The old fashioned ale house is something of a reminiscent luxury in modern Leeds.
With cocktail, wine and champagne bars in vogue, the retreat of a homely city pub is always still a welcome sight – much more so if the bar’s food menu is something to cherish.
Horsforth’s Town Street Tavern very much models itself on a back-to-basics community pub with an emphasis on traditional real ale and a hearty yet sophisticated menu.
The crowd on our mid Monday evening visit showed the bar’s mixed appeal perfectly, with regulars which varied from a couple of men in their mid-50s to a group of 20-something friends close by.
As we walked in, the warmth of the bar’s cosy wood-filled groundfloor instantly made us feel at ease. Its softly-lit interior was decorated with an array of beer mats and pumpclips, while the green beams framed its cavernous cream and wood bar.
At the bar, we were promptly given a rundown of the pie and soup of the day and plumped for a two courses for £11.95 option. Although not exactly extensive, the food menu covers all the pub grub bases with burgers, fish and chips and steak but there is certainly a gastronomic feel.
The selection of around half a dozen mains for example covers everything from smoked haddock with garden pea risotto to chicken schnitzel with sautéed potatoes, truffle oil and mushroom sauce.
There are about as many starters, along with classic dishes, sides, sandwiches and ciabattas all at reasonable, if not overly cheap, prices.
Me and my dining partner went for portions of beer battered squid rings (£4.95) with sweet chilli and coriander dipping sauce to start, and were both equally impressed.
Presented on a wooden platter, with a dish of dipping sauce, slice of lemon, the well weighted portion was a delight – the batter crisp with the squid beneath proving soft and full of flavour, while the dip added just enough zest to add an element of spice without overpowering the dish.
From that I expectantly plumped for Yorkshire speciality sausage with mash potato and onion gravy (£9.50), while my companion chose the pork and stuffing pie of the day, which came drizzled in gravy and accompanied with a generous helping of thick handcut wedged chips and a dish of vegetables (£9.95).
The sausage and mash was presented in a broad white saucer, the smooth, creamy mash was placed in an aromatic pool of gravy and topped with a premium single ringed sausage. The three elements combined for a filling and utterly delicious main.
My dining partner’s pie was similarly enjoyable, with that flavoursome gravy adding to the thick slice of homely, pork-filled pie, all the while added to by an array of thick cut sides.
We washed those down with pints of Kaltenberg lager and Aspall cider to bring the bill to a good value £30.68 given the quality of the food.
Town Street Tavern is certainly no basement beer and a burger joint. The quaint charm of the street is added to no end by the warmth and enviable food on offer at this rustic yet refined ale house.