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The Deer Park Leeds to update

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A recent refurbishment has breathed new life into this Street Lane watering hole.

A recent refurbishment has breathed new life into this Street Lane watering hole.

Up until a couple of months ago any suggestion of dining out at the Deer Park on Street Lane would have been met with raised eyebrows.

This was a drinkers’ pub plain and simple and not a particularly joyful one at that. But times change, and after a complete makeover the Deer Park deserves to be viewed afresh.
First impressions certainly suggest there have been no half measures regarding the revamp and while there is still a very pleasant bar area, with some nice wines by the glass and well-kept real ale too, there is no doubt that this is now primarily a dining venue. And our visit on a busy midweek lunchtime suggests the locals are cottoning on fast.
There is an excellent value ‘prix fixe’ menu for lunch and early dinner offering two courses for £12.50 but we found the sheer variety offered by going a la carte too much to resist.
A table beside a roaring fire was welcome on a day of Siberian winds and so were the warm fresh-baked breads and starters of duck rillette and twice baked pecorino soufflé. The duck, its flavour intensified by garlic and slow cooking, was rich and warming, lifted into another dimension by a sharp rhubarb and ginger chutney. The soufflé’s crab accompaniment worked equally well. Someone in the kitchen has thought long and hard about putting together a varied menu with unusual flavour combinations that actually work rather than having novelty value.
Game is definitely one of the flavours of autumn and a main course of venison steak with poached pear and root vegetable dauphinoise earns high marks for the perfectly cooked meat and delicate fruity accompaniment. My roast lamb rack with mini shepherds pie was a real crowd pleaser, and very well seasoned although if offered the option my lamb would have been slightly more pink. That really is splitting hairs though, as the food was of a very high standard.
Incidentally, you’d also go a long way before you found more attentive or cheerful service. This really does lift the atmosphere and makes the guilty pleasure of breaking the daily work routine and taking slightly more than an hour for lunch all the more pleasurable.
The dessert list is heavy on comfort food and to hell with the calorie counter; we entered into the spirit with a suitably sticky treacle and orange tart and a sweet, crunchy maple, praline and mascarpone cheesecake.
Orders are being taken now for various special menus over the Christmas and New Year period, and Friday night is traditional fish and chip supper night. Yes, it’s definitely time to give the Deer Park another go.

Deer Park
Street Lane Leeds, LS8 2DQ
Tel: 0113 246 3211
www.deerparkleeds.co.uk

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