The Arts Cafe is sheer culinary indulgence
The Arts Cafe on Call Lane is a hidden gem of imaginative and first class cuisine.
This small, intimate bistro-style restaurant has a certain sophistication that extends from its stylish polished wood furniture through to its inspired menu and culinary excellence.
The street outside may be awash with bars but step through the door of the Arts Cafe, and you transcend in another world completely. This place has a true continental ambience and a cultural friendly atmosphere.
Although it was technically summer the evening was a cool one so I was tempted by the soup of the day which was Mushroom with Thyme and Rosemary. It came with home made granary bread and just as perfect soup should be it was piping hot. I loved its texture and the taste of fresh mushrooms really came thorough and the herbs did not overpower the flavour.
My colleague went for the pork, ham and soft herb terrine, pickles with chutney and sour dough crutes. The terrine was meaty but would not offend those who are only occasional meat eaters. It was smooth and tasty and the accompaniments it came with were the perfect choice for the dish. Both our starters came in very generous portions.
For main course I decided on the haddock and hand cut chips. The fish was a particularly large portion and the batter crisp and tasty. The fish was moist and succulent and full of flavour. Top marks to the chef for cooking the hand cut chips. These were fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside and the best I have tasted for a long time. I also liked the fact the crushed minted peas had flavour and were not just a mash of pea-puree as is so often served up in restaurants as an accompaniment to fried fish.
Asian style tofu with sesame, spiced cabbage, broccoli and nori seawood was my colleagues choice. This is just one of the many gluten free and vegan dishes on the menu. The tofu was crispy on the outside and tasted ‘gorgeous’ as she put it. The broccoli was cooked to perfection and the spiced cabbage was not overly spicy. The fusion of flavours worked very well in this particular case as it could have been a disaster waiting to happen
When it came to our heaven on a plate – that is just what it was. I indulged in the chocolate and coffee set custard with a white chocolate cream and orange shortbread. The coffee in the custard difuses the overly heavy chocolate taste that most rich chocolate sweets have; whilst the white chocolate cream was light and balanced the flavours. Really the dish was enough in itself without the orange shortbread.
Kiwi and passion fruit pavlova with Greek style yoghurt was my colleagues choice. The combination she thought was very pleasing as the bitterness of the yoghurt took away the sweetness of the pavlova.
The Arts Cafe has a great menu with a good choice for both vegetarian, vegan and gluten free patrons. It also has both fixed price and a la carte menus. This place is certainly one of the best kept secrets as far as eating out goes, although it was the first cafe bar to open in Leeds. It is alsoone of the best in town with reasonable prices, great menu choices and a relaxing ambience.
The Arts Cafe, 42 Call Lane, Leeds 1.Tel: 0113 2438243
Open Mon-Thurs 12-11pm; Fri 12-1.00am; Sat 12-2am; Sun 10-11pm