The Atlas Pub, Leeds – Restaurant Review
The Atlas Pub, Leeds
by Rebecca Tredget
The Atlas pub sits in the middle of Leeds’s business district on the corner of St Pauls Street and King Street. When we arrive the bar area is buzzing with the suit-and-boot masses enjoying post-work drinks from the wide and mostly local beer menu. Leeds is currently riding high on the ‘locally brewed beer’ wave. If this were all the Atlas had to offer I might worry for them. However, there’s a lot more going on here.
To start I choose the special of Goats Cheese Panna Cotta with Beetroot Puree and Textures of Apple (£8). A seemingly strange concoction but, thankfully, a rather pleasant one. The Panna Cotta is beautifully smooth and has a delicate flavour. Deep fried goats cheese bon bons flavoured with turmeric add some lovely texture and a nice Indian flavour. Dots of pesto oil and the earthy beetroot puree compliment the cheese. Although I am a little underwhelmed by the apple jelly. It is lost among the other flavours. This is a refined and well-thought-out dish. Certainly not your usual pub grub.
My partner has the Ham Hock and Mustard Terrine (£8) which is thick and meaty with some tasty sourdough bread. It is a nice enough starter, even if it is overshadowed by the Panna Cotta.
“The attention to detail really stands out”
After some debate we both settle on the same main course, the Homemade Beef Burger with a Brioche Bun, Candied Bacon and Sweet Potato Fries (£13). My dining partner isn’t a fan of sweet potato so these are swapped for regular fries without issue. Although burgers are popular amongst Leeds restaurants they can be a risky choice. So what makes The Atlas burgers different from the hundreds of burgers everywhere else?
When they arrive they are on the ubiquitous wooden boards with a steak knife through the top of the burger holding it all together. All pretty standard so far. But it is the attention to detail that really stands out. Brioche buns are nothing new in the burger game, but these are toasted to perfection. There’s a lovely soft sweetness on top and a nice crispiness underneath. The liberal helpings of cheese has been melted separately onto the bacon rather than on to the burger which really fused the two flavours together. The meat itself is well seasoned, beautifully rich but hasn’t been overworked, so wasn’t too heavy.
“Full of interesting and intelligent details”
Both of us love our different fries, crispy and delicious. But the element we both remark on from the whole dish is the dipping sauce. Roasted Garlic Mayo; but not just any garlic mayo. On The Atlas bar snack menu they have eight hour roast garlic bulbs to eat alongside the bread. We wonder at the time why on earth you would need to roast garlic for that long. But happily we find out. The roast garlic gives the mayo a rich smoky taste that is so different from regular garlic mayo that I keep eating more and more fries long after I am sated, just for the sauce!
This is the type of attention to detail that makes a meal memorable – and this attention to detail isn’t just on the plate. The whole interior is richly decorated and full of interesting and intelligent details. The service is friendly without being too overbearing and the price of the dishes are fair and reasonable. The Atlas pub’s crest states ‘Ale, Whisky, Gourmet’ in that order – but the food here is most definitely not an afterthought.
Editor’s update: The Atlas, Leeds, is now closed down.
The Atlas Pub, 31 King Street, Leeds, LS1 2HL
Open Mon-Sun 11.30-00.00, food served 12.00-22.00
0113 244 29 06