With new restaurants and cafes opening across the city on what feels like a weekly basis, the quiet arrival of deli and bistro Heaney and Mill in late summer may have passed you by.
This attractive spot has a spacious outside seating area for sunnier months, although it’s location on a busy crossroads near the top of Headingley’s high street might make the option of al fresco dining less appealing to some.
The tasteful, modern decor and the relaxed atmosphere will no doubt make it a popular choice for couples and groups of friends, particularly those keen to avoid some of the neighbourhood’s rowdier student haunts.
We arrived on a wet Sunday evening to a warm welcome. Settling down at a table for two near the window, we were given the chance to look through the drinks and Sunday dinner menu without feeling rushed.
Plasterer turned chef Tom Rennolds, a 2012 finalist on BBC cookery competition MasterChef, is the man behind this venture.
Since taking part in the show, he’s worked in various restaurants, held the role of executive chef at Aspire in Leeds and been a food consultant for the Skelwith Group of hotels and resorts. Now he’s pouring his passion for classic French cooking with modern techniques into the six different menus on offer at his own restaurant.
While there were still some small plates and deli platters on offer that night, it was the Sunday roasts that we wanted to put to the test. I was delighted with the lamb, which was beautifully tender and still a little pink just as I’d asked.
My other half went for the pork, a piece of tenderloin and another of cheek that were described simply as ‘superb’ while being happily devoured. Each was served with mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding and a selection of vegetables including cauliflower cheese and tenderstem broccoli. The gravy was rich, the vegetables fresh, mash creamy, but when it came to the roast potatoes I prefer them more crispy on the outside - maybe I’m being too picky.
All too often Sunday roast is a meal pubs and restaurants knock out with little thought but here real attention is given to each of the constituents parts. We were only in the market for main courses (£12 each) this time round but made note of the two-course and three-course options at £15 and £20 respectively. While you might get cheaper Sunday roast deals elsewhere, this really is great value.
Drinks - a pint of lager and a Masons gin and tonic - brought the final bill to £33, which was good value for money. We’ll be heading back if only to explore the other menus as soon as we get chance.
Heaney and Mill, 50 Otley Road