• Emma-Jane

An Unforgettable Dining Experience at Dakota, Leeds

Located in the heart of Leeds, is the ever-so sophisticated, brassiere-inspired, Dakota Hotel and Grill. With a reputation for high-quality food and drink with impeccable style, all situated with elegant surroundings, their menus are open for both hotel guests and the public. Known as one of the best restaurants in Leeds, Dakota Grill presents the finest quality of seasonal produce, not to mention the beautiful presentation and perfect balance of flavours.

With their newly appointed chef, Craig Rogan, comes a new menu. The Executive Head Chef at Dakota Leeds, has recently said: “I am delighted to reveal a menu that captures the luxury essence of Dakota while capitalising on our wonderful local heritage. I wanted to refine the food offering at The Grill whilst focusing on British produce and use these ingredients in innovative ways to create dishes that stand out and lead the restaurant to even greater culinary heights. The menu itself is centred around flavour, seasonality and freshness – and by only using a handful of ingredients for each dish, including a few brand-new additions, I have ensured that the food contains character while maintaining that opulent Dakota feel.”

Since joining the Dakota team, Craig has unleashed his culinary skills and love of fresh, seasonal and local produce onto the hotel’s newly released menu. We were keen to experience these new items on the menu first hand and are pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.

Before you get to the restaurant itself, you are immediately immersed in the luxury that is Dakota. If their super sleek interior wasn’t enough, the warm welcoming made you feel as though you’ve been there all along, and never wanted to leave. For our meal, we were directed through the hotel bar and down the stairs. As you got into the main dining room, the low-mood lighting helped to set the perfect dining atmosphere and we were as ready as ever, to tuck in.

Whilst being wined and dined by the most attentive, friendly waiter, who added so much to our experience, we were able to fully immerse ourselves in the Dakota Dining Experience. He was warm throughout and made our evening easy and enjoyable, getting us anything we needed at any given time.

When seated, we were brought a few nibbles, which were ‘compliments of the chef’. A beef infused butter accompanied the warm, soft bread roll. As interesting as it sounded, we weren’t quite ready to tackle that. Instead, we tucked into our mini cheese & leek puffballs and if they were anything to go by, we were in for a real treat with the rest of the menu.

Once we’d placed our orders for our starters and mains, we were then approached again to see whether we wanted some wine to accompany our meals. After a long day at work, the answer was obviously going to be yes. Our waiter made a few different suggestions as to what we should consider for the meal, but after specifying we were looking for a white wine, he knew just the one. Selected by the Dakota expert team, the wine brought over and he explained why it complemented the meals we had chosen, before giving me the chance to taste it. We had the Dominique Cornin, Pouilly-Fuissé 2017 white wine. The smooth, light notes in the wine made it pleasantly refreshing.

We were more than happy to absorb the atmosphere of the restaurant until it was time to tuck in. Asmita ordered the Cod Brandade starter with Yorkshire Chorizo, Egg Yolk, Peas and Broad Beans. This starter had a wide range of textures that all complimented each other, making the dish even more delicious. I began with the Heirloom Tomatoes with Isle of Mull, Almond Pesto, Garlic and Chilli. The starter was flavoursome, refreshing, and not too overpowering. Both starters were an ideal size for a starter portion, leaving enough room for us to tackle the mains.

In-between courses we were given enough time to digest our and appreciate the gorgeous, luxurious setting we were in. Even the restrooms were amazing! I just about managed to restrict myself from getting a standard bathroom selfie… I often find that in some restaurants, courses are thrown in front of you before you’ve had a chance to finish the first, so Dakota did this well!

We were happily observing the restaurant and relaxing following our starters and before we knew it, it was time for the mains.

After a lot of going back and forth, Asmita decided to go for the Chicken Breast, Roasted in a Lovage Butter with Crispy Skin, Hen of the Woods and Vichyssoise, a great choice. You know it’s going to be a flavoursome meal when you don’t know half the key ingredients. The chicken breast itself was tender and succulent, with powerful, pungent flavours coming through the whole meal. Everything complimented each other perfectly.

My main course was the vegetarian option of Slow Roasted and Caramelised Cauliflower with Tunworth and Buckwheat Risotto. I wanted to steer away from my typical choices and I’m partial to a veggie meal, so thought this was an exciting option. It’s safe to say, my main alone could have gone between the two of us. The portions were huge and filled with flavour, what more could you want? We were thoroughly enjoying our meals, accompanied by our 2017 Dominique Cornin wine, in a low-lit booth.

Although we just about had enough room left to finish our wine, the waiter talked us both into getting a dessert. In all honesty, it didn’t take much to persuade us and before we knew it, we we’re presented with our final course of the evening. Asmita finished her meal with the Dark Chocolate Mousse with Tangerine and Malted Milk, which was accompanied by a soft scoop of smooth, creamy vanilla ice cream. This balanced out the bittersweet caramel that was hidden in the rich chocolate mousse perfectly.

I decided to tickle my taste buds with the Buttermilk Pannacotta, featuring Brown Sugar Meringue and Strawberries in Elderflower. I don’t think any words could come together, to do enough justice to this dessert. There was a perfect balance between sweet and sour, whilst being refreshing and not-too filling. It really was the perfect end to an amazing dining experience for us.

The latest menu at The Grill, Dakota Leeds, features mouth-watering comfort food favourites and experimental flavour combinations. There are lots of exciting choices and options for both meat lovers and veggies. To book or for more information, you can visit their website, email enquiries@LDS.dakotahotels.co.uk or call 0113 322 6261.

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