Review: Taste, Oakwood, Leeds

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Taste’s logo is a knife and fork either side of a heart-shaped plate.

The motif is presumably designed to symbolise the owner’s love of food.

Taste, on Roundhay Road, Oakwood

Taste, on Roundhay Road, Oakwood

His customers certainly must be fairly enamoured with what the independent business is doing – the Oakwood branch is the second opened by entrepreneur Gary Hendrickson.

In 2011 he took what some might have judged a risk by setting up an artisan bakery and upmarket pizzeria among the takeaways and corner shops on Chapeltown Road in Chapeltown.

That gamble looks to have paid off and, if anything, the location of the new Roundhay Road venue, among several other established foodie destinations, is more likely to find a welcoming customer base.

It has only been open a matter of weeks, but the place was certainly busy enough on the weekday lunchtime that we visited to suggest it’s already making a name for itself.

Filled with vintage furniture, including leather Chesterfield armchairs and sofas, and decorated in sage greens and creams, along with one wall covered in hessian coffee sacks, its interior is smart and inviting.

Much of the food is on display – a range of delicatessen offerings in glass cabinets, along with an enticing assortment of cakes.

The specials are written on large, gold-framed mirrors behind the counter.

From those options we both chose sandwiches – pine-smoked Black Forest ham and gouda cheese on a tomato bread roll for me and a fish butty with melted emmental cheese and rocket for my dining partner. Both were priced at £4.

They lacked nothing in size – my glorified ham and cheese sarnie covered virtually the entire plate. The ingredients of the filling were fresh, lifted by a pleasant caramelised onion chutney, although the roll itself had the slightly dry texture of bread left out a little too long.

The fish butty, served between two doorstep wedges of white bread, was also substantial.

It was fine, but the combination of fish and cheese is not one which she’d rush relive.

We had a couple of excellent coffees as well as two bottles of water.

There’s an extensive range of freshly-baked sweet treats available daily and, given the absence of labels, the assistant did an admirable job of recounting a description of each one from memory.

The portion sizes were as formidable as the sandwiches we’d had to start with.

We took a couple of desserts out with us – a frisby-sized chocolate chip cookie and the last wedge of rocky road they had. Each was very good, although the rocky road was the superior of the two, providing delicious mouthfuls of chewy, crunchy, rich chocolatey goodness.

Our bill came to about £20.

It’s heartening to see an independent like Taste showing the confidence to expand. With twice the custom, they just need to redouble their efforts to ensure continued success.

Rating: 3/5

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