in a nutshell
Believing that a superb dish is not just about the skills of the chef, but also the produce and the process it has been through, Stockdales is a wagyu beef specialist from a team of farmers in Yorkshire. Originally hailing from Japan and once popular with emperors, wagyu comes from cows that are bred to include high fat, unique marbling and premium flavour.
Trained to Michelin star standard, Jonathan Elvin is the head chef dishing up the 28-day aged beef over the Josper grill here at the central Leeds restaurant. He has worked in some of Europe’s finest restaurants, including Bagatelle in Oslo and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s in London.
The welfare of the cows, which are exclusively sourced from Yorkshire, is key and the so-called ‘Yorkshire process’involves diligent and careful farming, meaning unique marbling and an intense end flavour. There are plenty of ways to get your wagyu fix at Stockdales: bourguignon, burger, rib eye, sirloin, rump and fillet.
While most dishes on the menu hover under a tenner for starters, and around £15 for mains, the wagyu steaks proper can cost up to £40.50. Non-steak options are available, though, such as sea bass, rack of lamb, smoked haddock and chicken.
Split into three levels, the restaurant is a combination of contemporary class and chattery clatter. Enjoy a cocktail in the bar area before sitting down on either the mezzanine or underground floors, where you can look up to the pavement above and see right into the open kitchen. The atmosphere is laidback with friendly uniformed staff, making it perfect for groups and couples out on the town.
You’ll be hard pushed to find a better dish anywhere than the wagyu beef cheek bourguignon, which is astonishingly tender with crispy bacon, mushrooms, shallots and red wine jus. Rich in flavour, the succulent beef falls away at the touch of a fork. That’ll be thanks to the 10-hour session in the oven, then.
The fillet steak tartare with umami yolk and sourdough for under a tenner is a winning starter but don’t bypass the ‘snack’section of the menu, for here you’ll find divine potted wagyu beef with sourdough, with beef dripping spread. Do not quibble on calories here. It’s worth it.
For dessert go for the toasted hazelnut crème brûlée with dark chocolate ice cream or the Valrhona dark chocolate tart with malted milk ice cream and salted caramel. Both indulgent dishes are packed with a mixture of textures and flavours: stickiness, crunch, creamy, salty and sweet all make an appearance, but neither are overly stodgy.
The staff have a lot to remember, but they sample the menu as part of their training so really know their stuff, enabling them to make personal recommendations. Take advantage of their expertise.
Leeds’new addition is a reason to celebrate in the city’s rising food scene, for Stockdales of Yorkshire delivers excellence and high quality in its food and a cosy yet cool vibe.
Address: Stockdales of Yorkshire, 8 South Parade, Leeds, LS1 5QX
Words by Claire Smith, www.yorkshirepudd.co.uk
Written November 2015
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