French cuisine, authentic wines and rustic styling are not elements you’d expect of a basement bistro hidden in Leeds’ business quarter.
Until recently the multi-storey avenue that is Park Place was rarely breached by anyone other than its suited and booted collective of lawyers and solicitors.
But the owners of the area’s newest bar and bistro, Burgundy, are hoping to change all that by injecting some French flamboyance and tastes of the continent to an area starved of vigour.
Run by the same folk behind Epernay, Buca Di Pizza and The Atlas pub, this underground retreat is a pint-sized getaway offering the best of French wine, beer, cheese, meat along with a few classic dishes.
Clearly aimed at taking advantage of the captive audience of an area that is largely untapped by bar owners and restaurateurs, this place offers something new and vibrant to a street which is largely grey and uninspiring.
Inspired by a visit to the region of France that it is named after, Burgundy has a food menu at breakfast, lunch and after work.
We popped by midweek after work to find this place highlighted by a couple of gas lamp-style street lights outside.
Downstairs it’s a long and narrow space characterised by its light wooden floors, scarlet painted wood panels and cream walls and ceiling.
There are picnic-style red and white chequered tablecloths over round dark wood tables and the space is littered with wicker-bottomed seats, upright beer barrels and blackboards daubed with the specials of the day.
It’s a classically styled space that really captures the vineyard vibe – although the Motown and jazz soundtrack featuring the likes of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles does bring it to life a bit.
Drinks-wise you can choose from 30 varieties of authentic red, white, rose, sparkling wines and champagnes, and four draught beer choices including Vedett and Saltaire Blonde real ale. There are also around 25 varieties of weird and wonderful beers and ciders and a great range of spirits behind the wooden bar. There are unsurprisingly no cocktails.
We went for a glass of fruity and fresh chardonnay, with a Mâcon-Villages Terres Secrètes, at £4 for 125ml, a bottle of sharp Bolee D’Armorique Cidre Breton cider and a can of ginger beer. The bill came to a pretty reasonable £10.50.
Although it was quiet on our midweek visit, it was easy to see why those behind Burgundy believe in it. It’s a colourful yet rustic space that offers a slice of French food and drink in a busy area that lacks a real presence at the moment.
Whether anyone outside of Park Place chooses to make Burgundy their destination, however, remains to be seen.