Graduate Dining: Veritas Ale & Wine Bar
Charming but not pretentious, Veritas exudes an Anglo-continental charm in all aspects of the dining experience it offers. Leeds Student’s Matthew Hutchinson reviews ahead of graduation…
From the dark wooden floors and furnishings and the subtle vintage beer ads which adorn the walls, to the well-stocked delicatessen counter which stretches down the side of the bar, Veritas alludes to the bistros of Paris, while its relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff take the best aspects of a homely British pub, making it a great venue for both lunch and dinner dining.
With homely favourites sitting comfortably alongside far-flung dishes, Veritas’ liminal setting reflects a varied menu of exciting and original cooking. An extensive list of international beers and wines to boot means that Veritas also competes with the best watering holes that Leeds city has to offer.
Cajun-peppered cod loin served on a rich nest of spicy, sweet Mediterranean vegetables
After choosing drinks with the help of the waitress, we ordered from the ever-changing set menu, no easy task when all four vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are so tempting. A bargain at just £10.95 for two courses, or £13.95 for three, the dishes offered here are no less tantalising than elsewhere, with original discoveries appearing next to the best dishes that a high-end pub might offer.
To start, we chose a refreshing tomato and butter bean soup, which came with warm bread and butter, and a smooth, rich chicken liver pâté with sweet onion marmalade to spread over toasted ciabatta. An inventively fruity, zesty salad garnish demanded its own attention, turning these pub classics into something special.
For mains my eating partner ordered a wonderfully creamy and comforting butternut squash and thyme risotto, enlivened visually by a purple beetroot garnish. I chose a meaty, Cajun-peppered cod loin which was served on a rich nest of spicy, sweet Mediterranean vegetables, delicate cocklemeat and soft tagliatelle. Both were immaculately presented and generously portioned.
Even with the sudden influx of thirty-odd customers pouring in from an opera at the Town Hall, staff remained warm and attentive. With a desert menu as varied and interesting as the one chalked-up behind the bar, it’s easy to be swayed into paying just a few pounds more for a third course.
Those graduating in July will want to head down Great George Street
Here the chef’s presentation really came into its own, with the berry and custard tartlet arriving surrounded by towers of raspberries and blueberries, and the warming, aromatic, brûléed rice pudding sitting alongside a wall of finely sliced strawberries and a flourish of sweet pear compote. If we had had room, we might have gone for a board of cheeses selected from the deli counter of 15 or so different varieties, but instead we finished with strong, short macchiato made with freshly-ground beans.
With many of the staff greeting familiar customers, sometimes on a first-name basis, it’s easy to see why so many of those who eat at Veritas soon join the ranks of the regulars. Those graduating in July will want to head down Great George Street (just off Millennium Square) to see what they’ve been missing out on.