Christmas has come and gone now – it’ll soon be time to blow off the cobwebs of indulgence and give up the tipsy, nocturnal carb-loading for strict superfood, five-a-day, clean eating.
Except a new bar and restaurant has opened in Leeds which seems to invite us back into the comfort zone of big hearty meals and naughty cocktails, which as Brits are naturally our only solace in these dark winter months.
And the thing is, it’s really rather good.
It would be hard not to notice, if you’re passing, the new Cosy Club on Albion Street where the Next store used to stand.
Its aesthetic is one of bygone charm – old paintings of lordly-looking fellows with Captain Hook hair, grand wooden furniture and Sinatra crooning from the speakers.
When a friend and I amble in hauling suitcases following a Christmas visit home, we couldn’t look more out of place.
Thankfully the staff are lovely and have us seated in a nice place with good views of the low-lit, clearly-already-popular surroundings.
And it doesn’t take too long for me to settle into a pint of Estrella Damm (£4.65), or my friend the delicious Cherry Cola cocktail.
The latter is a combination of Kraken spiced rum, Evan Williams bourbon and cherry juice topped with Darkside stout, cola and cherries. Needless to say, it’s worth the £7.95 price tag if you’re treating yourself.
For food, we start by sharing mushrooms on toast, which have been sauteed in tarragon, cream and brandy, and topped with watercress (£5.50).
This is a beautiful, rich way to begin, with the sauce really boosting what could be quite a pedestrian choice.
For the main, I’ve got the slow-cooked pork belly with a pea and ham hock croquette, wholegrain mustard mash, cavolo nero and cider gravy (£14.50).
The pork is tasty and flavourful though a little on the soggy side (it has been slow-cooked, to be fair) but really the mash is the highlight here - unusual and gorgeously tart.
The croquette was also a right little treat with a sweetness to it that I didn’t expect.
My partner opted for the courgette, pea and edamame bean risotto with spinach and red pepper, topped with wild rocket, toasted pumpkin seeds and tomato tapenade (£8.50).
I’m told it was great. But with hefty portions, some is left, so there’s no room for dessert.
She can fit in another Cherry Cola, of course.
This is not the first Cosy Club - there’s others around the country - but I think it’ll be a welcome addition here. Now, you only have three days before the health regime starts...
53 Albion St, Leeds LS1 5AA