January 10th, 2013

Review: Blackhouse 50% Off Sale

Review: Blackhouse 50% Off Sale

50% off food? Check. Lively atmosphere? Check. Superior service, with a bit of personality? Check and double check.

The January Sale at Blackhouse is nothing short of legendary. It promises 50% off food, with very few exceptions. But with so many people coming through the door, I wondered - would the service, or the quality suffer? The answer, quite simply, is no.

From the moment we arrived, it was clear Blackhouse was busy. Every table from the foyer to the fish tank was filled, and the people before us were politely asked to wait in the bar until their table was ready. We, however, having booked an earlier slot, were escorted to an amazing table, with full view of the restaurant and the pianist - which, by the way, is a lovely touch, especially when he breaks into 'Summer of '69′ half way through dinner.

Once seated, it wasn't long before the waiter popped by to take our drinks order, and let us know that there were a few things missing from the menu - oysters, mackerel and a switch from hake to cod. Bearing in mind that it was 8pm on one of their busiest nights of the year, I think that's a pretty good showing. And it helped that the waiter let us know before we set our sights on something we couldn't have.

The Menu and the Sale

If you've ever been to Blackhouse, you'll know they have a cracking menu. It caters for every taste and budget, with dishes ranging from Classic Moules Frites at just £10.99 to Wagyu Fillet at a budget-breaking £55. But, some of these are off the table if you want 50% off.
The deal excludes Oysters, Lobster, Dover Sole and Wagyu Fillet - it does, however, include their mouth-watering Best of British menu. Complete with Rib Eye, Sirloin and Fillet Steak, shipped in from Billy and George Scott Summerhill Farm in Scaleby, near Carlisle, it's a meat-lover's dream. So we definitely weren't short of choice, and it still took us a good 10 minutes to decide what we were having.

For Starters

Scottish Mussels. You get a choice of white wine and cream or cider and chorizo. I went for the latter, and it was a delight. The freshness of the mussels, with the heat of the chorizo... it's not a something I would have put together myself, but that's why it's so good.

The boy went for the Duck Spring Rolls, which he was very impressed with. They came with a sweet and flavoursome hoi sin dip, and were immaculately presented, like everything else at Blackhouse.

The Main Attraction

At a restaurant like Blackhouse, it's difficult to resist the steak, especially when splashing out won't drain your bank account. So I went for with the Fillet Steak from the Best of British Menu. I like my steaks rare, almost blue - and this one was cooked to perfection. Fat, juicy and tender, it was one of the best steaks I've ever had - and I don't say that lightly. I am, after all, 'the Steak and Guinness girl'.

The boy, who chose a Sirloin from the main menu, would have preferred his steak a little less bloody. And I have to admit, it was on the rare end of medium-rare. Something to bear in mind, if you lean more towards medium.

Both steaks came with homecut chips - crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, just the way we like them. And on a whim, I threw in a serving of asparagus. Out of season, but a real treat, and the béarnaise sauce was a nice touch too.

Sweet Like Red Velvet

Pudding? Impossible. We'd eaten way too much. But when the menu came... well, I've never seen red velvet cake on anything but a wedding menu, so we made space.

It was rich, especially with the kumquat clotted cream, and across the table, the boy was tucking into a trio of ice cream, which I eyed with envy until he gave me a try. Pistachio with almonds - officially the only ice cream I've ever liked. If I could re-do puddings, I'd order that. Apparently, ice cream isn't a cop-out here.

The Bill

Three courses, two delicious starters, a sirloin and a very posh fillet, with a side of asparagus and two puddings you can always make room for - all for £42.85. Add drinks (they're not half price and ours came to £14.50 for a large glass of wine and two beers), so we were fed and watered for a pocket-pleasing £57.

The Verdict

A trip to Blackhouse is a treat, but in January, it's a treat you can have again and again. Throughout the meal, our waiter was attentive, helpful, and a bit of laugh. We joked with him on more than one occasion, and it never felt like he was busy or rushed, despite the fact that his tables were all full. So no, the service didn't suffer. The food was excellent too. And the price was nothing short of a bargain. I can't fault it.

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Tags: Blackhouse, January Sale, Leeds
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