Review: Veritas, Great George Street, Leeds

Veritas has a good reputation for its real ale selection.
Veritas has a good reputation for its real ale selection.
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In bygone days, a lunchtime pint was as much a prerequisite for any self-respecting journalist as a typewriter and shorthand notebook.

A daily trip to the boozer is a tradition that – some might say regretfully – has waned along with the notion that the pub and the office are equally appropriate locations in which to conduct business.

So when the legitimate opportunity does present itself to nip out to an ale house of some repute in the middle of a working day, it feels like a professional duty to accept it.

And so I found myself nursing a pint of Jaipur – a nicely hoppy Indian pale ale – at Veritas on Great George Street while perusing a not uninteresting food menu.

The pub itself, part of the Market Town Taverns chain, feels about as far removed as possible from the fabled dingy Fleet Street drinking den where hushed conversations, nudges and winks provided the fodder for next day’s news pages.

All wooden floors, large windows and smart decor, its regulars are more likely to be the smartly dressed lawyers and doctors who work nearby than wizened old hacks and shifty-looking police officers.

The modern menu reflects the clientele, ranging from hummus and spinach salads to steak and oyster stout pie.

From the specials I had the red mullet with chorizo, crayfish and spinach risotto.

It was a pleasant-looking dish, the effervescent pink of the fish fillets matched by the pop of colour of the crayfish.

The fish itself was moist and meaty, complementing the creaminess of the risotto well. The spinach in the risotto, while adding a flash of green, was barely tangible, but there was enough flavour elsewhere to compensate.

My dining partner had the fish and chips.

The homemade chunky chips, served with the skins on, were huge and piping hot.

Not a fan of the grey sludge often passed off as mushy peas, she was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant green pot of what was called pea puree, which had a good whack of mint.

The batter on the pollock was crispy, golden and light but the flesh of the fish itself was elusive, coming in paltry flakes rather than satisfying chunks.

The cherry parfait we shared for dessert was also a mild disappointment. Two homogenous blocks of parfait came with what was described as a cherry glaze but was more of a runny sauce and meringue that had been crumbled to dust. A remnant of paper that I assume had been used as wrapping did nothing to raise it above underwhelming.

The bill came to £28.64.

I didn’t return from my rare lunchtime trip to the pub with a great tale to tell. However, neither was I entirely hacked off.

Rating: 3/5