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‘Food to swear by’ – Matt Healy at The Foundry, reviewed

3 years ago

Anja Madhvani finds out if this Leeds institution is in good hands

OVER the years, The Foundry has gained a reputation for excellent food, and has a loyal customer base of mainly young professionals sharing bottles of Tattinger, and families celebrating special occasions.

Matt Healy of Masterchef fame and his team have their work cut out for them taking on this Leeds stalwart.

We made the most of a warm evening with a drink outside. I was pleasantly surprised to see a well-curated beer list sitting alongside classic cocktails and an extensive wine menu – beer had been sadly neglected under the restaurant’s previous ownership.

The glassware is refined – it’s refreshing to see beer served properly in a restaurant, and is representative of the care displayed here.

We also indulged in a bottle of Txakoli (£30), a delightful wine I rarely see on menus. So, off to a pretty good start – although there aren’t many non-alcoholic drinks on the menu, which is a little unfair on non-drinkers.

The mackerel is cold, clearly on purpose, but a little unexpected after the torching.

We snacked on habas fritas (£3.20), chorizo in cider (£6.50), and a portion of bread with fabulous Heroina extra virgin olive oil and fifteen year old Pedro Ximenez balsamic (£3.20).

Such a wonderfully crisp sourdough makes for some very decadent dipping. The slight Basque theme to the snacks seemed a little removed from the rest of the menu, but I’ve decided not to lose any sleep over it.

The place looks clean and fresh, re-energised by a few simple changes.

A warm grey paint now coats the bar, and soft furnishings add a pop of colour. Xpletives, a mural by local artist Nicolas Dixon adorns a wall by the entrance, and a blue neon reading ‘Food To Swear By’ illuminates the kitchen pass.

We order small plates to share. Torched mackerel (£8.00) is a beautifully dressed plate with dots of beetroot puree topped with thinly sliced radish and apple with a garnish of red amaranth, micro coriander and edible flowers.

The mackerel is cold, clearly on purpose, but a little unexpected after the torching. The fillet is quite small, but the plate is pretty and the flavours work well together.

Asparagus, wild garlic, peas and duck egg (£8.50) is nothing groundbreaking, but who cares if it’s perfectly executed and seasoned? The star was the beef tartare (£8.50) served simply with an egg yolk on top – again salted to perfection.

This dish takes every element of a great burger and presents it with class and sophistication, no gimmicks; coarse cut beef laced with mustard, gherkin, capers and onion. A small cheese and onion brioche toastie on the side brings a sweet blue cheese tang.

Read the full review here.

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