Restaurant reviews

Red’s revitalised and reinvigorated

Red’s (the original one, in town) has become a bit of an institution in Leeds. The restaurant is a bold, brilliant idea for capitalising on the ‘Man V Food’ era, where the average British Foodie has found out that there are foods out there from the South of the USA that are rather better than the likes of KFC!

With this in mind, a couple of years ago now, we jumped on the bandwagon and went to Red’s on their opening night. I then pushed (successfully) for a Christmas work party to take place there, and we also went back a fair number of times in-between!

Alas, we are now north Leeds folk, and a decision to go to the city centre means that we need to think hard about where we want to eat. On this occasion last week, with winter setting in, an old passion took over and we decided to see if our cold hearts could be warmed by Red’s home-style food.

Heading in, we received the surprising news that we were not going to have to wait outside enjoying the ‘free smells’ the restaurant offers, but instead could head straight into the hallowed seating area! The new menu was something of a shock to the system and threw us into crisis mode as we looked to see what was retained and what had been removed from the version we were familiar with.

I think that a restaurant can change its menu and survive very well, or it can make alterations and lose a lot about its identity. In Red’s case, the menu changes just seem to make sense. Sure, you lose the nachos but you gain a more authentic taste with the re-invigorated southern classics that have been brought back into play. For that reason I simply can’t disagree with the fact that the menu change hasn’t done any harm whatsoever to what is simply becoming a Leeds institution.

Away from the changes, we chose to share our food, meaning that effectively we had to jointly agree what to go for, which proved a tricky proposition with all the amazing choices on offer! We managed to agree quickly that the choice of the BBQ Rib Taster alongside a Red’s Iced Tea was going to be a winning combination to start the meal with.

As the food arrived, the simple meaty joy that characterises the Red’s experience was upon us. All of the ribs were ridiculously succulent and with a beautiful coating of sauce. They were slow cooked to perfection and we just tucked in with relish!

As for the mains, my wife had decided to go for the amazing Baby Back ribs with sweet potato fries and mac n’ cheese while I plumped for a more controversial choice: bean chili (clearly with mac n’ cheese as my side as well)! Decisions made, my wife questioned the wisdom of going for a vegetarian dish in a meat worshipper’s paradise, and I agree it was a slightly risky option.

Red's BBQ Leeds

Dishes that delivered

Simply put, though, once the dishes had arrived and had been divided and quickly tasted, the debate was over. Chili, done by Red’s, is immense. Baby Back ribs done with unholy sauce and two sides to drool over is an unbeatable combination. Flavour bombs aplenty, and taste sensations left, right, and centre, we were reminded that this is exactly how eating out should be: good food, good atmosphere, and good company.

Succulent, decent value, and still well above the competition – Red’s showed once again why it is a Leeds foodie’s paradise.

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