Review: Roundhay Fox
Leeds, United Kingdom
Of a certain vintage
132 people found this review helpful
Roundhay Park in Leeds is one of the biggest city parks in Europe.
It is a lovely and popular green space, having over 700 acres of grassland, woods, two lakes, a café, two restaurants, a 9 hole golf course, a mansion house wedding and corporate venue, play areas, and miles of footpaths.
There is a huge assortment of natural wildlife. It's history can be traced back to the Lacy family in 1284 when it was a hunting park for sport and game.
There are a few Yorkshire stone buildings scattered around the park and the old stable block facing onto Prince's Avenue is one of them. The building has seen many changes over the years, having been a tea-shop café, Stables wine bar and latterly two Italian restaurants.
For the last few years it has forged a healthy business as a link in the chain of Vintage Inns, one of almost two hundred such venues in their stable (sorry) across the U.K. This one goes by the name of The Roundhay Fox. Oddly enough, one casually crossed the road in front of us as we left later that night.
The company specialise in turning older buildings into pub/restaurants, many with accommodation and all are themed in a 'rustic' style.
This means preserving the character and old features of such buildings and then inserting wooden beams, dark wood furniture, floorboards, open fires etc., you get the picture.
Whilst certainly not high-end dining, it is decent 'pub-grub' at decent prices and a standard menu in all of the premises.
On our entry, admittedly at 9pm on a weekday, my party of four were quickly greeted by a smiling waitress and shown to a cleared and set table. It had been a busy evening as some tables were still being cleared.
There is always a good selection of real ales and lagers, many locally supplied.
The pumps proudly displayed Black Sheep from Masham and Leeds Pale from Leeds Brewery, as well as the ubiquitous Marston's products. All superb ales. A selection of lagers included the popular Peroni brand.
The premises are Cask Marque accredited which means that they are independently checked on a regular basis for quality and cleanliness. In fact, I had been in another pub in Otley the day before, after a walk in the Yorkshire Dales, and took great interest as a Cask Marque inspector sampled the ales at the bar there. I offered to help but he seemed happy to work alone. I left my C.V. with him.
We were given menus to peruse as the waitress went off to get our drinks order.
It seems that the chain is trying hard to upgrade the food and I was pleased to see the involvement of tv chef James Martin in the menu. He has come up with a selection of pies which includes British beef and Merlot, salmon and haddock with prawns, and chicken with pulled ham and leek. The eye-catcher for me though, was the slow cooked game and blackberry pie. It was now a toss-up between that, the free range wild Scottish salmon and the rump steak. I truly hadn't expected such a mouth-watering dilemma.
There is a large range of starters and sharing plates, with my recommendation being the Baked Cornish brie with onion marmalade brulee. Simply delicious.
In the end, the pull of the rump prevailed and having asked for it medium-rare, that was how it came, not a second under or over cooked. The accompanying spiced chips, battered onion rings and peas with tomato confit were excellent plate-mates and were soon demolished.
The Hunter's chicken and one of the beef and Merlot pies chosen by my companions were also said to be of good quality and very tasty. Portions were not scrimped on and some of the pie had to be left, but not before I sneaked a surreptitious taste. Quite lovely.
The range and quality of wines available has also improved with a beautiful Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and others of a similar ilk now on offer.
Due to the lateness of the hour, desserts were not contemplated, though had we signed up to their website beforehand, we could have had a free pudding and thus sample the delights of a peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake with whipped cream. Just typing it has made me put weight on.
Customers who are subscribers to The Times newspaper can get 25% off the total food and drinks bill for themselves and their guests at any Vintage Inn, a substantial saving on the already reasonable prices.
Our waitress was friendly and attentive, making us feel at home and any requests were dealt with quickly and efficiently. A very pleasant visit all told.
The Roundhay Fox is just a ten minute drive from Leeds City Centre in a smart part of town and opposite the Tropical World complex of exotic plants and animals from around the World, a place worthy of a visit in any case in the daytime.
For those who must remain in touch the inn has free O2 Wi-Fi, whilst the premises can be seen and the menu drooled over, at www.vintageinn.co.uk/theroundhayfoxleeds.
132 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.