IT’S double trouble for diners in Leeds as the popular Pit concept digs deep for its second venue in the city.
The Hub in Chapel Allerton recently received a £450,000 facelift and has been transformed into The Pit at Chapel Allerton – following in the footsteps of its sister venue on Merrion Street.
Its city centre counterpart has been such a success that owners Arc Inspirations (the people behind The Box, Arc and Trio’s in Headingley, to name a few) have decided to roll out the concept to the north Leeds venue.
Offering the same menu as The Pit, the Chapel Allerton offering is laid out slightly differently.
My dining partner and I were slightly disappointed that it didn’t have the same grandiose staircase leading down into it.
Nonetheless, we walked through the huge, heavy glass doors and past a small table football section near the front door.
To get to the food area, you have to also walk through the long, narrow bar area.
We were pleasantly surprised to find the whole section that used to be back of The Hub has been opened out into a huge dining area.
Leather booths and high bar stools line the walls and a dimly-lit raised area is packed full of heavy wooden tables.
It’s fairly busy for a Wednesday night and a few punters are propping up the bar watching a football game, but there’s a laid-back feeling about the place and it looks like it will be a magnet for the young professional types living in the neighbourhood.
Stood in the dining area for a few minutes, my partner and I start to wonder how the system at The Pit works.
After several waitresses walk straight past us, we’re left to assume it’s not a ‘wait to be seated’ kind of deal, and choose a table at the back.
It was so dimly lit that we struggled to read our menus.
But after some squinting, we were spoiled for choice.
The menu is bursting with lip-smacking meat options fit for any keen carnivores.
Choosing our first course took quite some time even though there’s just a small selection of ‘starters and sharers’.
Options include nachos, ribs, chicken wings and Philly fries, ranging from £5.50 to £7.95.
We were eventually advised to order our food and drinks at the bar, where the bartender was helpful and attentive.
I went for the seafood catch starter for £6.95, which includes beer-battered giant shrimp, cod and squid and is served with dill pickle mayonnaise.
The starter arrived on a large wooden board, with the battered fish served in a mini metal frier, which we both agreed was a nice example of attention to detail.
Some of the fish was slightly on the chewy side and the batter was slightly heavy, but the dill pickle mayonnaise gave it the lift it needed to be an enjoyable and filling starter.
My dining partner chose the meaty BBQ nachos at £6.95, stacked with smoked and pulled pork, sour cream, jalapeños and Monterey Jack cheese.
It was served in a mini frying pan-type dish placed on a small wooden board and was thoroughly enjoyable.
So enjoyable, in fact, that I couldn’t resist but steal a few of the cheesy, triangular treats.
Both feeling fairly full by this point, it seemed like mere moments before our main courses were placed in front of us.
The menu is extensive and the impressive burger list immediately caught my attention.
Serving everything from ground beef to bunless, buffalo and steak burgers to triple-towered ones, there’s something for everyone.
They’re all reasonably priced too, starting at £8 for a simple beef burger.
The veggies should be kept quite happy as well, with a giant mushroom and three bean BBQ burger or a choice of salads to pick from.
There’s also a decent selection of other main meals, including sausage and mash, steak, ribs, pork shoulder and even lobster.
My dining partner’s ‘pig out’ burger, at £10.95, looked particularly enticing.
The ground pork burger is served with pulled BBQ pork, streaky and smashed apple sauce, which complemented the meat perfectly.
Served with a portion of curly fries, my companion said he’d have no trouble making his way through his meaty meal and would be able to help me with mine, although this turned out not to be the case.
I chose the locally-sourced half free range chicken at £15.95, which is lightly rubbed with sea salt and lemon zest and served with a piri piri dip and curly fries.
The chicken was mildly flavoured but the piri piri dip gave it a much-needed kick and the sauce was jam-packed with flavour and tasted incredibly fresh.
On this occasion however, Oliver’s eyes were bigger than his stomach and, for the first time ever, I shamefully had to request a doggy bag.
I even had to pass on the dessert and milkshake menu, which was succinct yet dribble-inducing.
But thankfully my dining partner stepped up to the plate and perused the list.
With just four desserts to choose from, including chocolate fudge cake, waffles and pecan pie, he decided to go for a banoffee sundae for £5.25.
With layers of fresh banana, toffee crisp, toffee sauce, vanilla and toffee ice cream topped with whipped cream, I was surprised he managed to polish it all off.
And I was a little jealous, too.
With two carefully mixed cocktails from the bar, the bill came to just under £60 – fairly reasonable for a filling, meaty meal.
Feeling fit to burst, we waddled out of The Pit feeling slightly defeated.
To stomach a full, three-course meal here, you might actually need to be a bottomless Pit.
Address: 8b Stainbeck Lane, Leeds. LS7 3QY.
Opening times: 11am to 1am Mon to Fri, 10am to 1am Sat, 10am to 12.30am Sun. Food served until 10pm.
Tel: 0113 269 8666.