Restaurant reviews

2 Oxford place – beyond gluten!

Every once in a while you get a curveball from somewhere that makes you think that the world has turned upside down, or in my case that gluten free food has evolved to the point where it is preferable to glutenous dishes. That curveball for me was when we couldn’t get a table at a not to be named and shamed restaurant and instead had to turn to 2 Oxford Place for a last minute reservation so that a celiac friend was able to enjoy a decent menu choice (after a lunch where she had one item she could choose…)

With a slight degree of uncertainty, although buoyed by a few reviews that I had checked, the four of us set off for our reservation to the centre of Leeds and vicious parking charges in the hope that our quest would be rewarded with a full belly and fabulous food. Despite the restaurant being a little bit hidden away (I thought I was about to enter someone’s house upon finding the entrance) you could see that inside there was a relaxed atmosphere that harked back in style and decor and we were greeted in an equally friendly and courteous way as we were led to our reserved table.

Having a quick scan of the menu you might be taken aback by the simplicity of the food on offer – fish pie, bangers & mash and even onions rings for a side being some of the options to pick from. Should you look at this alone you may think you had stumbled into some awful Wetherspoons equivalent and hope that you might be able to escape before being unlucky enough to have to order a drink but in this instance the simplicity is the beauty: flavour is King and quality of produce is key to this.

After a lovely Negroni cocktail (with a warning from the waitress that I might wish to have a soda on the side to ease the bitterness of the drink) we pushed the boat out and decided to share a cheese board as well as a charcuterie board between the four of us. With a beautiful selection of meats and cheeses (charcoal cheddar included) it dawned on me that the evening was not going to be about how the food did not contain gluten but how this little establishment was punching with the big guns in delivering such high quality food that simply made the gluten free element a forgotten one.

As my fish pie started to head towards me, the aroma of the dish turned my head long before the plate was put in front of me as the beautiful whiff of creamy mashed potato and succulent fish made my mouth water. Having had to dive into some crunchy and rather fantastic onion rings while my pie cooled down I had a mild case of food envy as I stared at Charlotte’s aubergine curry and Claire’s beautifully baked and rich in flavour steak and ale pie but this was all forgotten as I dived into my first taste of the moist, buttery pie that had been so lovingly lathered in mash and cheese.

Sadly, almost as soon as it had begun it was over and I realised I had wolfed down the beast and was left with a full stomach and a smiling face while the rest of the group moved on to sweeter things, devouring a silky smooth tiramisu and a creamy, sweet red velvet cupcake.

Whilst this fine restaurant was not on my food radar before, I can safely say that my experience has firmly established it as one of my future staples in a city that still needs to see this level of dining replicated that little bit more often.

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