You’d be entitled to harbour high expectations of Veritas.
After all, a business that names itself after a Roman goddess must have fairly lofty ambitions.
And, while the food isn’t necessarily what you’d call heavenly, as meals for mortals go, this city centre pub offers good, honest – in fact pleasantly down-to-earth –grub.
The prices aren’t sky high either, especially if you take advantage of the early bird offer.
Nestled in a corner of Leeds that positions it perfectly for the well-heeled doctor and lawyer set, Veritas (in Roman mythology the goddess of truth – lawyers take note) is a boozer without pretention.
Yes, its walls are littered with vintage Parisian-style advertising posters and, yes, it has its own deli counter.
But its interior has a pleasant nonchalance that makes it an easy place to relax. If you’re after a place to preen and be seen, you’d be better off elsewhere.
Opened in October 2010, the pub is part of the Market Town Taverns chain that also includes Town Street Tavern in Horsforth, Arcadia in Headingley and East of Arcadia in Meanwood.
It has four separate seating areas, designed to give the feeling of intimacy. We certainly didn’t feel under the spotlight, despite being among a mere handful of customers who’d sought refuge from the foul weather outside.
The menu changes regularly, but on the week night we went the combined standard and specials lists comprised about a dozen starters and the same number of mains.
For £12.95 for two courses, or £14.95 for three, you can choose from a good range of fixed-price options.
I had the red chard and bacon tart, a dainty quiche-like offering, to start. There were good chunks of salty bacon and a healthy helping of earthy chard. The pastry was suitably crumbly. It came with leaves in balsamic vinegar.
My dining partner enjoyed the fact that her chicken liver pate came with thick slices of toasted ciabatta rather than melba toast. The pate itself, of which there was a fairly substantial pot’s worth, was smooth and rich.
My main of traditional Welsh shin of beef cawl – or broth – was a homely bowl of stewed meat and copious amounts of root vegetables in a well-seasoned gravy. I’d have liked it with mash but had no trouble devouring the bread it was served with and left a sparklingly clean plate.
However, I was envious of the chicken breast risotto that my partner chose. The meat had a deliciously chargrilled flavour that clashed nicely with the creaminess of the risotto.
There were some wonderfully sweet sun-blushed tomatoes, along with plenty of spinach and handfuls of bitter rocket –definitely the highlight of the meal.
Our bill, with a soft drink and a small glass of wine, came to £31.60.
Dining at Veritas isn’t enough to make you believe that there must be a god. But neither will it leave you taking the name in vain.