As a larger group we ordered everything from the menu and operated in a sharing, small plates kind of fashion. This suited the menu well as many of things come in little dishes or sharable portions. The first dish was the creamy chowder, a vegan dish, but comes with the option to add seasonal fish. This was a particularly hearty dish with chunky vegetables amongst a thick and well-seasoned chowder. The seasonal fish was Coley, a white fish which is often dismissed as being inferior in taste and texture to its cod sister but which the The Brunswick made tastier than any fish dish I’ve tried in recent times with a melt in your mouth texture.
A spoonful of the Braised Beef, Porter and Star Anise Pie proved the meat was tender and the pastry was buttery and crisp which complimented the rich spiced filling. All the meat is locally sourced and the Yorkshire Dales Sausage with cider gravy created a warming winter dish with power to warm through in the bitterest Northern winds. There is an effort to provide vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options within the menu with a ‘vegan mash’ and an earthy Beetroot and Mushroom casserole.
The sides game was also strong. Two words: cheesy leeks. My southern friends sometimes seemed confused by this trusty member of the allium family for reasons I’m yet to understand (apparently leeks are a northern thing) but I’ve always been a firm fan - so add ‘cheesy’ and this was the obvious accompaniment to my meal. These were stringy, creamy and gooey, making them the perfect dunk pool for the chips which were sprinkled with Brunswick five spice. The winter greens were tender and smothered in butter; the roast carrots charred and the vegan mash was surprisingly creamy. The homemade butter which accompanies the Leeds Bread Co-op sourdough bread was one of those things I expected to be nice but unremarkable and how I wrong I was proven. This may sound a little strange for this was hands down the best butter I’ve ever tasted: creamy, salty but more wonderfully, garlicky and with a herb tang. The kind of food that The Brunswick is cooking up is unpretentious yet with all the right flavours in all the right places – satisfying and hearty; in many ways the perfect winter menu.
I finished my meal with an Expresso Martini which was perfectly bitter and biting - topping off this very civilised affair. As we were dining in a more formal fashion I didn’t have chance to try their posh looking toasties though I made a mental note to come back and try the Caprese and French toast. The additions to the menu are not only well thought out seasonal additions but also add variety to the food offering at The Brunswick, with the cocktail menu adding a different drinking dimension to the venue.