If you want to go out for food on a weekend but avoid the madness that is the city centre on a Friday and Saturday night then... stray a little further.
The Reliance attracts all different kinds of clientèle from your older middle-class-jumper-wearing-as-a-scarf/shrug type to the couple type to the studenty type. The dress code is relaxed smart casual; a great place to go in jeans or a bit more dressy if you're making a night of it.
It's split in to two parts: the bar downstairs and the dining room upstairs (although you can get nibbles from the dining menu to eat down at the bar too). On busier nights I'm informed that your name is written on the chalk board and you are called up from the spacious bar when your table is ready upstairs. There are plenty of board games stored in the bookcase to keep you occupied, including a personal favourite Scrabble. This time however we walked in and requested a table for two, the barmaid took our drinks and by the time they were ready so was our table.
The dining room is open plan so you can see the kitchen, your food being cooked and the people who cook it.
We were seated at a cute little table in the middle of the room. Drey the New Yorker waitress ran through the specials with us, these are clearly displayed on the chalk board across the room. The decor is all mismatched and cutesy, with all the pictures on the wall for sale.
Always a nice touch is free olives and bread, both of which were really tasty.
If you're in to beer there is quite a selection to chose from. My dining partner not being a drinker chose some Dandelion and Burdock which I tried myself and it was full of flavour. I chose a trusty glass of Spanish red, Vina Marro which was fruity and smooth.
For starters my dining partner chose one of the specials, Pressed Yorkshire Rabbit & Ham Hock Terrine, Red Onion & Gherkin Relish with Sourdough Toast.
By all accounts I was informed how delicately infused with flavour this was; everything coming together really well. They finished it off with in no time at all!
I decided upon the broad beans, garden peas and home cured chorizo on homemade sourdough. This was AMAZING! The oil had a hint of aniseed which surprisingly worked really well. The coins of chorizo were lucious adding to the marvellous mix of flavours. The portion size was just right and the homemade sourdough was some of the best I have ever tasted.
The starters came out swiftly and the same went for the mains. For my main I chose the Steak with twice cooked chips accompanied by a roasted tomato. I commit a steak sin whenever I eat it by requesting that it is well done. The steak was cooked to perfection, not burnt (which is sometimes the case when you request things well done) and no pink what-so-ever. The twice cooked chips were delish and plentiful, so many that I couldn't finish them! My only gripe(s) about my meal was that it was very hard to cut and eat the steak in a dish. Also, the steak is only 7oz so I would have hoped that with a steak that small there would have been far less fat. I felt a little cheated that I had to cut so much off and make it an even smaller steak!
My dining partner chose the Erdinger battered haddock twice cooked chips and homemade mushy peas. The batter was perfect crispy and delicate. Again this was a very filling dish and food was left over at the end.
Both of us were full to the top and nearing over brimming, but with the specials and dessert board staring at you in the face the whole time it is almost impossible to resist ordering a dessert.
We couldn't resist and agreed to share one desert, the spiced dark chocolate and orange torte with creme fraiche. This was too nice, very rich and heavy the creme fraiche is definitely needed. Between us we couldn't finish this slice of wonder as we were so full already!
The service was amazing and there was only one main waitress who made you feel very welcome. She was happy to engage you in conversation but not obtrusive at all. The relaxed atmosphere is refreshing and it was nice to be able to compliment the chef to his face as we left the restaurant. As we were leaving the waitress asked our names and said we really made her night and hoped to see us again soon, a lovely happy young woman who we hope is there the next time we visit.
The Bill for the whole meal came to less than £50 definitely worth it's value and more!
The Reliance have all their menus on their website: http://www.the-reliance.co.uk/