Last week myself and Tom took a trip to Blackhouse (The grill on the square) in Leeds. Blackhouse has been on my "to-go-to restaurants" list for some time but somehow I've overlooked this on multiple occasions. I think my problem was I saw the place as a steak house and nothing more, been a self confessed foodie, I like a few more options on the menu and well....more "exciting" options. I was proved somewhat wrong at the end of the evening and felt bad I had almost been too too quick to prejudge Blackhouse.
In fact, at the end of the evening I can honestly say, it was up there with one of my most enjoyable dining experiences of the year. The best steak I have ever eaten. A large claim to make but none the less true.
Whilst we perused the impressive and extensive menu we ordered some nibbles and drinks to get started. Olives £3.00 and a portion of the warm baked loaf with chorizo butter and salted butter £3.50. Along side a beer and a glass of Saint Clare Sauvignon Blanc from the drinks menu.
The fresh baked bread was very moreish and the chorizo butter added an extra nice touch to start the evening.
To start, the Tuna Carpaccio £8.75 caught my eye and Tom decided on the Dressed Crab and Avacado £6.75.
The Tuna was a well presented dish with finely sliced fresh tuna served with a sesame and chili dressing. The sesame dressing did over power the delicate taste of the tuna and I couldn't really taste the chili. That said, it was a enjoyable sophisticated light starter and the sesame seeds did bring a depth of texture to the dish.
Tom's starter of dressed crab and avocado was served on a bed of cucumber with a bloody Mary dressing and olive oil toasted croutons. My first impression of the starters was the tuna looked the better presented of the two, with the presentation of the crab looking a little dated...70's food era maybe? I think it was the slices of cucumber and dots of bright red bloody Mary sauce which made me think this.
The taste of the dish was actually very good. The avocado worked well with the crab and both flavours complimented each other other well. I thought the bloody Mary dressing was sharp which added a nice flavour to a cut through a creamy texture of the dish.
For the main courses, I was impressed with the wide range of speciality steaks available. The waitresse's knowledge of the menu was excellent. She comprehensively talked us both through the range of steaks available, from to the type of cows and what they was fed to the flavours and textures of the meat. In the end we both opted for a classic cut of steak, myself the 227g English fillet steak £29.00 and Tom a larger 340g Argentinian Ribeye steak £28.00.
However, if steak isn't your thing, the menu also has a variety of other dishes from lobster and seabass, to roasted lamb fillet and burgers. Plus vegetarian options including cauliflower steak.
The steaks arrived with our chosen accompaniments, skin on fries and a peppercorn sauce £2.50 for myself and a red wine and shallot sauce £2.50 for Tom, with a garnish of roasted cherry tomatoes. We also chose a house salad £4.00 to share between us. The accompaniment of chips (or you can also select mash potatoes) was included within the price of the steak but I did feel it was a shame the sauces were charged separately.
The fillet steak was cooked beautifully, medium rare as ordered, it literally melted in my mouth. With not an ounce of fat to be found anywhere on the steak. I really hate the term "melt in the mouth" for some reason but over the past few years of good quality dining, I've found this the best way to truly describe moments like this. The chips were cooked to perfection, beautifully crisp with a good fluffy texture. The peppercorn sauce was a nice thick (but not too thick) consistency with a good kick of peppercorn. My one minor criticism, was the tomatoes required roasting for longer. At first glance, I thought they were fresh straight to the plate tomatoes, so it would of been nice to see some charring on the skins to bring out their sweetness.
The ribeye, is a cut not as tender as the fillet but still a tender cut known for the marbling of fat running through the steak. This adds a rich meaty flavour. Tom said he found the steak flavoursome but far less tender than my fillet steak. He said my steak "melted like butter". This would be expected though given the different cuts of meat.
A really good main course from Blackhouse and I was certainly impressed. A small let down other than the tomatoes, was a disappointing house salad. This wouldn't bother me too much however I felt £4.00 was on the pricier side for a simple side salad. It deserved a little thought from the chefs too, without been a simple dish of "leaves".
Following on from an impressive starter and main course we were both tempted to try the desserts. The waitress again explained the options and offered recommendations as well as offering us a range of coffees and cocktails to finish the evening.
I was tempted instantly by the Lemon and Lime Posset £5.50 and Tom continued the classic theme of the evening with a Bannana Bread and Butter Pudding £4.95.
I also couldn't resist adding a cocktail and chose a classic favourite Espresso Martini £8.00 and Tom a Caffe Latte £2.75.
The desserts arrived. One small thin slice of bread and butter pudding compared with a much larger lemon and lime posset. I think the portion size would of actually been fine as an end to a 3 course meal, if it wasn't for the contrast in size between the two.
The banana bread and butter pudding was served with an orange creme fraiche. The banana added a nice twist on the classic and the caramalisation from the bananas added a nice sweetness but the overall banana flavour was lacking. Although this may have been as Tom ate it so fast.
The lemon and lime posset was served with fresh strawberries, cream, brandy snaps and a sprig of mint. The posset was rich and creamy, as expected and had a nice sharpness coming through from the citrus fruits. I couldn't finish all the dessert but Tom happily stepped in.
Overall I would highly recommend Blackhouse and can not wait to return. If you're a lover of steak you certainly will not be disappointed.
You can also check out Tom's review here.
You can also check out Tom's review here.