YATES A TESTAMENT TO ITS FOUNDERS VALUES
It’s a fact – there is no other pub chain like Yates. Founded in 1884, by the Yates brothers, it is as much a part of our Northern heritage as Yorkshire Pudding, Lancashire Hot-Pot, the cotton and woollen mills, the Dales and Blackpool Tower.
One of the oldest pub brands in England, Peter Yates opened his first wine lodge in Oldham in 1884. His mission was to give ordinary working people the chance to eat and drink at a price they could afford.
People loved it and Yates Wine Lodges sprang up across the North selling their Australian wine and port from the barrel and champagne on draft. Joints of beef from Bosley farm were carved on the spot for giant sandwiches and homemade soup served from a tureen for a penny a pot.
I can well remember as a young reporter standing at the bar with my colleagues and munching on one of the Bosley Beef Sandwiches at the old Leeds Yates Wine Lodge.
The most famous Yates of all was the one in Talbot Square, Blackpool, sadly destroyed by fire in 2013. People queued outside in their hundreds for opening time. Later on it became a favourite haunt of the show-biz clan and during conference time politicians.
Although Yates has moved with the times, one of Peter Yates philosophies still lives on the opportunity to “eat and drink well at reasonable prices”.
Yates Wine Lodge on Boar Lane is a testament to this. It can be anything you want it to be depending on the day, time and season.
It was fairly quiet when we arrived on a mid-week evening – but there was still a buzz with the clientele ranging from city workers who were fed up with paying extortionate wine bar prices, friends having catch ups, on-the-way to-the station-customers,some ladies celebrating their 70th birthday and people who just wanted good food at reasonable prices.
The best thing about the menu at Yates is that it is not just all pub food. There are small plates, sharing platters, sandwiches, curries, kids meals, coffee, Sunday roasts, breakfasts and low calorie meals under 500 calories to suit the most discerning dieter and if you need a hug in a mug a selection of special and herbal teas!
Every day has its own theme with special offers on dishes that fall into that category, so if you are watching the pennies that’s worth taking note of.
We chose from the Sharers menu for our starters taking advantage of the special offer of three for a set price.
When they arrived they were really generous portions and like all Yates food very well presented to the highest order. The beer-battered onion rings were hot and crispy and the batter was really delicious, whilst the breaded mushrooms were hot, well cooked and contained succulent button mushrooms.
I chose the beef pie fries as I was really curious and I was really pleased with my choice. The mince beef and vegetable pie filling had been rolled into a crispy pastry and deep fried. This new dish was totally amazing and was served with a mini jug of gravy. This is a very filling starter and the portion very large a point to remember when ordering.
When it came to mains we were lost for choice. My partner chose the Chicken Tikka Masala ,which came with rice, naan bread, poppadum and mango chutney. It was not overly spicy and tasted very good with a hint of all the spices you would expect in a Tikka Masala. The chicken was tender and well cooked and the whole dish was just as it should be the naan and poppadum served just right.
I opted for the 10 oz gammon steak, which for the price was excellent value. It came topped with a fried egg, fresh roasted pineapple, chips, peas, wonderfully well grilled tomatoes and onion rings. The steak was succulent and tender and not overly salty as gammon can be. It was grilled to my requirements – well done, the food was all hot with the onion rings and chips crispy and very tasty.
When it came to desserts these have to be seen to be believed for their presentation, taste and price. I chose the salted caramel chocolate slice. This was really decadent with layers of chocolate truffle and salted caramel on a chocolate biscuit base served with a chocolate flavoured sauce and vanilla ice cream. My partner chose the vanilla ice-cream which came in a more than generous portion.
Yates has some well planned seating areas both downstairs and upstairs and gives you a feeling of space. However the jewel in its crown is its staff who are very friendly and very knowledgeable about both food and drink. They really do dispense top class service to their customers and go that extra mile for their customers to make their Yates experience special.
Would Peter Yates have popped in with this food writer on her visit I am sure he would have been proud knowing his legacy was still being dispensed all those years later.
Yates Wine Lodge 24-28 Boar Lane Leeds Tel: 0113 244 8566
Open: Mon/Tues/Wed – 8.00am-12pm; Thus/Frid – 8.00am-2.00am; Sat – 8.00-3pm; Sunday 9.00am-11.00pm