The menu reads like a piece from Francois Villon, the descriptions roll of the tongue and call for the harmony of Oooh as I reach the end of each sentence
With a trip to Paris scheduled in the coming weeks, I’ve been keen to propel our excitement by reminding ourselves just how much French cuisine and indeed French wine appeals to us, I know there’s the constant debate as to who owns the culinary accolade of classic cooking, well let me give you my opinion, the French do, the simplistic way of serving extraordinary flavours is for me unrivalled, a glass of the red stuff, ideally, a full-bodied version from the south of France is what makes a french culinary adventure a treat.
Rather ashamedly, until recently I’d never come across Kendell’s Bistro in Leeds, I’m going to guess that’s simply because their social sharing is low-key, but so it should be, when you’ve been established in excess of 16 years and have a constant stream of great reviews, there’s little point going full-on instatastic.
The Saturday night welcome was the perfect re-introduction to the quality of service that’s common across the Parisian culinary scene, Sharon (wife of chef Steve Kendell) greats us and hand’s us to our incredible waiter for the night, I say incredible based purely on the recommendations he serves me during our visit.
The ambience of Kendell’s is without question the most striking element on taking your seat, an incredibly dark restaurant with the flicker of candlelight illuminating the entire eatery set the scene as the perfect romantic setting, the placement of chairs in a next to each other sequence adds to the romance of the setting.
The menu does pose me a couple of issues, good issues, how do I choose? Entrée’s read like a piece from Francois Villon, the descriptions roll of the tongue and call for the harmony of Oooh as I reach the end of each sentence, but there’s really only one direction a Northern Gentleman in a French Bistro can take, Boudin Noir, a dish better than the English produce and marginally better than the Spanish equivalent Moreilla.
Translated to Black Pudding it’s a more refined delicate version of our classic English breakfast item, served with apple puree and caramelised onions this is a dish that has already reminded me of the excellence of French Cusine, its a simply elevating produce by complimenting flavours, it’s the perfect example of Boudin Noir matched by the quality of ingredients and a chef that’s let the flavours do the talking.
As with the entrée’s the Plats Principaux are proving equally as difficult to choose from, maybe a sign I need to dine here again, I find myself going weak at the knees at the description of the fillet de boeuf, roast fillet steak, mushroom peccorino truffle ravioli, pomme anna, port wine sauce!
As you would imagine the beef and ravioli are as exceptional as they sound, it’s the port wine sauce thought that I have to applaud the most, you’ll know that I’m a stickler for a sauce, it’s not easy, I’ve tried for years to master it and whilst I’m far better than I used to be, it takes an extremely talented chef to produce a sauce of this quality. as well as its perfect layers of flavour, it has a consistency and shine that beautifully coats every mouthful of my steak, taking a piece of meat that requires flavour due to its inherent lack of flavour from fat, to a level that is unimaginable. The truffle notes that accompany the dish add to the experience of indulgence.
For dessert it’s got to be classically French once again, Tarte Tatin, caramelised apples in puff pastry with Madagascan vanilla ice cream that perfectly melts as you take every mouthful on board, it’s satisfying, decadent & oozing with finesse, a truly stunning dessert.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I didn’t just like Kendell’s Bistro, I absolutely adored it, everything about the experience, service, quality of food and drink was simply stunning and at £120 for 3 courses for 2 people with a bottle of wine I thought the bill was incredible too, my main alone was £36 and worth every single penny, Sharon & Steve now have my full attention and I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be visiting them on regular basis for the next 16 years. Incredible, just incredible.
Kendell’s Bistro is located at St Peter’s Square in Leeds, across the road from the BBC building and is bookable via the Open Table website, It’s worth mentioning that I found Kendell’s via the Open Table website that not only details Kendell’s but many great restaurants across the Leeds and West Yorkshire area, a great way to easily book your table.