THAT'S MORE THAN JUST FISH AND CHIPS
Since 1934 Bryans in Headingley have been synonymous with quality fish and chips.
All through the Second World War it kept open as fish was one of the few foods not be rationed and supplemented the family’s weekly diet. People queued for hours around Bryans and when fish was scarce they made home made fishcakes.
After the war it became the destination for an outing with people taking the tram to Headingley from other parts of the city just to enjoy Bryan’s offerings.
My very first recollections of Bryans was as a small child when my mother would take me for a walk around Weetwood and we’d collect things for the school ‘nature table’ and end up with fish and chips from Bryans.
Years later every time I visited from Australia I’d meet up with friends at Bryan’s fish and chip café to sample one of the things I missed most about living in ‘Oz’. Likewise it is always a favourite must visit spot when my friends from the Antipodes or the U.S.A. visit and they love it.
In 1999 Bryans had one American visitor in the form of Monica Lewinsky and Andrew Morton during her book launch tour. Dewsbury born and ex-Leeds Grammar School boy Andrew obviously knew where to find the best fish and chip café.
It wasn’t unusual to spot the odd celebrity in Bryans in the past though as it was a favourite spot with leading actors from The Grand Theatre on their non-matinee days.
The furnishings in the café were pretty basic but comfortable with booth seating covered in red vinyl and formica topped tables with mats and your fish and chips were always accompanied by a pot of tea and slices of bread and butter.
Over the years Bryans has tried to re-invent its image many times with a series of nips and tucks but nothing as radical as the £250k makeover by its new owners.
For Catch as its now known has been given a definite WOW factor with its new look and menu.
Gone are the bench vinyl seating, the bread and butter plates and there’s not a leaking tea-pot in sight!
Entering the black and white tiled restaurant I was truly amazed at the difference and its relaxed ambience. The black and white tiled floor and elegant seating with a choice of bench or table seating the dried floor, grass ceiling feature and sophisticated lighting certainly have transformed this place. There’s also a full stocked bar in turquoise tiling that sparkles and lights up the corner of the restaurant.
Catch adheres to social distancing and all the government’s regulations after Covid 19. Top marks to Catch for putting on each table a house rules guide which gives in a friendly and informal way tips about social distancing rules.
Whilst we perused the menu I decided to try one of the many cocktails on offer – I never thought in my wildest dreams in the past I’d ever be having a cocktail on these premises. The Catch cocktail menu has five choices all made and shaken behind the bar with some quirky twists.
I chose the Adult Movie Martini with vodka, vanilla, passion fruit liqueur, passion fruit and lime. A very tangy and tasty cocktail that looked as good as it tasted.
My partner opted for a glass of their own brand draught Catch Lager which did not disappoint.
There is a good wine list with wine by the bottle and glass at very reasonable prices and a good selection of spirits, soft drinks and beers.
It was hard to choose our starters as there are so many, including Lindisfarne Oysters which we unanimously decided to give a miss as I just dislike them and my partner has an allergy to them.
My partner decided on Prawn Cocktail, which was beautifully presented. The prawns were succulent and there were plenty and the lettuce crisp with a tasty Marie Rose sauce – even the butter sitting on top of artisan bakery rye bread was artistically sculpted.
My choice was the Tempura Tiger Prawns which came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. There was a large portion of prawns covered in a crispy batter that was hot and tasty.
For mains we both decided on traditional fish and chips although we were tempted by the Simply Fish Menu which consists of five fishes (subject to availability) and has a choice of garnish including Roast Squash, Gnocchi, Sage, Rose Cauliflower and Orange Salad and lots of other mouth watering accompaniments plus a Signature Seafood Grill and a Surf and Turf
When our fish and chips arrived I was over the moon with them and my partner was, as he, being a Londoner isn’t used to them being cooked down there as we do ‘up north’ – the main reason being they don’t always fry in traditional beef dripping the secret of Catch’s fish and chips.
The double cooked chips were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and I thought my gran was in the kitchen as the mushy peas were just like she used to make delicious!
We had to take a break before we could even look at the dessert menu. My partner opted for the ice cream three scoops of his choice which included some creamy strawberry that really did taste of strawberries.
My heaven on a plate came in the shape of Lemon Posset something I love. It came slightly chilled as it should do. It was smooth and had a beautiful creamy texture but the best thing about it was the taste of real lemons blended into the mixture.
My partner finished his meal with a Double Espresso from the large choice of coffees and hot drinks and me – I am sorry but I couldn’t resist trying another cocktail in the shape of an Espresso Martini that again tasted even better than it looked – and it looked good.
Catch is blessed with efficient and friendly staff who go the extra mile to make sure your experience is one to remember and one you will want to repeat.
There is a special vegan and vegetarian menu and one especially for kids that they will love.
Catch, 9 Weetwood Lane, Headingley, Leeds LS16 5LT is open Mon,Tues,Wed,Thurs – 11.30-9.00pm; Fri & Sat 11.30.-10.00pm; Sunday 12pm – 5pm.
To book call 0113 278 5679 or visit www.catchseafood.co.uk.