In February, I had the chance to do my first official restaurant review at the newly refurbished Banyan Bar & Kitchen in Harrogate. I thought it would be great to visit the newly opened Leeds branch and see how it compared.
Banyan Bar in Leeds is located in the Old Post Office so is in a grand building with fantastic architecture, making it feel like a special event before you even get inside. There is a great seating area outside too, which would be perfect this summer while sampling the cocktails (Spoiler: they’re incredible!)
The decor inside is the signature wood and copper finishings, with comfortable seating areas. There is a separate bar area, so it’s perfect for going for drinks too, and it doesn’t intrude on the dining area.
When R and I got there, we were taken to our table, which had a cute framed reservation notice. I definitely wanted to take this home with me, but a photo will suffice! I really like these little details. It was a Thursday evening, but still really busy.
The first thing I did was order a cocktail of course!
I chose a Mango Vanilla Martini. If you like fruity cocktails, this is the one! I don’t usually choose vodka based cocktails, but the fruity flavours stole the show. Topped with pineapple foam, this drink was perfect for me.
The other cocktail I tried was suggested to me by the waitress, who made a great choice! It was the Berry Collins, another vodka based cocktail – maybe I do like them! It was less dessert-like than the Martini, and really refreshing. I think this would be a perfect drink to sip while sitting outside in the sun.
R went for the Brockman’s Gin, as he was jealous of mine in Harrogate!
For our starters, we chose the Crispy Duck Spring Rolls and Crispy Calamari.
The duck spring rolls were really nice, with the duck being cooked perfectly so as to not be too dry. I liked the oriental dipping sauce that came with it too, and thought it really complemented them. The chilli peppers on top were a nice touch.
The calamari came in the form of a mountain! There was plenty to enjoy, with a Wasabi sour cream side. I did think it seemed a little boring compared with the duck rolls, and probably could have done with some pepper garnishing or seasoning. The calamari itself tasted good, but it wasn’t a stand out dish.
Onto the mains… I never order pie! I’ve mentioned this before, even though I went to an all pie place, Pieminister, in Leeds. However, it sounded great so I decided to go for it.
Great choice by me! I really enjoyed the pie, loved the buttery, swirly mashed potato and the gravy was great. I did have to ask for extra, but I like a lot of gravy! The meal came with seasonal greens, but I found them to be a little over salted.
I’m a big fan of great presentation and was impressed by this dish.
R ordered the fillet Steak, which was cooked Medium and tasted great! I was a bit underwhelmed with the presentation of his meal and didn’t think the salad was up to much. The fries were great though and overall both of our meals were definitely worth it.
I really enjoyed the meal and would definitely go back. In fact, I am sure I’ll be taking a friend there soon. We felt full, happy, and like we’d had a bit of a special meal out.
The service was excellent and I was really impressed with our waitress and the other staff we encountered. They were friendly throughout, and so was the manager when I briefly met him at the end. I would definitely suggest a visit. It’s right in the city centre, just a few minutes from the train station.
It would be the perfect place for a group of people, friends or couples to dine. There was a buzzing atmospehere and it’s reasonably priced too.
You can book a party online and make enquiries on the website.
Have you tried Banyan Bar & Kitchen yet? Do you think you’d like to?
Disclaimer: I’d like to thank Banyan Bar & Kitchen in Leeds for the invite. The meal was complimentary, but this has in no way affected my opinions.