Review: Water Lane Boathouse, Leeds

WATER COURSE: Recently opened venue next to canal. PIC: Simon Hulme

WaTER Lane Boathouse has been open since April, or thereabouts, taking over what was previously The Pour House.

It’s a lovely little spot too, right on the canal, overlooking Canal Wharf and yes, for all those attentive readers of this (and our sister) column, we have visited it previously as part of our Barfly review.

Barfly..The Boathouse, Water Lane, Leeds...18th October 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

But they also do food here and while the menu is not exactly extensive, it’s broad enough to accommodate most tastes of a lunchtime.

Water Lane Boathouse is in a prime spot in Leeds, ideally located to take advantage of the trade from the surrounding shops, flats and businesses, plus those who just happen to be passing by or walking the canal. It has an extensive outside decking area, with terraced seating made of the wood which is already bleached from the sun. Inside it’s a little bit more decorative... but only a little. On the floor you have those thick, sturdy (reliable) boards which look as though they’ve been there since the year dot and are still good for another thousand. Seating seems to be a mix of four-seater and much larger tables, with tastefully covered benches, which are quite comfy actually. The ceiling is totally stripped back to the concrete, with even the nuts and bolts showing, which is cliche now, of course.

At the bar there’s a superb range of beers and ciders, with a mix of drafs like Amstel and 1664, Guiness Extra Cold is there, as is Saltaire Blonde, Five Points Ale, Beavertown Neck Oil and Thornbridge’s Lucaria Ice Cream Porter. That’s not even the half of it, though, they have over 70 lagers/beers/ciders. Foodwise, it’s a mixed bag, with plenty of choice for veggies, from the San Marzaon tomato, garlic and oregano pizza (£4.95) to the beetroot, white bean and fennel burger (£8.50), which is what I end up ordering. I’m no veggie but occasionally I get the urge to see what life is like on that side of the road and so on and so forth.

Verdict: it was crisp on the outside, mushy in the middle, had a bit of peppery zing to it, was nicely seasoned and came with a decent dollop of Small Victories burger sauce, which is, apparently, made on the premises (bravo) and it also came with loads of skin-on chips and a kind of chunky thousand island dressing. I have to say I didn’t mind it. When I first started it, I had carnivore’s scepticism but the more I ate, the more I liked it.

I won’t be ‘coming out’ as a veggie just yet but I won’t mind crossing the road again.

To wash all that down, I ordered two halves: one of the ice cream porter (6 per cent), another of the Neck Oil (4.5 per cent). The Neck Oil is sharp, citrussy, with hints of heather and ginger and is very pale, while the porter was silky, malty, with overtones of liquorice and burnt toffee. Overall: very good.

WATER LANE BOATHOUSE

SCORE: 4/5

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