City Dweller and socialite, Rachel Flynn heads to The New Conservatory to check out their new summer menu.
The New Conservatory has been a regular after work haunt for my friends and I for quite some time, and whether it is grabbing a bite to eat, or taking advantage of the bargain happy hour offers we are always guaranteed to have a great time. On hearing about the launch of their new summer menu it was only a matter of time before we were down there to check it out.
Situated slap bang in the centre of town, just off Albion Street, The New Conservatory (which happens to be one of Leeds’ oldest watering holes) is a basement bar accessed by its old stone stairwell, and can be detected at street level by the alfresco drinking and dining area. Once inside it oozes every element of classic that you would imagine from a pub of its era, with its leather Chesterfield booths, carved mahogany bar, and a library dining room fit for the likes of Sherlock, throw in a pool table and a spot of live music and you’ve got a bustling and welcoming atmosphere.
As already mentioned the purpose of our visit was to grab a taste of the new summer menu and on that particular Thursday evening I don’t think we were the only ones with that in mind, there wasn’t an empty table in the house.
To kick things off we were each brought a starter selection of Duck Spring Rolls with Hoi Sin dip, Deep Fried Brie with Beetroot Chutney, and Panko King Prawns with a chilli and lime dressing. Being a bit of a prawn addict my mate Stuart was very happy with the size of the Panko Kings, they were meaty, juicy, and delicious smothered in that chilli sauce. When it comes to small dishes I tend to be all about the cheese so I thoroughly enjoyed the Brie, and the Beetroot chutney brought just the right amount of sweetness.
For the main event we were presented with three mini main courses to enable us to try each option. For me the show stopper was the Wild Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan Crisp and Basil Dressing, risotto is not a dish I would usually order, however I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to try this offering, it was creamy and flavoursome, and that Parmesan crisp topped it off perfectly. The most ‘summery’ of the three options was the Cajun Chicken Skewer with Garlic and Herb dip, served with a decent portion of light and crispy fries, this had us wanting to reach for the BBQ! On the other end of the spectrum was a hearty Belly Pork with Mash and Jus, accompanied by a crunchy chunk of crackling, it had Sunday afternoon or rainy day written all over it.
To finish our taster feast it was time for something sweet with a trio of desserts. Now my friend Claire isn’t really a sweet sort of a person but she made light work of the Eton Mess Sundae with summer berries, Chantilly cream, meringue, and vanilla ice cream, it was fresh and fluffy, and therefore a satisfying end to any meal. I was swayed by The New Conservatory Chocolate Box, a rich, chocolatey mousse with a smooth toffee sauce, it definitely screamed naughty. The third option was the Salted Caramel Cheesecake which with its global popularity was always going to be a winner.
To wash down our meal we ordered our usual bottle of happy hour house white wine, and at £8.95 a pop it certainly always justifies ordering a second. Other happy hour offers are available on beers and spirits, and on the flush occasion you’ll find a bottle of fizz chilling in the fridge, or for the real ale drinkers there’s plenty of choice on draught.
There is something about The New Conservatory that has that local feel about it. It is friendly, relaxed and is a ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ kind of place. The service is never compromised and quality comes as standard, it’s no wonder my friends and I can’t get enough of the place!