Graduate Dining: Blackhouse – The Grill on the Square
Blackhouse is more than just a restaurant, it’s an establishment. The ‘Grill on the Square’ located in the heart of town on East Parade is exactly where you can celebrate your graduation in style, and what’s more, they have a special offer just for Leeds graduates. Victoria Gray was on hand to sample the menu…
Having had Blackhouse highly recommended by friends, I was incredibly excited to visit, and even my expectations were exceeded. This is a place where you can really treat yourself. This was apparent from the beginning; as we entered, a friendly hostess greeted us and our coats were checked, before being offered a drink at the bar before dinner.
The bar could be its own establishment, with a cocktail list so extensive that you could get carried away just reading it. I chose a raspberry margherita, a nice twist on a classic cocktail that didn’t lose any of the delicious bitter flavour of a margherita. We relaxed and took in the atmosphere, busy and sleek, with leather seats, decorative plants, an aquarium and balcony that give a taste of Manhattan, as opposed to Leeds.
Busy and exciting, the atmosphere was enhanced by the presence of an evening singer, whose tones don’t disturb the ambiance nor detract from the classy setting as would often be feared with a live singer. She instead gently covered current hits and classics that blended into the background perfectly.
While steak is the speciality at Blackhouse, there is far from a limited choice
As we were shown to our table, we were offered bread while we perused the extensive menu. While steak is the speciality at Blackhouse, there is far from a limited choice, with a fantastic range of seafood on offer as well as the grill options, and salads. The choice is difficult, as everything sounds delicious, and from seeing other customers’ food go past, it is apparent that even seemingly easy options such as burgers and fajitas are done professionally. The waiters are keen to assist your choice, with a seemingly intimate knowledge of the menu, and are happy to recommend anything from wine to mains.
When we eventually chose, the starters arrived in enough time to have another drink in between – the relaxed but professional atmosphere is one of the most enjoyable things about Blackhouse. The starters themselves were delicious. The menu offers a number of enticing appetisers including a plate of oysters, the perfect accompaniment to a bottle of graduation champagne.
We chose Thai fishcakes and wild mushroom tart, both of which were a perfect size, not too big to fill you up before your main, but enough to enjoy. The tart consisted of filo pastry, making it lighter and enhancing the flavours of the mushroom, leek and brie fillings; while the fishcakes were soft and subtle, and perfectly complimented by the sweet chilli sauce that accompanied them. Both left us satisfied, but eager for more, a desire that was satiated when our mains arrived.
There is a real feeling that the food is coming from a reliable source
Choosing rib eye steak, and ‘posh’ surf and turf, for main courses, we were delighted by both. The surf and turf consisted of a sirloin steak alongside baby scallops, prawns and crayfish. Both steaks were cooked perfectly – Blackhouse is a place where you aren’t afraid to ask for a rare steak, and this was a choice I would not regret.
The rib eye, described as the juiciest steak on the menu, was certainly that with tender succulent meat that simply melted in your mouth. A number of sauces are offered alongside your steak, and it would be a shame to miss out on them; accompanied as they are by chips and a salad, and rarely the chips taste like they’ve actually come from potatoes: soft in the middle and plentiful enough to soak up any spare sauce. There is a real feeling that the food is coming from a reliable source and has been prepared just for you, and the satisfaction that comes from eating it is unparalleled.
Following this, a sticky toffee pudding, also recommended by our friendly waiter was the perfect conclusion to the meal: soft and moist and not too overwhelming, but the definition of ‘something sweet’ after a fantastic meal.
It is easy to spend several hours at the bar following your meal
Following this, we headed back to the bar to sample more of the delicious cocktails. The Sloe Gin Crush, actually created by a former Blackhouse bartender is a particular highlight. The bar is comfortable and fantastic for people watching, and it is easy to spend several hours there following your meal, which seems the most important point about Blackhouse – that you don’t go there for a meal, but an evening.
Blackhouse are offering a complimentary bottle of champagne for graduation parties when you book for a group of four or more. They also have an extensive lunch menu. Click here to visit their Leeds website and book a table for graduation , or call 0113 246 0669.