Bar review: Dish, Boar Lane, Leeds City Centre

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Fine dining is a trademark of the award-winning Dish restaurant business.

The much-loved restaurant became a familiar destination for lovers of high quality food and drink during its time on Great George Street, near Millennium Square.

And having been named best newcomer at our Oliver awards in March last year, Dish is not necessarily somewhere you’d immediately think of nipping into for a drink.

Its September move to the Boar Lane unit that formerly housed a restaurant from the now defunct Anthony’s chain has seemingly attempted to address that however.

And dedicating its groundfloor entrance to cocktail-sipping punters has instantly made this place somewhere appealing to visit for those full from dinner but intending to entertain.

So while its basement was filled with people eating Dish’s celebrated culinary treats, we popped in for a drink.

Stepping in from bustling Boar Lane on a midweek evening, we were welcomed into a soft-lit modern bar dotted with autumnal decor.

The aged wooden floorboards, tree-laden landscape feature wallpaper and leaf-patterned cushions combine with dark grey, neutral painted pillars to make this city centre venue feel somewhat cosy and secluded.

Add to that a curved granite-topped corner bar punctuated with hanging lights beneath a cream-coloured ceiling, which is warmly backlit with an orange glow, and you have a stylish, subtly-themed venue.

The furniture is quite neutral and simplistic, with smooth leather sofas and modern bar stools sitting alongside simple dark wooden tables and chairs, making Dish exude a bit of class without needing chintzy chandeliers and out-there menus.

On our visit we were served at our tables, having been given a few minutes to peruse the menu. And a broad range of wines and cocktails are the speciality at Dish, with over two dozen white, red and rose wines from £4.25 for a small glass and a handful of dessert wines, port and champagne on offer. More than 20 cocktails can be ordered, from teapot sharers and sparkling choices to specials and classic mixes, all priced from around £6.50 upwards. You can also choose from a selection of spirits.

For beer drinkers, the menu lists Birra Moretti and Leeds Brewery’s Leodis on tap – although we only saw the latter – and half a dozen bottled beers but no ciders.

We went for a couple of cocktails, with a refreshing bourbon, Cointreau and maraschino Kentucky Sidecar and a zingy, smooth Smoked Amaretto Sour, which was made with amaretto that had been smoked in-house, along with lemon, bitters and sugar.

We followed those up with a pint of Leeds Brewery’s Leodis lager to bring the bill to a slightly pricey £17.40.

On our visit to Dish, it was admittedly quiet – the attentive barman even resorted to juggling limes to pass the time at one point once we’d been served – but with its relaxed soundtrack featuring everything from Radiohead to Summer Madness by Kool and the Gang this place is ideal for couple and small groups.

This restaurant, though far better known for its food than drinks, is a classy and well put together bar in itself.

As you may expect, prices are in some places a little steep but on the whole the well thought out range of cocktails, simplistic yet welcoming decor and friendly service make Dish as much a place to visit for its bar as for its eatery.


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