Restaurant Review: The Roundhay Fox, Prince's Avenue, Roundhay

THE Roundhay Fox is one of those places that seemingly has everything going for it.

Located slap bang next to the biggest and best park in Leeds, it's nailed the homely pub feel so well you could be forgiven for thinking Dick Turpin probably stopped off here for a pint and a Ploughman's on his way back to York.

In fact, it's only been in situ a dozen or so years, having replaced an Italian eaterie.

But the decor does a nice line in olde world rustic charm, the menu offers good variety and there's a decent range of beers and wines to tuck into.

Weekend lunchtimes are notoriously busy at this popular pub and sure enough we had to be eagle-eyed to bag a table after hovering as inconspicuously as we could (in other words, not very) while a young family got ready to leave.

The Fox has come up with a good idea for its lunch menu that lets you choose any starter, main and pudding. One course costs you 6, two courses set you back 8 and three courses cost 10.

At a tenner for a three-course meal, we weren't exactly sure what we were going to end up with.

But we were pleasantly surprised by the peppery beer-battered mushrooms with smoked garlic dip, while the soup of the day – a tomato and chickpea number – was piping hot and hearty, with nice notes of fresh coriander bubbling through.

Sadly, the main courses were a bit of a letdown.

With dishes like shepherd's pie and pulled ham and leek pudding on the menu the emphasis here is firmly on solid pub grub.

But although my chicken breast grilled with a garlic, tomato and parsley butter was fairly flavoursome it was too dry, as were my partner's sole goujons.

Both came with some limp rocket that looked like it had been hanging round the fridge too long. At least the seasoned chips were decent.

It didn't help that the waitress got one of our mains wrong and then effectively accused us of lying when we pointed out the error.

Even if we had ordered the wrong thing (which we're confident we didn't), her reaction was startling.

Perhaps it was a symptom of stress caused by the noticeable shortage of staff, which is pretty much the Fox's only abiding fault and can often translate into slow service and queues at the bar.

A manager later resolved the issue by taking the main off the bill and, it has to be said, the quality of service is generally good here.

Still, a shortage of servers is an area owners Vintage Inns should definitely look to address if they're interested in improving the overall experience for diners and drinkers alike.

Our desserts – a decent pile of profiteroles and a very good plum and almond frangipane with creme fraiche – rounded off a meal that, while slightly uneven in quality, represented surprisingly good value for money.

If you choose your dishes well, avoid the duds and get good service, the Fox lives up to expectations.

But if it could just eliminate a couple of variables it would do so with much greater regularity.


Daniel Brown.

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