Warmth of welcome makes Kirkstall’s West End House

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There are some pubs which defy expectations. The New George at Kirkstall is one such.

Every time I pass through the traffic lights on the way down the hill, I’m staggered by the fact it’s not just busy but packed, sometimes so much so that some of the clientele have spilled outside. Where do these people come from? It’s the same with the subject of this week’s review, which is the nearby West End House, a traditional pub serving a surprisingly broad range of real ales, together with the usual lagers, wines and whatnot. We called in on a Sunday around 2pm to find the place heaving, people queuing round the bar for food.

The welcome

The welcome is friendly from the off and efficient. There’s two staff behind the bar and others ferrying plates of food to hungry customers. The thing that makes the West End though, is the welcome, the service, the genuine warmth from staff and a sense that they really care about whether you’re enjoying your stay.

Location & History

It’s a stone’s throw from Kirkstall Abbey and I suppose if you were wanting to make a mini ‘crawl’ of it, you could begin at the Vesper Gate a little further along and end at the New George. The building dates from 1867. Tammy the landlady took over from long serving landlords Robert Trainor and Paul Gill in August 2017 after working for them for 15 years. She kept all the staff and long serving head cook Dawn Cartwright... so says their website. Inside, the pub is split into a number of carpeted ‘rooms’ clustered around the bar. It’s bigger than you think in there but that didn’t mean we found a seat. So, we took ourselves outside, into the sun and the slender but snug beer garden than runs down the side of the building. Birds chatter away here and there’s a scatter of tables, with enough standing room to make a go of it.

The Food

The West End might be traditional but it’s no throwback. Service is tip top. The menu has the innovatively named dishes such as Trawlerman’s Pie and Wild Mushroom & Brandy Strudel. We ordered food for us and the children. There was sausage and mash for the little ones at £4.25 a go, served with a decent amount of veg and gravy. Alongside that went butterfly chicken (£7.95) and some cheesy chips (£2.25), which were delightful. All the food is home cooked and of a high standard. There was a bit of a wait but it was rammed to the rafters.

The Drink

Real ale fans will be pleased to learn there’s a wide selection: Betty Stogs Blue Moon, Tim Taylor’s ever reliable Boltmaker, Landlord, even some Old Speckled Hen.

The grub was washed down (for me) with two pints of Pravha, a wonderfully crisp, refreshing lager and a perfect fit for the sunshine on the day.

Address

26, Abbey Rd, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3HS

0113 278 6332

Scores

Score: 4/5