Bar review: Banyan, Roundhay, Leeds

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For those who like to get away from the bustle of the city centre occasionally, it’s worth taking a trip out to Street Lane in Roundhay, where there’s a variety of bars and restaurants to choose from.

My companion and I were both on a rare day off from work and decided to spend a leisurely afternoon at Banyan, as we fancied playing at ‘ladies who lunch’.

This is the sister venue of the City Square Banyan and at 1pm on a sunny summery midweek, the place was absolutely heaving.

The bar area is spacious and welcoming, with understated decor and comfortable leather seating. We chose a booth seat right next to the bar, and turned our attentions straight away to the cocktail menu, which features a nice selection of 24 concoctions under the ‘Stylish’ and ‘Inspired’ groupings. And for gin fans, the ‘Gin Paradise’ menu will also be an absolute delight to try out.

At an average price of around £7.50 to £8, cheap they are not. There is a two-for-one cocktail offer on Thursdays though - music to a cocktail fan’s ears!

My first choice was for the interestingly named ‘Bounty’. It definitely sounded like a taste of paradise, offering a mix of Disaronno, Monkey Shoulder whisky, coconut syrup, fresh lemon and pineapple. Unfortunately some of the ingredients weren’t available, so I never got to try it.

As a coffee – and coffee liqueur – fan, I instead opted for the Pistachio Espresso Martini (£7.50) from the Inspired menu, which takes classic cocktails and puts a twist on them. This featured Reyka vodka, Tia Maria coffee liqueur and espresso, all combined with some homemade pistachio syrup. It was beautifully and surprisingly light, and just the right side of bittersweet for my taste.

My companion sampled the mocktail menu, which only had four options. But she loved her refreshing Blushing Mexican (£3.95), a mix of Guava, almond, blueberry, cucumber and ginger beer.

The crowd was a real mix of couples, large and small groups and even young families.

The atmosphere was friendly, relaxed, and completely unpretentious.

A selection of chart hits played away in the background and we decided to pad out our liquid lunch with a shared salad and an indulgent chocolate fudge slab. Both were lovely, but it was all about the cocktails this time.

I can imagine the place will get incredibly busy in the evenings and at weekends.

The spacious outdoor area is a big draw, with a designated smokers’ corner and a decent amount of seating.

The service was immaculate, very quick and the staff were breezy and cheerful.

Banyan serves up a very nice slice of Leeds’s sunny suburbia.

Artist Bay Backner pictured with her work at Cafe 164, The Gallery at 164, Leeds. PIC: Simon Hulme

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