A good steak would seem to me to be the cornerstone of any good restaurant.
If you’ve got good steak, everything else should fall into place. If you’re a steakhouse, it goes without saying...
The steak at Miller & Carter Steakhouse in Garforth isn’t good (bear with me). To call it good would like referring to an Aston Martin DB9 as ‘a bit sporty’, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as ‘quite big’ and Lady GaGa as ‘a singer’. Let’s get one thing out of the way right from the off: the steak at Miller & Carter isn’t just good, it isn’t just excellent, it’s sublime.
It has managed to transcend the everyday trappings of verbal description to occupy another realm altogether, a kind of nirvana, where it somehow created (for me, at least) a kind of culinary amnesia which made me forget or not care about anything much else.
When steak is this good, what more do you need?
Luckily, I was able to overcome this temporary state of amnesia long enough to report that the other things on the plate - some godly, golden brown salted fries, a wedge of iceberg lettuce topped with a tangy cheese sauce and a slice of onion loaf, which was sumptuous: a warming, crisp-on-the-outside-all-warm-and-mushy wodge of caramelised heaven - were also really rather good. In fact, I would have gladly eaten a whole plate of the onion loaf.
But the steak. The steak! I’d managed to talk myself out of the 16oz Chateaubriand (a snip under £43) and went instead for the equally appetising 14oz T-Bone (£21.95), which came on the bone, giving you both sirloin and a fillet. The menu recommended I have it cooked medium (no qualms there) and it was just so easy to cut, the meat oozed flavour and practically melted in the mouth.
But I am jumping the gun here because we’ve skipped starters, which all sound lovely on the very easy-to-digest menu cards we were given, but we plumped for the sharing platter, a stretch at £12.50 but, in the event, well worth the money. It came with calamari, char-grilled chicken wings, glazed pork-belly bites, onion loaf, nachos, spinach and a mozzarella dip.
At this point in the meal, having already been ushered to our table and drinks ordered and delivered in record time, we were feeling nice and relaxed.
There’s a lot to be said about the atmosphere in this gem of a restaurant and their attention to detail - wooden surfaces shine, cutlery is spotless, surfaces are uncluttered. An oversized goblet of lemons on the bar only serves to make you want a G&T.
Staff are also immaculately turned out, not to mention polite, ensuring we had everything we needed and not in the slightest bit bothered when we annoyingly ordered a second drink just after receiving a previous order.
Nothing seems too much trouble here. And you get the impression they’ve been doing it like this for a while, because it just seems to come together effortlessly, which is a real bonus given the standard of food coming from the kitchen.
Have I told you about the steak yet? Oh, I did...
Well, my dining companion went for salmon pesto (£11.95), which was also really rather scrumptious, the fillet of salmon more than adequate for one person and the mashed potato was so nice she could have eaten it on its own.
And so we come to dessert, which took the longest to arrive at our table and was, in the final analysis, the least impressive of the courses we had waded through - that’s not to say you’d refuse to eat them.
I ordered the date and ginger pudding (£5.50), which came served with a ball of vanilla ice cream - it was one of those dishes you long for on a winter’s night just before bedtime but can never be bothered to make. Here it was sat on a plate and I couldn’t get enough of it.
My partner went for the winter berry mess (£5.25), which was like an Eton mess only with winter berries and, while pleasant, was the least rewarding dish.
It was all much-of-a-muchness really, perhaps a little too claggy in parts, there was nothing to lift it or make it stand out. It came in a kind of pie form and was too compact, which made it difficult to get at, the cream and the meringue becoming almost one. It was also, at almost £6, overpriced for what it, in essence, a bit of meringue mixed up with berries and whipped cream.
Still, on reflection, the overall meal was a resounding success, the dishes in the main of a very high standard.
To finish, we ordered two black coffees at £2.20 apiece and together with the side orders we had with our meal (extra fries at £2.50, olives at £2.50 and the drinks, our bill came to £87.09.
Considering I went for a £22 steak, that’s not bad going given the quality on offer here.
We turned up unannounced on a Monday night to find the restaurant/pub relatively empty, although not too empty as to be unnerving.
Oliver was very impressed by the food but also the service, which has to be given another mention. Bravo for good service which seems effortless. Any restaurants out there looking for pointers as to how waiting on tables should be done would do well to pay Miller & Carter a visit.
It might be somewhat out in the sticks for those who are used to eating within the Leeds Outer Ring Road but it’s well worth the drive and it’s worth putting on your sat-nav just in case you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods with a grumbling tummy.
For those who live in Garforth and the surrounding area, what an asset. It might not be somewhere you copuld afford to visit regularly (although they do have various offers and discounts on some menus), but it’s definitely somewhere we would return.
It’s one of those places I would return to again and again just for the steak, but judging by the other things we sampled, there’s plenty here to keep even the most avid diner entertained for a long time.
Address: Miller & Carter, Selby Road, Garforth, LS25 1NB.
Tel: 01132 862 100.
Opening times: Sun-Thurs: noon-10.30pm, Fri & Sat: noon-11pm.