Having visited the Banyan Bar and Kitchen in Leeds City Centre a few months ago (and absolutely loving it, may I add!), I was very excited to visit the new Banyan Bar and Kitchen Roundhay branch located on Street Lane in the very popular Roundhay suburb of Leeds, as the name may suggest. So when I was invited to attend their soft opening earlier this week in preparation for their grand opening (which was last night 21/10/16), I jumped at the chance.
So, armed with my friend, I jumped in the car and made my journey from East Yorkshire to West Yorkshire. As we approached, it was clear to see that Roundhay is not short of restaurants and bars, so with that in mind I had high hopes for our experience at Banyan. In areas that are saturated with good eateries, it usually takes that something special to make a place stand out from the crowd.
Upon entering, we were very warmly greeted and shown to our table. My first impressions where ‘WOW!’ Unfortunately, having never visited the restaurant before the refurbishment (and rename – previously Napa), I cannot compare or explain how it has changed. However, I can say it now oozes sophistication, yet has a very laid-back atmosphere. With lovely big booths with comfortable leather seating mixed with high tables with stools and low tables with chairs, it’s perfect for groups of friends, families and cozy date nights. With low atmospheric lighting, the space feels intimate even though there is plenty of room between tables, yet it was light enough that we could still read the menus and see what we were eating.
We were given a few minutes before our very friendly and attentive waitress came over to take our drinks order. The drinks menu is extensive, complete with numerous wines, beers and cocktails. In fact, there are so many delicious sounding cocktails on the list that I found it very difficult to choose which one to try. Luckily for my (very) pregnant friend, the menu also has a number of fruity mocktails listed, so she could join me in having a ‘fancy’ drink! And with the bar area being large and open, it was great to watch the mixologist actually making our drinks. Here’s what we ordered:
- Mango Tango – mango and pineapple foam shaken with guava, lime, orange and mango syrup for a juicy and bountiful paradise of tropical flavours (which tasted like a Solero Ice cream!)
- Blueberry & Raspberry Sour – vanilla infused Woodford Reserve bourbon leads this twist on the timeless sour with the support of Cherry Heering liqueur, lemon, sugar, blueberry syrup and the rich fruit flavours of raspberry jam
As we happily sipped our drinks, we perused the menu. It had a good mix of meat based and vegetarian options, and also included gluten-free dishes. The portion size of our starters was more than adequate. We shared our starters, and I can confirm that they were both very tasty albeit lukewarm, which let them down slightly. Here’s what we ordered:
- Bang Bang Chicken Skewers – sesame, soy and honey dip, caramelised peanuts
- Crispy Duck Spring Rolls – oriental dipping sauce
Choosing the main course was a seriously hard decision, as everything on the menu sounded fantastic. Having tried the yummy lasagna during my visit to the Leeds City Centre Banyan, I decided to try something different. From powerbowls and salads to pasta and risotto, to steak and burgers, there really is something to suit everyone’s taste on their menu. Here’s what we ordered:
- Halloumi Skewers – chargrilled and layered with red onion, courgette and peppers. Served with a warmed Mediterranean flatbread. Served with sweet potato wedges and tzatziki sauce (be careful the skewer was HOT!)
- Steak & Ale Shortcrust Pie – succulent steak and rich gravy, encased in delicious shortcrust pastry. Served with creamy mashed potato and seasonal greens
As we ate the restaurant started to fill with other eager diners, ready to try out the new menu. The atmosphere was electric as people chatted and laughed, creating a very pleasant dining experience and one I would love to repeat in the very near future. I can imagine that Banyan is going to become a firm favourite in Roundhay, especially in the summer months, as it has a large seating area at the front – perfect for enjoying a cocktail or two in the sunshine!
- Our meal was provided at Banyan Bar & Kitchen Roundhay on a complimentary basis in exchange for a review.