Restaurant review: The Three Horseshoes, Headingley

The Three Horseshoes, Otley Road, Headingley. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
The Three Horseshoes, Otley Road, Headingley. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Traditional grub that fills you up and does the job is just what you expect from a pub.

But the historic Three Horseshoes pub, in Headingley, has had a much talked about change of personality in recent weeks.

The Three Horseshoes, Otley Road, Headingley. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The Three Horseshoes, Otley Road, Headingley. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Its new owners Spirit Leased touched a raw nerve with locals when they opted to change the name of the 200-year-old establishment to ‘The Industrialist’ in March – a decision that was promptly reversed after 1,400 punters signed a petition in protest.

Nevertheless there is a new look to this place, which is well known as the second stop on the famed Otley Run pub crawl.

There are no tired-looking carpets, brewing or sporting memorabilia or wood cladding any more.

The smell of freshly cut wood is still strong and the clean lines of a minimalist yet comfy revamp are a refreshing change.

There is more of an inner city bar vibe at the Three Horseshoes these days – think less your local tavern and more stripped back chic bars Roxy Ballroom and The Pit.

Aged wooden flooring, a grey and cream painted beamed ceiling, bare brick walls, gleaming cream tiles and rustic furniture make this a nice, airy space.

Food-wise it’s all change as well. There is a brand new pizza oven on display in one corner and a fresh menu filled with everything from gourmet hotdogs and pies to burgers, sandwiches and cooked breakfasts.

There are hearty sharer platters of pizza, nachos and meat, as well as lighter sandwich boards, meaning the all-day menu is fit for late breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Popping in after work, I opted for a mature cheddar and caramelised onion pie, which came with mushy peas, a generous dollop of mash potato and optional meat gravy, at a surprisingly cheap £4.95.

In fairness the pie was on the small side but its flaky, well cooked pastry and ample filling were well weighted. Add to that the sizeable peas and smooth mash and it was a real bargain.

My dining partner gave the shiny new pizza oven a test, ordering a £7.95 Florentina pizza, which was topped with spinach, black olives, a tomato sauce, mozzarella and a baked egg.

Promptly served on a wooden pizza paddle, the finished article was a 12inch deep dish that was decorated generously. It was a filling, tasty pizza although it lacked a bit of seasoning to counter the tanginess of the tomato sauce.

With the addition of a couple of orange and passionfruit J2O juice drinks, the bill came to a good value £16.70.

The new-look Three Horseshoes has been given a lick of paint and some real variety.

Although the dust is yet to settle on this exciting revamp, the signs are positive for this place with its Otley Run reputation and great new food offering combining well.

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