Located on East Parade, Blackhouse has a superb reputation as being one of the best steak restaurants in Leeds.
With its contemporary exteriors and enviable location neighbouring Leeds favourites, Dakota and Tattu, one instantly gets the impression that Blackhouse is more than your average city centre eatery.
Having heard excellent reviews from various sources about the quality of the food at Blackhouse, I was eager to try so gladly accepted an invitation to visit last week.
After ascending the steps to the swanky entrance and making our way through the doors, we were quickly greeted by a friendly member of Front of House staff who led us to our table.
The decor throughout this establishment is undeniably charming but as Christmas is just a few weeks away, their contemporary interiors have been treated to a festive uplift with perfectly placed Christmas garlands and an elegantly decorated tree.
My husband and I were seated by a front window, where a curtain of fairy lights contributed to the already rather romantic ambience and added an element of privacy one doesn’t usually get at a front-facing window table.
Blackhouse has recently updated its menu and those who are familiar with the venue will no doubt be delighted to learn that most of the most popular dishes are still available, alongside a few exciting, seasonal additions.
To start, my husband chose one of the new additions – Pulled Beef Bon Bons. I chose to order the Calamari as, not only is it one of my favourite dishes, but it’s one that appears on most starter menus so I like to compare.
Not one to enjoy consuming copious amounts of alcohol during the day, my husband ordered a pint of Moretti to drink. I, on the other hand, requested a large glass of the house red. What goes better with steak than a glass of red wine?
For our main courses, we had both decided even before arriving that we were going to order steak. The Blackhouse team pride themselves on sourcing the best quality steaks and from what I had heard, they would be cooked to perfection. Their menu features a whole section dedicated to the prime cuts of beef they source and serve. Popular cuts like Sirloin, Rump, Rib Eye and Fillet are on their alongside a range of premium and sharing options such as Tomahawk and Chateaubriand.
All steaks at Blackhouse are available with a choice of mashed potatoes or chips and there’s a great selection of extra sides and sauces to complement. My husband ordered the Fillet with chunky chips, onion rings and peppercorn sauce. I opted for my favourite Rib Eye to be served medium with mashed potatoes, seasonal greens and blue cheese sauce.
The service here was excellent and there were no long waits. Our drinks arrived quickly and our starters weren’t far behind.
The Pulled Beef Bon Bons were beautifully presented on a slate and were steaming hot upon arrival. With a crispy coating and a wonderfully moist and flavoursome centre, they were quickly devoured.
My Calamari was served in bite-sized chunks rather than rings which for me is preferable as you tend to avoid the stringy bits which can be a nightmare to remove from between the teeth unnoticeably. Each piece was coated in a light tempura batter which, to my delight, didn’t immediately disintegrate once stabbed with a fork. Perfectly seasoned and with just the right about of crunch, it was by far one of the best Calamari starters I have tried. The accompanying Garlic Alioli was equally as delicious and the creaminess of it really balanced the dish.
We didn’t have long to wait after finishing our starters before our main courses arrived. The portions were certainly generous and each component was again piping hot.
Other than a few exclamations of delight, not a word was said between us until we were both halfway through our meals. It was at that point I realised how I uncharacteristically hadn’t reached for the salt grinder since being seated. I’m certainly guilty of adding a bit too much salt to my dishes – much to my husband’s dismay as he likes to finish my leftovers! Nothing I had tried thus far required any additional seasoning. The al dente vegetables were coated in butter and sprinkled with rock salt. The super juicy steaks were seasoned just enough to bring out the stunning flavour of the meat and the mash was indescribably delicious.
Having finished my smooth and full-bodied glass of red, I briefly perused the cocktail menu and ordered a second drink. Their cocktail menu is pretty impressive, featuring a long list of house cocktails as well as all the familiar favourites. Having grown a little tired of my recent go-to, the Pornstar Martini, I chose the rum-based Cuban Passion. I have ordered something very similar from other venues and wanted to see how they compared. One of my experiences with a cocktail of a similar recipe wasn’t particularly enjoyable and the concoction tasted not too dissimilar to that luminous yellow antibiotic medicine most of us had the misfortune of being prescribed during childhood. This one, however, was vastly different – fruity with just the right amount of alcohol.
As per usual, my husband’s main course disappeared at an astonishing rate and he began gazing across the table with that unmistakable look of love in his eyes. Unfortunately, despite the romantic ambience, it was my pan of mashed potatoes that he was lusting after. Knowing I was nearing my limit, I reluctantly handed over my plate and he ensured that not a single morsel remained.
Now, I am most certainly an avid carnivore. I love my red meat and steak is definitely my favourite. My husband, on the other hand, hasn’t been as fond of it in recent years as he was when we were dating. Whether that be due to the quality of the cuts I purchase at the supermarket or how I cook them, remains to be discussed!
Our meal at Blackhouse has certainly reignited his love for steak. We both agreed it was the best steak meal we have had by far and I’m pretty sure he won’t take much persuading to book us in for Valentine’s, should they have any availability!
Regrettably, we had to politely decline to see the offered dessert menu as we were both full to bursting. I’m entirely confident, however, that we would have been as equally blown away by the quality of these as we were by the dishes we had consumed.
A thoroughly enjoyable experience from start to finish which we hope to repeat in the near future!