The Lounge, Leeds
Reviewed by Sean Dodson
The Lounge is a good-quality British steakhouse set in a mock-Tudor town-house in an increasingly fashionable quarter of Leeds. The name of the establishment really refers to the ground-floor bar, a busy watering hall on the late-night circuit, but it is the first-floor restaurant that is really of interest to foodies.
The restaurant itself is a dark wood affair, all candlelight and hardwood Habitat screens, a tasteful mixture of heritage and modern styles. If the exterior says Home Counties, the interior of the first-floor dining area is modelled more on Manhattan, especially a mirror-backed bar and a long, leather bench that runs one side of room.
It’s got a strong wine list, rich with Latin flavours (and a choice of desert wines is a fine touch) and we enjoyed a very agreeable Quasar Rioja Crianza (£26.50) lush with ripe fruit flavours and easy on the tongue. The menu is a straightforward offering: half-a-dozen set pieces, a couple of daily specials and steaks from the grill. We started with a dish of scallops, pancetta and rocket salad (£7.95); and savoury creamed mushrooms (£5.95). The scallops were exceedingly succulent, the pancetta a little over crispy, but the mushrooms were a big hit. For mains we enjoyed a quartet of very juicy chargrilled lamb served with cous cous and tzatzik (£13.95); and a top-draw rump steak, the latter served with fat chips (not fries insisted the waiter) and a wonderful buttery pepper sauce (£17.95).
The portions were generous, the food arrived promptly, the service was attentive without ever hovering. Some room, thankfully, was left for dessert and here, perhaps was the only the hint of dissatisfaction. While the chef-made Crème Brule (£4.50) was as delicate and brittle as it should be, the crepes (£4.50) by comparison were a little cold and doughy, but it didn’t dissuade us from a very pleasant evening all set all set to a soundtrack of blue-eyed soul. Indeed, you could say that what the Lounge really specialises in is blue-eyed soul food.