Restaurant review: Taste, Oakwood

Simplicity is the watchword at Taste on Roundhay Road, Oakwood
Simplicity is the watchword at Taste on Roundhay Road, Oakwood
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It’s been a turbulent few months for Taste owner Gary Hendrickson.

In July this newspaper reported that he was involved in a dispute with landlords over his tenancy of the property in Chapeltown where the business opened in 2011.

A series of outspoken messages about the wrangle were posted on the cafe’s own Facebook page.

Whatever the truth behind the dispute, it appears that all is not well at the self-styled artisan deli on Chapeltown Road – the shutters have been down for a couple of weeks.

It would be a real shame if it closes for good – there’s nothing else quite like it in the immediate vicinity.

For the time being, however, fans who are prepared to travel a couple of miles north to Oakwood will find the same combination of decent quality, very reasonably priced food still on offer at the second venue pioneered by Hendrickson.

When Little Oliver visited the Roundhay Road incarnation of Taste just over a year ago, it had only just opened and was riding on the quest of the wave created by the success of the Chapeltown branch. Now the cafe is flying solo, but otherwise little has changed.

Simplicity is the watchword here, and the ‘a la carte’ menu offers pizzas (two for £10) and paninis, while a range of pasta dishes and delicatessen treats is displayed in glass cabinets. The cafe does a range of ‘artisan’ breads as well.

It was Monday night and there was only one other table occupied when we arrived.

The service was as relaxed as it should have been in such circumstances.

My dining partner had the ham and mushroom pizza (£7). Made with mozzarella, and seasoned with basil and oregano, it was a no-nonsense dish – enjoyable without being memorable.

I chose the lasagne (£5.50), a large slab of which arrived in next to no time. It had countless layers of pasta, but could have done with a little more sauce. Unexpectedly, it also came with an entire garlic bread and a side salad.

My dining partner had ordered an extra side salad with her pizza, but the portion which arrived automatically with mine would have been sufficient for us both.

We had absolutely no need for dessert, but the range of enticing cakes and puddings on offer is difficult to ignore.

We took a portion of the mango cheesecake home, which was a wonderfully rich, creamy, crunchy treat.

Unlike the portion sizes, the bill – including two soft drinks – was pleasantly modest at a smidgen over £17.

If it is to go it alone from this point onwards, it’s that kind of value that will ensure Taste in Oakwood continues to win friends.