Dare is one of those boutique cafes amid the hustle and bustle of the Otley Road row of shops in Headingley.
It’s one of those places where it’s quite easy to just fall through the door as you’re passing and before you know what’s happening you’re sat at a table order a chickpea burger or some other such nouveau nosh.
Not that Dare offers that (to my knowledge), I’m merely saying (before the lawyers letters start arriving) that it feels like one of those places. Additionally, at this stage, I’m making no judgements about whether that’s a good or bad thing - I suppose it depends entirely on whether you like chickpea burgers or things made out of falafel.
So, what’s on their menu? Well, I can tell you, a surprising amount, although nothing that’s going to make you go ‘oh, wow’, in terms of originality at least. Sure, there’s houmous, avocado and sun-dried tomato sandwich for £2.95, even a chicken, avocado and mayonnaise one for the same price and a selection of hot paninis for £3.95 a go (I liked the sound of bacon, brie and cranberry), but we have to remember who the clientele are (students, mainly, I’m guessing), so there’s soups, jacket potatoes, all-day breakfasts (£4.95), which I thought were pretty self explanatory until someone on another table (a man in his 20s looking worse for wear with stretched earlobes and spray on jeans) asked if they were still doing them. Moving on there’s salads, pasta, pizza, some Mexican dishes for those who like a little spice.
As I was trying not to be a cliche myself, I went for enchiladas (chicken and asparagus), while my partner fell into her old habits and ordered the all day brekky (both meals came on a meal deal, so cost £17.90 with drink (I had cranberry juice, as I once read something about it being good for your insides, while her outdoors had black coffee.
Breakfast: tick. Decent and clean presentation.
Enchiladas: good, better than I thought, especially the asparagus bit, which made me feel extra healthy.
Service: let’s call it confident, assured, dare I say bold? It was also polite, efficient and pretty good on reflection. It reminds one of the perfunctory US-style diner service but with a bit more sass.
Atmosphere: bare brick post industrial chic and all that cliched malarkey but functional enough and clean.
Overall, I actually liked it, it changed my perceptions and made me feel more outgoing, adventurous and the hung-over student reminded me of my misspent youth and this in turn made me realise how curmudgeonly (and balding) I’ve become, so all in all, my trip to Dare ended up with a spot of philosophical introspection.
Otley Road, Headingley
Score 4 / 5