The Masterchef: The Professionals star opened The Forde in his hometown of Horsforth in December, serving brunch by day and Yorkshire charcuterie, local cheese and small plates by night.
I visited The Forde for dinner on a Saturday evening. It’s a cosy restaurant with plush leather chairs, stripped-back wooden floors and a tiny open kitchen.
We were the first to arrive at 5pm and by 6pm, every table was full.
There were older couples enjoying a date night, families tucking into the charcuterie board and friends catching up over wine.
The wine list is impressive and there’s a good selection of cocktails and beers.
I opted for an espresso martini, beautifully presented with a creamy layer of foam, while my dinner companion had a pint of Estrella on draught.
The charcuterie and cheese-focused menu is concise and changes regularly, making the most of what’s in season. You can get by as a vegetarian, but there were no vegan dishes on the menu.
Our server, who was friendly and clued-up without being in-your-face, recommended we share five of the small plates between the two of us. Dishes come out as they are ready.
First served was fresh bread with deliciously thick marmite butter, followed by melt-in-your-mouth salt cold with a rich and creamy celeriac and toasted hazelnut puree, topped with chives.
The spinach and porcini risotto was served with a dollop of fresh mascarpone and topped with toasted pine nuts, a delight for the tastebuds.
The chestnut gnocchi was my favourite dish - crispy on the outside with a fluffy, almost dumpling-like texture inside, with wild mushrooms and lovely bursts of roasted chestnuts, served with rosemary butter and mushroom veloute.
We finished our meal with the cheese board, served with more bread and marmite butter and a generous helping of pickles and chillies.
All the dishes were perfectly balanced; rich and fresh, soft and crunchy. After five small plates we were pleasantly full and our bill came to £57.
It’s fine-dining, made accessible and family-friendly. No silly portions and certainly no pretentious atmosphere.
Just exceptionally good food made with the finest seasonal ingredients.
Matt Healy, as we have come to expect, has smashed it out the park.
Address: 7 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 5LJ
Telephone: 07515 109613
Opening hours: Mon-Wed, 9am-3pm; Thur-Sat, 9am-3pm, 5pm-late. Sun, closed.