Our pick of the ever-evolving, seasonal fine dining menu
Following our gushing review of Arts Cafe a few months ago, Confidential has been looking for any excuse to scrub up and check out its fine-dining sibling Shears Yard - the fact it’s 50% off food this January just turned out to be a happy bonus.
The Shears menu has shades of what’s made Art’s Cafe so popular over the past twenty-plus years - confident modern British cooking using great local produce, and a few creative flourishes. The techniques and ingredients displayed here arethekind you’d expect to find on a particularly close Masterchef final, or in a restaurant environment much more formal than Shears Yard’s industrial-chic decor, comfortable atmosphere, and friendly service creates.
The menu is seasonal, and as such it’s concise; never bombarding you with a choice of dishes that lack direction, instead going for a dozen or so with real focus. Here’s what we recommend ordering:
Cured Venison Loin.
The tenderness of the loin is preserved with a cure that brings out its natural richness, complemented by a just-sweet parsnip ketchup and parsnip crisps, balanced with a grassy, ever-so-slightly menthol pine syrup.
This is a dish straight out of a Hans Christian Anderson tale; a weekend away in a log cabin on a plate
Goats Cheese & White Truffle Mousse.
Smooth, lightly tangy goats cheese given a bit of oomph courtesy of white truffle, in an impressively smooth mousse. Candy-stripe heirloom beets accompany it, along with red chard and crushed walnut. Yes, it’s been done a million times before, but the classics are classic for a reason, and this is a great take on it
Roast King Oyster Mushrooms.
The chestnut, pumpkin, and wild mushroom fricassee is a robust, vegetarian-yet-meaty, woodland version of the classic French stew, served with roasted mushrooms substantial enough that a family of badgers could use them as an umbrella.
A mixed seed crisp shows off the kitchen’s chemistry acumen, and black truffle doubles down on the richness.
Pan Fried Sea Bass.
Before it was Shears Yard, Wharf Street’s former canvas and ropeworks housed Livebait. Unfortunately no seafood restaurant, including Livebait, has thrived in Leeds - if they were putting out dishes like this though, that might be different story.
Pan-fried sea bass with crackling-crisp, still-hot skin cooled by caviar creme fraiche, caper butter and squid ink add depth to the potatoes - not to mention impressive visuals - and a black garlic sauce punches through it all without being overpowering. Star dish of the menu, if you ask us.
Green Tea Marshmallow.
A homemade marshmallow with the silky consistency of a panna cotta, flavoured with a mildly floral green tea, pistachio brittle gives it some crunch and creamy nuttiness, freshened with tart frozen berries.
Not as part of the same meal, obviously. On Saturdays between 11am and 3pm, Shears Yard offer their own contribution to the city’s bottomless brunch offerings.
Choose any dish from the menu - including Sykes House Farm 28-day matured Rib Eye and eggs, or smoked salmon and watercress emulsion - and wash it down with a generous choice of drinks: Bloody Marys, Gin Snappers, bellinis, as well as Prosecco and beers on tap. There's a two-hour limit on tables, but that allows ample time for even the most prolific brunch-gluttons (guilty)