Tuesday, 31 May 2011

All Bar One, Millennium Square, Leeds city centre

All Bar One on Millennium Square has replaced the old Ha Ha Bar and Canteen, the scene of many a school friends’ lunch in the past. So for Sarah T’s birthday, we decided to meet up for some drinks and food on a Friday night. A slightly earlier start was had by the birthday girl and SH as they could get to Leeds after an early finish at work. No such luck for me and H. We were “spending the afternoon with tongue stuck to roof of mouth for want of prosecco” as H eloquently put it, but we both made it in a little later.

The layout of the new All Bar One is pretty similar to the old Ha Ha. The place has had a bit of a redecorate though, and looks better for it. We were shown to our booth and decided to order a bottle of prosecco, to toast the birthday girl. Sadly, they had run out of our favourite Italian fizz so we were offered a bottle of champagne at the same price, which was a pretty good exchange.

We decided to stick with the small plates menu – perfect for picking but not too much to finish you off and send you home with a too-full belly. We chose the duck which came on mini-tortillas with cucumber and hoi-sin sauce. This is the All Bar One take on Chinese crispy duck with pancakes and they do it very well. It is served on a plank of wood which all adds to a very good presentation.

The tempura chicken looks quite heavy and yet the batter is very light and it is served with a good dipping sauce – always a winner for me.

For the vegetarian in our midst, hummus with pitta bread hit the spot.

We ordered some other small plates as the evening progressed – that’s the beauty of this type of eating. It generally suits my tendency to graze and also makes sure you don’t get too full! I can never understand how some people can go out and have a full curry and then go out drinking till the early hours. Bizarre.

All Bar One does about three different types of Pinot Grigio, and they had sold out of them all when we were there. We had a Pinot Grigio/Riesling instead and it was okay. Bit of a shame, really, as I always think of All Bar One as having a wide selection of wine. The waiter said there had been a do the night before and they had sold out of a lot of stock. (The service, by the way, was excellent).

It wasn’t a very pleasant evening weather-wise but I imagine the outdoor area on Millennium Square will be more used when the sun comes out (of should I say if....?)

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