Bar review: Head of Steam, Mill Hill, Leeds

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We’re in Leeds on a Saturday night. We’ve had a reunion with former colleagues and a few pints and Pinot Grigios have been consumed, but so far no food.

And we have 90 minutes before our train home. Plenty of time for an unfussy bite to eat. Restaurants don’t appeal, pub grub might but it’s a little late and we’d rather have something a little more substantial than street food.

So, we wander past one of our favourite haunts, the Scarbrough Taps. It’s a place we have been to many, many times, but we fancied somewhere different. That’s how we found The Head of Steam in Mill Hill.

It opened in 2014 but feels like it has always been there – it’s a busy, sociable pub with a fabulous array of beers.

There are 30 keg beers and cask ales on offer and 180 bottled beers. I settled on a pint of Rising Tide golden ale from the Turning Point brewery, a relatively new outfit in Kirkbymoorside.

Turning Point (£3.95) is described as a zesty, English-style pale ale, and it was very refreshing. I could have tried Adnam’s Ghost Ship, which appealed, or Ilkley Brewery’s Tribus Lupulus, an American-style triple hop pale ale.

My wife had a glass of Sereno Pinot Grigio (£6.35), which was a refreshing drink. Very appealing.

On a different day we might have tried the Orange Mocha Frapp Stout. I can’t imagine what it tastes like and it doesn’t sound appealing in the slightest but I’d give it a go. Now, the reason we called here was because it was still serving food.

We settled on the snacks menu and tried the All Aboard sharing platter (£18.95), which sounded expensive but which was actually a great assortment of dishes.

There were two mini pork pies, one of which was nicely seasoned and tasty, plus a chilli and rhubarb pie (different, to say the least, but not as spicy as it sounded), plus a mild cheddar, brie (excellent), Duke of Wellington blue (even better) and Timothy Taylor air-dried ham, plus British free-range chorizo and salami.

The highlight, though, was Rhuby Crumble. Never heard of it? It’s a creamy, crumbly Wensleydale with the addition of Yorkshire rhubarb and vanilla and it’s made in Wakefield of all places.

All deli board dishes come with artisan crackers, mixed olives and delightful spicy chutney. The staff were pleasant and helpful and the service quick and efficient.

We wish we had more time to have eaten properly from the main menu.

The Head of Steam is a chain of restaurants across the North and I’ve been to a few of them. They all seem to be quirky and different and well worth a visit whether you plan to drop in or just happen to be passing by, as we were.

The Head of Steam, 12 Mill Hill, Leeds. 01132 436618

Score 3/5