Crafthouse at Trinity, Leeds
This is the flagship restaurant in Leeds’ multi-million pound Trinity Shopping Centre. There are twenty odd lesser eating places in the mall, most of them chains but this, along with its more informal sister restaurant Angelica, are top of the bill. Accordingly, they get Trinity’s top two floors to themselves complete with wrap around views of the city roofscape (and their ugly air conditioning units) and a unique view of the Trinity Church roof and bell tower.
To get to Crafthouse, you can whizz up in the lift direct from Boar Lane, or via the shopping mall. Once inside the hip, monochrome restaurant is urban cool: blacks, whites, greys, a string room-divider, a sleek white marble bar and an open plan kitchen. Glassware is Riedel. Cutlery is Sheffield. Cooking is Josper.
The £12,000+ Josper is every chefs must-have bit of kit du jour, a fiercely hot, indoor charcoal burner and oven. Unsurprisingly, grilled steaks are the foundation stones of the Crafthouse menu supplemented by fish, braised lamb, salmon and veal kidneys.
Starters are largely uncomplicated, oysters, scallops and dressed crab. We gave high marks to quail cannelloni with Savoy cabbage and artichoke puree given extra perkiness with a hint of truffle.A main of Goosnargh chicken came in its own casserole: tasty, falling-off-the-bone chicken thighs, cooked with mushrooms, baby onions and carrots all in an aromatic tarragon gravy and beautiful mash.
But you couldn’t judge Crafthouse without judging its meat. Steaks are offered with a side dish and a choice of sauce. Our rib-eye was expertly grilled, rare, but well seared from the Josper and helped along by parsley butter and a cone of crispy triple fried chips. Steaks are never cheap and they’re not here. Prices start with sirloin at £28 and rise to £76 for a chateaubriand to share. In between are ribeye, sirloin and fillet steaks priced between £30 and £34. Sea bass, Dover sole and Yorkshire coast lobster go on the Josper too.
A few choices for veggies. Desserts reel off the solid sellers: banoffee soufflé, crème brulee served in a shallow cast iron pot Service was attentive and sharp. The clientele appeared more suit than shopper, and the total experience exuded a corporate proficiency.