m so glad I made it to this fantastic place before I moved because enjoying the flawless food and glorious company was the perfect way to say goodbye to Leeds.