Hearty flavours, classic pairings, and a wine list full of favourites – Veeno, Wellington Place
In a world full of ever more complex food and drink concepts – where new deconstructions, combinations and surreptitious prefixings of the word ‘craft’ abound – some things are best kept simple. And when it comes to selecting a venue for good Italian flavours and a decent glass of wine, there’s a place down on Wellington Place that has simplicity down to a tee.
Veeno – the Italian Wine Café offering family produced Sicilian wines with venues on Duncan Street and the aforementioned Wellington Place – has been a resident of the Leeds bar scene for a good half-decade. Serving up an extensive selection of (you guessed it) Italian wines, along with a menu filled with rich Mediterranean flavours, this place has everything you need – whether it’s a lazy lunch, an indulgent aperitivo, a late-night tipple or a bottomless brunch on your mind. Think platters of salami, freshly baked pizza, various bruschette and bites of cheese from across the region.
With a new menu recently launched, it seems high time to pay the southern City Centre venue a visit. It’s a close summer evening – one of those nights with the memory of rain still hanging in the air, turning each gust of lukewarm wind into a threat to the night’s ambience.
We enter the Wellington Place bar – greeted by the smell of roasted garlic and the clink of glasses in the air. It’s a welcoming, airy space – the doors are open and the breeze circulates, carrying with it the laughter of al fresco drinkers from the venue’s small patio-cum-beer garden.
Fizz is on the cards straight away, with glasses of chilled brut rosé to ease us into the evening. Veeno boasts a choice of five sparkling wines, with knowledgeable staff on hand to talk you through the right option for you.
A highlight of the Veeno menu is certainly the ‘Bruschette’ section, where you’ll find toppings from smoked salmon and mascarpone to classic Pomodoro. We try the ‘Zuccine e Cilliegino’ (grilled courgettes, cherry tomatoes and rocket), a perfectly subtle accompaniment to the pink fizz.
With neither the time nor the stomach capacity to sample Veeno’s entire wine menu, we try the ‘Family White’ – a fruity, rounded number – and, naturally, the ‘Family Red’ – a Sicilian blend of Nero d’Avola and Merlot. Both are well-balanced house wines, a firm foundation for a menu packed with everything from natural bio to light and fruity; organic to fortified.
Veeno’s family ethos comes across strongly in the menu, the wine, and the way we’re treated with a friendly smile as soon as we cross the threshold. As we quaff and enjoy the bar’s very own vino of choice, it’s clear that this place has a lot more to offer.
More food arrives in the form of truffle cheese, thinly sliced salami, and delicate slices of nduja-topped pizza. We order a simple margarita to top up our tummies, and the result arrives fresh from the oven, strewed with rocket leaves (as requested) and carried by a light, floury base.
With hearty flavours, classic pairings, reasonable prices and a wine list I challenge anyone not to find a favourite from, Veeno is one to add to the list of must-go bars in Leeds.
All photographs provided by Veeno Bars.