Review: The Riverside, Whitehall Riverside, Leeds

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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Leeds’ lunchtime office crowd are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to a middle of the day nibble, with an eatery of some description on the corner of practically every city centre street.

For those who slave away in the vicinity of Leeds railway station, there is however an absence of choice if you fancy hanging out by the river.

The Riverside, 1 Whitehall Riverside, Leeds.

The Riverside, 1 Whitehall Riverside, Leeds.

A two-minute stroll along the Aire from the back entrance of the station and a growing number of high-rise offices are reaching up on the skyline and this will inevitably see more outlets open up to feed a growing demand.

Other than the excellent Sociable Folk in the heart of the new Wellington Street complex and more formal setting of Primo at West Point, there is little within the immediate vicinity - except The Riverside.

Located slightly elevated up concrete stairs at the foot of a busy multi-storey office building overlooking the Aire, it is easily missed.

Both interior and exterior have been given an extensive makeover in recent months, possibly in a bid to address this. Painted red picnic tables now catch your attention on the sun-trap terraces that line the side of the building.

Inside, the space opens up. There are around a dozen tables with ample seating for small groups. Red steel shaded lights and exposed light bulbs give it an urban edge and matt, chocolate mousse coloured walls are interspersed with floor to ceiling windows on two sides, making it airy and light.

There is a pool table and Radio Aire 2 plays pop music on this midweek visit in search of a hearty lunch.

For ‘on the go’ convenience options there is a £3.50 meal deal which gets you a sandwich, a packet of Seabrook crisps and a cold drink - there is an extra charge to eat in.

As well as sandwiches, expect paninis, a soup of the day and jacket potatoes served with a choice of five different toppings.

I chose from the guest menu, dishes made on licence from Italian restaurant Casa Mia featuring pasta done five ways - penne and meatballs, lasagne, vegetable pasta bake, pasta al forno and aubergine parmigianna. Each is priced £5.

The lasagne took about ten minutes to be served at my table in a white oval-shaped bowl and it came with a side of mixed green leaf salad.

Although tasty, with fork-wrappingly gooey grated cheese on top, I was disappointed by the quantity of meat. That said, the pasta tasted fresh and the portion size was just about right.

This eatery will always get business from those working in the offices above it but when others inevitably open nearby I would expect it to be overlooked by others. One perk is its well-stocked bar.

Rating: 3/5