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Food Review The Deer Park

The long-serving Roundhay pub reinvents itself as a restaurant, and succeeds

Food Review: The Deer Park

Taking over a well-known local pub and transforming it into a restaurant while keeping the name the same is a risk. The Deer Park, on Street Lane in Roundhay, has recently re-launched and taking this gamble seems to have paid off.

The once rather dated chain pub has been revamped to within an inch of its life and the result is at the same time bright and fresh, as well as warm and inviting. The warmth is accentuated by the fact that we rush inside to get out of the rain on a cold October evening. Obviously keen to respect its heritage, the restaurant’s décor includes several artifacts that reflect its name – pelts hung over some of the chairs, antlers on the walls – and manages to do so without being tacky.

We check at the bar for protocol on being seated but we are told to just take a seat and that someone will be sent over, which they duly are. We are welcomed very warmly by our waitress and we order drinks: I opt for a Stopbanks sauvignon blanc from Malborough,  New Zealand (£5.45), which is a lovely fresh and fruity offering from the Kiwis. My fellow diner, not a lover of wine, chooses a pint of Peroni (£3.90).

The service is relaxed, but we never feel like we are waiting for too long. This is helped, no doubt, by the complimentary bread and dipping oil, a nice touch and something to graze on as we wait for our starters (a custom unfortunately long-forgotten in too many restaurants).

We order with some helpful recommendations from our friendly waitress and the starters soon arrive. I begin with a stilton and spiced pear tart with red wine and hazelnut vinaigrette (£5.45), which has light pastry and a sweet rich filling. My partner plumps for the mussels and clams (£6.95) from the specials menu which are served in a creamy white wine sauce, a nice light starter with the welcome addition of flavoursome clams rather than the usual moules on their own. The flatbread (£8.95) we order as an extra starter to share is, while rather greedy of us, worth trying. It is laden with chorizo, chilli, mozzarella, rocket and tomato and is something like a pizza but lighter and fresher and with a good hit of spice from the chilli.

Our taste buds ready for more, out come our mains. I opt for the Scottish Highland venison steak which is served with a root vegetable dauphinoise and poached pears (£17.95). At first glance it looks slightly unbalanced with a fairly small portion of venison and a large block of vegetables but the proportions turn out to be pretty spot on as the venison is rich and packed full of flavour. The meat is complemented by the earthy veg, while the poached pear adds a different texture and some sweetness to the dish.

My partner goes for the linguine with tiger prawns, crab, chorizo and chilli in a tomato and white wine sauce which comes in two sizes (small £7.45, large £11.45). The sauce is not overpowering, which means the main ingredients can really stand out and they are not shy with the prawns – never a bad thing.

While pretty stuffed at this point we are assured by our waitress that the warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce (£5.45) is a must, so we decide to share one. We are both instantly very happy that we listened when we try it as it is possibly the best chocolate brownie I have ever had. The kind that makes you feel all warm inside with its rich chocolate flavour and gooey centre. Yum.

While the menu isn’t huge, it will cater for most appetites and tastes, with a good selection of starters, salads, pastas and mains. One minor point would be that while there are a good selection of vegetarian starters, there is only one vegetarian main, a mushroom risotto.

Price-wise, it impresses. At around £40 a head for a three course meal – and a quality one at that – with good service, the price is certainly reasonable.

The Deer Park is a breath of fresh air from its previous incarnation with the food, like the décor, light and elegant, modern yet rustic.

Posted on Wednesday 24th November 2010
Lucy Adlard

Deer Park

68 Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds, LS8 2DQ

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Comments on Food Review: The Deer Park

Comment by Dave Huxham

Posted on Sat 20th Nov 10 5:15 pm

Looks great nice atmosphere but in my humble opinion you dont get a lot for your money

Comment by Jan Mckenna

Posted on Sun 27th Feb 11 3:15 pm

Didnt even get to try anything, when we finally managed to attract someones attention ( they were chatting to other staff) we found that they’d lost our booking. He blamed the management and was not apologetic, just said we weren’t the first! He offered a table for four when there were five adults wasn’t the least bothered when we left. Luckily there are very good restaurants nearby and I certainly would not go back to the Deer Park based on that experience.

Comment by Alan Kennedy

Posted on Fri 14th Oct 11 3:27 pm

I’ve visited the Deer Park at least half a dozen times since its latest incarnation, it would have been more but I only spend a couple of weeks a year in Leeds.

I’ve dined in the finest restaurants in many parts of the world, including several mega-starred establishments and can truthfully state that many of them could learn a lot from the quality of food, presentation and service found at the Deer Park.  I have a friend who is an enthusiastic and very talented amateur chef and has accompanied me on three occasions.  He always finds some fault when he dines out; but not here.  He happily admits that the Deer Park is the only restaurant that he has been unable to criticize.

Well done to all staff there

Comment by Matt Doyle

Posted on Sun 3rd Jun 12 8:06 pm

I’ve just come from the place and I can that the Tuna Steak was the most disappointing meal I’ve ever had. It was so poor because the small portions of tuna were undercooked and served cold. The steak was accompanied with not a lot so the price tag offers little value for money. The only saving grace for the establishment was its decent service.

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