Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Lock Kitchen and Bar - Doubletree Hilton - Leeds

Hotel restaurants can be hit and miss, some do it very well, some do it very badly and some play it safe. The Lock at The Hilton Doubletree in Leeds is, in my opinion, the latter.

The Doubletree in Leeds benefits from a very advantageous spot in the city, it has great views over the city from its rooms and it is situated beside the canal. It is fair to say it’s in one of the quieter parts of the city, if you stay at Park Plaza or The Marriott you won’t find a setting quite as tranquil. Don’t get me wrong in the evenings The Granary Wharf area livens up, and with lots of bars and restaurants around it can make for a rather good night, with slightly less of the crowds. The Lock has a relatively big outdoor area (for the city centre) which is nestled next to, you guessed it, the canal locks. This attracts guests of the hotel and locals alike.

The Lock, in my opinion, by night is more of a bar than a restaurant. We were invited to review The Lock’s food and drink offering. I booked the table for 7pm when we checked in to the hotel and we had a little while getting ready for the evening ahead before making our way down to dinner. We arrived around 7.02pm (there was a slight wait for the lifts) and just as we stepped into the bar/restaurant the host waitress walked off to another side of the restaurant. We stood waiting for 5 minutes, staring at our names on the booking list, then D decided to go to the bar to see if he could get us sat down that way. The bar was three people deep so it was proving a fruitless task, another waitress walked past us four times without acknowledging our existence, then at 7.15pm the host appeared again. Surely, if our name was on the list she was expecting us? There was no apology.

Granary Wharf
We were asked where we wanted to sit, I replied that near a window would be nice. There was only a couple of tables next to window without people sat at them, not wanting to sit near the door we sat at the only other available window seat, it wasn’t cleared and so the waitress cleared it for us as we sat down.

The cutlery wasn't refreshed when we sat down which left us down a fork... 

The menu is small but varied, there is a chicken dish, a beef dish, a fish dish and a vegetarian dish. In my mind this is a typical menu that you would find in a hotel restaurant that is used to catering for business guests. It caters for all, but in that isn’t very imaginative in its offerings. There wasn’t many people dining, most were there for the bar. The bar is well stocked with Yorkshire Ales, wines and plenty of spirits. I can imagine it being far busier when the weather is kinder and it’s guests can make full use of the outside area.

Black Sheep Yorkshire Ale 

To start, I ordered the Mushroom Fries with came breaded with blue cheese dip. These sounded a lot better in my mind than they were in real life. In real life the mushrooms and breadcrumb were soaked in grease and the blue cheese dip was the only thing that really made them edible for me.

Mushrooms Fries 

D ordered the chicken tacos to start, the salsa was served separately, a little unusual I guess but perhaps again to help cater for all. The tacos seemed an odd addition to the menu as they are generally Mexican in origin and I struggled to see any other Mexican dishes that they could pair with.

Chicken Tacos

I struggled to decide on a main course, I was moving in the way of the flat iron chicken but when this was served to the table next to us it was less ‘flat ironed’ and more ‘half a chicken’. D had decided on the steak and chips, and rather unlike me, I decided to go for the same.

Flat Iron Steak, chips and (that dark pot is) chimichurri. 

The steak was advertised as flat iron, so I was surprised when we could order our steak as medium/medium-rare. Normally with flat iron I’m given no choice, or simply pink or no pink. The steak came accompanied by chips and chimichurri. Since we started making chimichurri at home D has become quite the connoisseur and if it doesn’t live up to our homeblend he isn’t happy. We struggled to pick out much more than parsley in the chimichurri served to us on this night.

The steak was cooked to requirements, there were a few fatty/chewy bits on my own but D didn’t seem to have the same problem. The chips were good too and overall it was one of the better steak meals I’ve had outside of a steakhouse or my own house.

D, for some absurd reason, was not filled by his tacos and steak and so decided to order a dessert. His dessert had to contain ice cream and so he chose the ice cream cookie sandwich. On arriving at the hotel we were given two warm cookies to greet us, the cookies here appeared to be the same as on reception. I pointed out to D that he had now had 3 (large) cookies in one night. He didn’t care and mopped the plate clean with his spoon. I was given a small spoonful and if I hadn’t of wanted to make myself uncomfortable for the remainder of the night I would have definitely indulged in this dessert too. 

Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich 

The wine selection in the restaurant was good with a couple of selections per body (medium, light etc) and I had a very nice French Merlot that slipped down the throat with ease. Keen to support local businesses The Lock also stocks Yorkshire ales, of which D had a pint of Black Sheep, whenever I stay in new cities/areas/countries I’m always eager to try the local beverages so it’s good to see The Hilton promoting this in its bars over the bigger branded lagers.

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