Restaurant reviews

Breakfast in Leeds: Banyan Bar in City Square

Arc Inspirations have been on the rise recently in Leeds (and Harrogate). Their range of bars/restaurants now extends into City Square with their stunning new Banyan Bar.

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The new Banyan Bar has mainly been reviewed by those who had the pleasure of attending the opening night, but we decided to go a bit off piste by exploring the breakfast side of the menu.

The name Banyan Bar doesn’t exactly scream ‘decent breakfast’, but the lovely dining area and seating arrangements actually make the restaurant suitable for either those on business or those with kids. I found the staff to be friendly and really on the ball considering how new the bar was when I visited.

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I was there with my little girl, who is still too little for any kids’ menu, but the high level of service was exemplified by a waitress bringing out some cucumber for her to nibble on without me asking for anything. She also made quite sure that the highchair I was offered was suitable. From a family perspective, I couldn’t have asked for more. Would the food and drink live up to this level of service though?

Having opted for a cappuccino (that came rather nicely with a shortbread biscuit) I was not disappointed with the coffee. It had enough caffeine in it to wake me up and was nicely presented. Next stop: the food.

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Options on offer ranged from a healthy pure ‘rawnola’ (no typo here) topped with fresh berries all the way to a full fat full English. And, just for those of you who are curious, yes you can stay on trend here and enjoy smashed avocado!

I decided to go for something that I am a huge fan of and was intrigued to see how it would be done: American style pancakes. With the promise of maple butter and a fruit compote to complement the warm, fluffy pancakes, I was hopeful that I would be presented with something rather special.

In all honesty, I imagined that the portions might be a tiny bit bigger (then again we had just been in the USA to the likes of IHOP where pancakes don’t come in anything other than XXL form). That aside, the dish was very tasty.

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So, what did I make of Banyan? Well, it didn’t quite get to the point where I felt like I was in a cosy independent, but the environment was warm and friendly, the food tasted good (and certainly not greasy which it could so easily have been) and the menu is broad enough to suit all tastes. Perhaps the best thing about the new Banyan, though, is its fantastic location.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a free breakfast in order to review the food at Banyan Bar Leeds. We were under no obligation to provide a positive review and all views are our own as usual.

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