Friday, 15 July 2011

Dare - Otley Road and Skippy's North Lane Headingley, Leeds.

Last Saturday tea time my friend and I found ourselves wandering around the streets of Headingley trying to find something nice to eat. We had spent the afternoon playing pool and had some time to kill before meeting friends for cocktails.

Knowing that room needed to be left for cocktails we didn't want anything too big or too expensive (as cocktails don't come cheap) we wandered all the way down to The Olive Tree and back up to the Box. My friend was too hot and is never a big eater when hot and I was just being difficult and picky. So eventually after a lot of uming and aaah-ing and hovering outside eateries we decided upon Dare. I was a little put off at first as standing outside it smelt like a late night takeaway... We walked a bit further in and my friend tried to convince me it had started to smell better.

Dare is quite small, rather like a long corridor with a kitchen at the end. We requested a table for two and were put towards the back near the kitchen despite there being tables nearer the front. (This didn't help my friend's unhappiness at being too hot to eat).

The menus were double sided laminated and sticky. My friend wasn't impressed in the choice of non-alcoholic drinks and so settled on a fruit juice. I chose a white wine as I didn't trust trying the Rose which I would have preferred to drink for a change on a sunny Saturday.

The waitress came over before we were ready to order so we asked for just one more minute. After about 5 minutes we tried to grab someone's attention by giving hopeful stares. We were blanked. So we tried the more direct approach and called out to the waitress asking to place our order. We were briskly told she would be a minute barely looking our way before she scuttled off. The place wasn't heaving and there were tables to spare so I would hate to imagine what the service is like when the place is at full capacity.

When we were eventually allowed to order we decided to share some nachos for a starter...

The nachos weren't the prettiest I have ever seen and the way everything had been layered made it incredibly difficult to eat. I ended up with guacamole on my dress and a big sloppy mess at the end. It was overloaded with cheese, which I suppose is awesome for students... but they had all gone home for summer. One thing I did like about the nachos was the idea of putting lettuce in there, it added a little freshness and crunch to the soggy mess.



I was also given a very odd fork to eat my share with... not that it made any difference I just thought it was odd.

My friend's mains arrived 5 minutes before mine did. Like I mentioned before it was quite a hot stuffy day and my friend isn't good at eating when they are hot and stuffy too. So they ordered two tapas dishes. The first of their two dishes were meatballs in tomato sauce and secondly deep fried brie.

My friend described their meatballs as 'just like those cheap burgers you buy from supermarkets named after islands in the north Atlantic Ocean, rolled up in to little balls and dolloped with tomato sauce'. They didn't even manage to eat one.

When I asked them how their brie was... they shrugged and said 'it's not that hard to buy brie and deep fry it'. I will leave that at that.

For my main I ordered Taquito's... this was described as long tortillas stuffed with a filling of your choice and salsa, baked with cheese and sour cream accompanied by a side of rice.

As you can see the tortillas were far from long.. this is not a big plate. They were far from baked, they were actually a little bit cold from all the cold salsa and sour cream piled on top of them. It was a bit of a smushy mess to be honest.

 If you google image taquito ( you will see that they really aren't supposed to look like this.

We finished up and headed off. I'm not sure whether we caught this place on a bad day.. as I've read some of the reviews and other people seem to be more impressed. They do have a happy hour Monday to Thursday 5.30-6.30pm whereby you can get two for one on meals... but they have conditions. Each person must order a drink each with their meal and you can only have the table for 90 minutes.

We then headed over to Skippy's for cocktails and to meet friends. Skippy's is the cocktail bar just above Trio. I was very impressed with their cocktail menu. The range of drinks is remarkable, with an 'inflights upgrade' which shows a range of different drinks and how to make them 'better' AKA more expensive. My favourite cocktail was the Strawberry Montague, this consisted of standard Russian Vodka, Prosecco and strawberry pulp. Divine. I ended up very drunk, especially because you can have a bar tab so you quickly lose track of how much you're spending!

My friend was also impressed as the bar tender asked what they wanted and they asked for a non-alcoholic cocktail whatever he could muster up with honey and fruit juice... and they loved it. My friend wants to go back just for the non-alcoholic cocktail. We did notice whilst we were there that there were tables set up for dining and looking at the menus we would definitely like to go back and have food too.

The basement in Trio's was doing a two for one offer on cocktails, but these were not as grand as the ones you could get in Skippy's, these cocktails were cheaper and more familiar such as your pina coladas and mojitos. I believe this offer is on 8pm-10pm on a Saturday night.

For a look at Skippy's cocktail menu...

For a look at the basement in Trio's cocktail menu...

Trio's food menu...

Dare's Restaurant Review Stars:

Food: **
Value: ***
Service: *
Atmosphere: *
Cleanliness ***

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