Having been impressed by a past visit, a friend and I decided on Veritas as a good spot for a late lunch ahead of a look around a few of Leeds city centre’s main attractions – it’s just a short amble from The Headrow but in a much quieter spot.
I hadn’t realised it had even been refurbished, but as we walked behind Leeds Town Hall on the way, we were greeted by a new smart, grey exterior.
And inside, gone are its Art Nouveau posters for Martini and Campari, and in comes a contemporary look.
I always liked the bar’s decoration, but feel like that consciously old-fashioned style is getting a little bit, well, dated.
The new look – fresh with grey and dark blues inside, splashes of bright colour, new artwork and wooden floor – makes the space feel even bigger than it was before.
And the bar impresses, with a large collection of spirits and imported beers laid out on tall, long jagged shelves.
The wine list is “extensive”, apparently, which I’ll have to take their word for because whenever I see Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker on draft (£3.65), it’s difficult to go for anything else. My pal had Veltins (£4.10).
Difficult as it was to choose from the large menu - honestly, most of it looks great – I started with the Honey Glazed Chorizo and Tomato Salad (£5.95), which came with crumbled feta, pickled cucumber and radish. This dish flies in the face of everything bad you’ve heard about salads (although I can’t pretend it’s the healthiest one I’ve had either). Flavourful, rich and juicy, I’d have (nearly) been happy to have it as a main.
My friend nibbles on warm bread with rapeseed oil and black treacle vinegar (£1.95) and is happy enough.
There are also plenty of inventive dishes to choose from in the mains, but posh bangers and mash is what grabs my attention on this occasion – Grilled Sausage and Spring Onion Crushed Potatoes comes with roast vegetables and onion gravy (£10.95). The thick sausage neatly curls round several times on top of a bed of potatoes, and tastes brilliant.
Over the other side of the table, my friend has the vegetarian Cheddar Cheese, Onion and Potato Pie made with shortcrust pastry and served with roast vegetables and homemade chips (£9.95).
While we both agree this could do with a bit of gravy, the cheddar is nice and strong and it’s a thumbs up for the chips.
Plain cauliflower, however, is straight for Room 101, so this doesn’t get eaten. The broccoli is fine, but the “roasted vegetables” side could be much better.
Overall though, the fare at Veritas is almost everything you want from pub food, but just a little more special.
And, I should mention, the staff were on top form.