Stan Graham is there to take advantage of Victoria Gate Casino’s new menu.
There was a time when I would regularly eat in casinos as they always provided good food at a reasonable price, the object being to get you into the premises so that you would have a few spins of the roulette wheel or a hand or two of Blackjack. That was in the days of the long-gone Moortown Corner House Casino, which is now luxury flats, and whose New Year’s Day buffet was a permanent fixture on my calendar. It has to be said that it was not the most salubrious of establishments, designed more for practicality than opulence. The same most certainly cannot be said for Victoria Gate Casino where I last night sampled their new menu.
Victoria Gate is about as far removed from Moortown Corner House as Raffles Bar is from the Rovers Return. No expense has been spared in the decorations and furnishings, with the expectancy that James Bond would walk elegantly into the place at any moment.
The first item on the agenda was a cocktail, and in the absence of a dry martini, shaken; not stirred, I opted for a Passion Fruit Bellini, a refreshing palate cleanser. From the list of starters, I took a shine to Chicken and Ham Hock Terrine topped with poached egg and hollandaise sauce, served with toasted brioche. The dish was beautifully presented but for some reason the only warm item on the plate was the poached egg. This came as a bit of a shock as I expected the sauce and the toast to be warm as well. It is the curse of the reviewer that you never eat a hot meal, as by the time you have stopped taking photographs it has gone cold, but in this case it was by design rather than circumstance. This did not detract from the flavour and after the initial surprise, I rather enjoyed it.
For main course, I had Harissa Marinated Rump of Lamb, described as ‘Tender lamb rump marinated in harissa spices, served with crushed potatoes and green beans.’ The lamb was a little overcooked for my taste, unlike the vegetables which were perfect – the beans were cooked but still had a hint of crispness, just as they should be. The crushed new potatoes were also done just right. As well as being marinated, the lamb was covered with a spicy tomato based sauce which was very piquant.
Finally, dessert. The Bakewell Sponge Pudding with Custard jumped out at me as I couldn’t work out what this was going to be. On arrival it turned out to be a take on Bakewell tart with sponge pudding replacing the frangipane filled pastry and topped with strawberry sauce rather than jam. It was delicious. The custard came in a separate pot and, wonder of wonders, had a thin skin on top. I love custard skin and haven’t had any for years, so all was well with the world. The wine served with the meal was the house red Yellow Rock from USA.
Whilst not ‘fine dining’, Victoria Gate Casino carries on the tradition of serving good food at a reasonable price. Should you be a V Cardholder, the three courses would have come in at under £25.
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.