The swanky Ellington Hotel in York Place, Leeds opened to lots of noise in 2008. It was the poshest hotel in Leeds, oh, for at least ten minutes what with Nintendo Wii in the bedrooms and chefs from Le Gavroche poaching pike quenelles in the kitchen. And then they closed. That was even before the recession really kicked in.
I’ve never understood why York Place is such a Bermuda Triangle for restaurants, what with all those lawyers and bankers on the doorstep but from the cellars of Len’s Bar & Dining Rooms (remember that anyone?), a short-lived food emporium, Plush at number 10 that thought it was smart to serve zebra (simultaneously alienating anyone who cared about wildlife or food miles) and most recently 3 York Place, it’s a postcode with a curse.
Undeterred, the Ellington premises have now been bought by Bespoke Hotels a hotel chain that operates mostly in the south of England. Renamed The New Elllington, it sports a Gin Bar with 16 different gins and a new restaurant claiming local produce and a safe-ish looking menu with the likes of butternut squash risotto and roast loin of venison. It’s expected, says the GM, “to become very popular with the after-work, evening and weekend crowds.” Hmm, not sure about the weekend crowds when this end of the Leeds business district goes very quiet. We’ll let you know.
And, speaking personally, as a sucker for a classy Gin and Tonic it won’t be too long either. Hope they understand Heston Blumenthal’s golden rule for a good G & T which is to pack in the ice first and plenty of it, thus preserving the strength and flavour of the gin.