IT WAS Black Friday weekend and the Christmas shopping in Leeds was well and truly under way.
So much so that you’d think Christmas was the next day.
It was almost a relief then to step away from the madness and into the calm yet jovial haven of Dakota Deluxe.
Getting into the Christmas spirit and all that, we were there to try the festive menu in the downstairs dining room.
Starting with chicken liver parfait (worth it just for the chutney alone) and smoked salmon blini, we found they were meals in themselves.
For mains you can have Yorkshire turkey, slow cooked beef shoulder, poached salmon filled or pithivier of artichoke.
I am well up for as many Christmas dinners as you can get in December, so went for turkey with the trimmings (roast carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and the all-important pigs in blankets) but the beef was also amazing. It was rich but so tender it fell off the fork.
We barely had room for pudding but they seemed too tempting to pass up. However, I went for the fruit-based one to make it okay. The lemon tart was tangy, light, refreshing and ideal after a big meal.
Other desserts are traditional Christmas pudding, dark chocolate and orange delice, and a cheese board.
While the world outside seemed to be going mad over the three-for-two presents in Boots, Dakota was a gift of a different kind.
It was relaxing, elegant and the service was on point as ever.
With a gin and tonic and a few glasses of wine, that – for me – is the best way to deal with the Christmas shopping chaos this year.