Review: The Decanter, Park Row, Leeds

The Decanter.
The Decanter.
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The Decanter doesn’t give much away from the outside.

Granted it’s in a prime city centre location but its subtlety, next to the more loud and glitzy bars and restaurants on Park Row, is enticing. With just a small, shop front-sized facade, it opens up deep inside, once your eyes have adjusted to the dark interior.

Barfly.. the Decanter, Park Row, Leeds...SH1001/200b..19th March 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme

Barfly.. the Decanter, Park Row, Leeds...SH1001/200b..19th March 2014 Picture by Simon Hulme

The Decanter is a wine bar, in case you hadn’t guessed, but given we were driving and were here for the food, we abstained (see YEP’s Barfly review of The Decanter as a venue for drinks). For those who do want to sample their impressive selection of wines, there were perfect accompanying nibbles on offer, such as whole almonds, Italian mixed pitted olives or feta, sundries tomatoes with olives.

Inside The Decanter, the dark decor includes plush sofas and armchairs for laid back drinking and dining. If you’re feeling more peckish than nibbles, The Decanter offers a range of platters which would be incredibly tempting with a bottle, or two. The cheese board boasts five different cheeses along with grapes, crackers, bread and caramelised red onion chutney, for £11.95.

Likewise for the meat board - five tasty morsels of meat are offered up for £10.95, including chorizo, salami Napoli and Serrano ham. The menu also helpfully recommends wine for the boards to go with.

As inviting as these sharing - or not - platters looked, we fancied a dish we could eat on our own for our Saturday lunch. The Decanter’s sandwiches are all a variation on the ingredients for their boards - but with such tasty produce, why not? As a fan of pesto, I nearly went for the brie, basil pesto and sundried tomatoes option but plumped for the smoked Coverdale cheese, Serrano ham and red onion chutney sandwich.

With no mention of crisps or chips on the menu, it was a nice surprise when it came with a bowl of salted crisps. The sandwich was made with delicious slabs of focaccia bread and there was no scrimping on the filling - big blocks of the smoked cheese and folds of ham, with extra chutney in small jar on the side. The smoked cheese was unsurprisingly the most overpowering flavour but was delicious, especially with more chutney spooned onto each mouthful. My dining partner ordered the Pork Pie Board - a large Yorkshire-made pork pie served with the red onion chutney and also a little bowl of picked onions. The pie was a good size for lunch, with the meat densely packed but full of flavour. A usual fan of mustard served with pork pies, my companion was pleasantly surprised by the chutney accompaniment and the picked onions went down a treat - with him and me.

The Decanter offers great value for money, with two such good quality lunches coming to £9.90. The place was empty when we first arrived at about 12.45pm but had begun to fill over our sitting, with a mix of people enjoying the odd drink, glass of wine or lunch. And The Decanter suits all of those options - as much a place to have a proper plate of lunch as it is to graze with a bottle of wine. It is certainly a bar we will be returning to soon for an early evening glass with nibbles.

Rating: 4/5