Matt Healy X The Foundry recently launched a new menu. Gemma Bridge went along to try it out.
I am a self-confessed MasterChef superfan. When I saw that Matt Healy from the 2016 MasterChef The Professionals was opening a restaurant in Leeds, I was super excited to visit. However, despite hearing only great things about the food, I didn’t get around to visiting Matt Healy X The Foundry in its first year. That changed a few days ago – thanks to Leeds Living.
On Saturday evening, my boyfriend and I walked through the doors of the restaurant, keen to see if it was really all that it was cracked up to be. We’d been following the restaurant on social media since it opened and had seen some incredible dishes.
On arrival, we were quickly shown to our table. Whilst deciding what to drink we had a good look over the menu and admired the décor. We loved the style of the eatery, which was rustic but modern, with wooden floors and metallic features. My personal favourite feature was the halogen sign above the open kitchen, whilst my boyfriend loved the finer details – like the metallic menu boards.
Whilst sipping on our drinks, we pondered about what to eat. We had to ask about how best to order because the menu was not designed with the conventional starter, main and dessert selection. However, our waitress was more than happy to help and even gave us some of her personal recommendations – which was great.
We opted for a couple of ‘snacks’ to nibble on whilst waiting for the rest of the meal – fresh bread with whipped Marmite butter and fried, salted broad beans. We both loved the marmite butter (but it is definitely one that diners will either love or hate) and the crispy broad beans were incredible – we even enjoyed dipping them in the butter for a crunchy Marmite experience.
Although we asked to have all our dishes at the same time, the next dishes to arrive were the salt-baked beetroot with blue cheese and candied walnuts, and the mackerel with slaw. When they were placed in front of us, I was taken aback by how small they were – fewer than 3 mouthfuls per plate. My boyfriend was also shocked by their size. However, both dishes were beautifully plated and made us want to dive in. I didn’t enjoy either dish, unfortunately, but I think that is just personal preference. In contrast, my boyfriend loved the freshness of the mackerel bites and thought the combination of beetroot, blue cheese and walnut was delicious.
The larger beef fillet dish arrived a few minutes later along with the leeks served with truffle. The beef was the winning plate of the meal for us. The meat was perfectly cooked – absolutely lip-smackingly delicious – and the sauce was an absolute delight. The onion puree was also incredible – the star accompaniment on the plate. However, the fondant potato was a let-down. We were expecting a rich and buttery potato seasoned with garlic and thyme, but instead what we got was a dry and crunchy potato that didn’t add anything to the dish.
The leeks, which were ordered from the small plate menu, were tasty but lacked that depth of flavour. We thought they could have been much improved if served as a gratin.
For afters, we opted for the pear bavoirs, even though we weren’t really sure what it was! Thankfully, when the dish arrived, we were pleasantly surprised. The dish was refreshing and yet decadent. The set cream was sweet and creamy, whilst the sorbet helped clean the palate between mouthfuls. My favourite part of the dish was the candied ginger pear. I wanted more!
Although we had a good evening, we left underwhelmed. This may have been down to poor food choices on our part, but we didn’t enjoy the dishes as much as we’d hoped. We could see that they had been carefully put together, with interesting flavour combinations, but felt that the customer eating experience had been forgotten at times. We were also unimpressed by the service. Given the price point of the menu, we would have expected first-rate service, with regular check-ins for drinks or additional plates. Instead, we were left for far too long and had to ask for water at the end of our meal as it hadn’t been topped up since arriving.
Despite this, we are still keen to go back to Matt Healy X The Foundry to try out the Sunday roast, which is apparently the best in the UK and therefore cannot be missed.
All photographs by Gemma Bridge.
Gemma, a PhD student at Leeds Beckett University, has been writing for over 6 years, and loves to share what’s going on in and around Leeds. She is also an international athlete, artist and creator of Leeds Food Guide. You can find her on Instagram at: @GLB_racewalk, @GLB_creations or @LeedsFoodGuide