One of the beauties of Leeds is the broad range of pubs, from high quality fine dining establishments to proper spit-and-sawdust establishments.
And just when you feel like you’re getting a handle on all that Leeds has to offer, you find another legendary pub that you knew nothing about but which you feel you really ought to have been familiar with.
One such place is the Lamb & Flag, which I’m sure proper Loiners will be familiar with. It is on Church Row, next to the Leeds Parish Church and just a yell away from the new BBC headquarters and the culture quarter. The Lamb & Flag’s name seems to be religious in meaning, which seems to fit given that it is neighbouring the Parish Church. The name apparently comes from the symbol of Christ as the victorious Lamb of God of the Book of Revelation, carrying a banner with a cross.
It looks like it has been here forever. Actually it is restored from a crumbling 19th century building.
The Lamb, as regulars know it, mixes exposed brickwork with big open windows and a superb courtyard beer garden. In fact, I would venture to suggest there isn’t a more welcoming pub on a summer’s day. It has plenty of space for private bookings, with a separate upstairs bar and balcony and a downstairs snug with private terrace.
There is a full range of Leeds Brewery beers behind the bar, complemented by an extensive range of draught lagers, wines, spirits and locally sourced food.
We weren’t dining on our visit, but we will certainly make a repeat visit to sample the grub. The pub’s owners say all dishes are home made. Menus change seasonally and they have a specials board which changes monthly. However they always offer a Sunday lunch and serve sandwiches throughout the week.
We were there for the beer and wine. Our party had a Birra Poretti (£4.90), a Camerson’s brewery Gabbo beer (£3.80), an Emotivo pinot grigio (£6.70) and a Waddling Duck sauvignon blanc wine (£7.80).
Now the wine seems expensive but both were well received. The Waddling Duck is youthful, approachable with a nose of intense, fresh gooseberry fruit. It’s dry and full of peach and passion fruit.
The pino is light, crisp and refreshing, ideal for any occasion.
The Birra Poretti is an Italian brew and is held in high regard, despite a steep price, but for me the Gabbo was wonderful. At £3.80, it represented a bargain, too.
It’s a session-strength West Coast style IPA with low bitterness but full of pine and citrus hop aromas.
For us, though, it was the beer garden at the rear of the pub which was the real star. If there is a better place to drink on a summer’s day, I’ve yet to find it.
Lamb & Flag
1 Church Row