Restaurant Review: The Roast, Whitehall Riverside, Leeds

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SO, we arrived at about 3.30pm to find the place was, it appeared, closing up. Which was fair enough, given the time of day.

But despite this the staff at The Roast were more than willing to rustle us up with something for a late lunch/early tea. Instant brownie points.

One slightly confusing aspect is that this riverside eaterie appears to have changed somewhat. The sign in the window says “The Roast, The Cafe” then at the side is another sign which says “Bar and Food”. Hmmmm.

The reality is that this place now has more of a feel of a bar to it since there are quite a few pumps installed on the worktop.

That’s not to say the food offering is token.

There’s a good selection of hot dishes available and a fully working kitchen in place to create them.

Also available is a selection of basic sandwiches for a few quid and some more adventurous ones for closer to £4.

My own, for example, was a sweet chilli prawn and avocado number on wholemeal roll, and it was reasonable enough, though not huge or mind-blowing in any way.

It was accompanied with a San Pellegrino sparkling orange drink (San Pellegrino being the mark of a fairly high class establishment).

To finish off we went for a piece of sticky toffee cake (there are quite a number of sweet things available too) and a bag of crisps. All of which brought our late lunch/early tea to a not unreasonable £6.60.

Atmosphere at 3.30 in the afternoon was difficult to judge but, particularly on a warm summer night The Roast usually has people queueing out the doors, which may have something to do with those pumps on the bar top.

It is also, without doubt, the location. Few other cafe/bars enjoy such a secluded spot and a darling vista over this quiet stretch of the River Aire.

The clientele is of a certain type, given that The Roast sits in the bottom of a plush office block and there are hundreds of city living apartments on its doorstep. What type? Well, not the type to get too boozy or too lairy.

This is still set up as somewhere you come to eat as well as drink.

As stated earlier, the staff couldn’t do enough for us and the food came quickly without any fuss.

A decent bite to eat for two means you’re probably looking at £12 or more, though you can probably go mad and spend up to £20 if you wanted.

Either way, it’s reasonable value and somewhere where it’s just as easy to eat in as it is to grab a takeaway.

The only pity is that there aren’t quite as many opportunities to people-watch here.

People only venture along this bit of west end waterfront if they’re going to one of the flats, one of the offices or just to come to The Roast.

RATING: 3/5

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