Rare is a steak restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of Leeds. I discovered it through Bookatable back at the end of May when I received an e-mail about taste nights that they are running over the summer. I loved the idea of a taster evening and promptly booked into the next available one which was the 'Sirloin and Merlot' night.
I had been looking forward to it for weeks and it was made even better as it was beautiful summer evening (a rarity in the UK let alone Yorkshire!) We were early as I had met Karl from work and the event wasn't due to start till 7pm, so we had a good hour to kill. We decided to head over and maybe get a drink in the bar, what a stroke of genius that was! Rare has a lovely little enclosed courtyard, that was decorated with graffiti, bunting and faux grass. It had a lovely trendy yet relaxed vibe about it.
The staff were amazing from start to finish and should be very proud of the excellent customer service they provide. I am a huge stickler for customer service and Karl is even worse than I am and we were both impressed with everyone we came into contact with.
We decided to have a cocktail in the courtyard while we waited, we both ordered cocktails that weren't on the menu, Karl and old fashioned and I asked for a non-alcoholic cocktail. There was no fuss about ordering something not on the menu and they promptly brought over two amazing drinks. Mine was a lovely fruity yet refreshing concoction and Karl's old fashioned was excellent (if a little too strong for me).
We enjoyed sitting out in the sunshine, chatting and the staff were the perfect mixture of attentive but not overly so, letting us enjoy our drinks in peace.
We were then shown to the restaurant downstairs where the taster meal was to take place. Each group was individually seated and a brief overview of the first wine explained. The restaurant was very well designed, with lots of dark leather (in keeping with the steak theme) and wood which gave it the perfect feel of good quality but still retaining a relaxed vibe. They even have a taxidermy cow as a centre piece which was very impressive (if not a little off putting when your eating steak!)
The menu was set out in front of us with each course and the accompanying wine. Then the tasting began. Each course was brought out and an explanation given by the servers along with a overview of each acompanying wine. The servers were knowledgable and friendly, answering any questions. The food came out a good regular intervals without too much of a wait and I was very impressed with how organised they were to ensue that everybody was served quickly and efficiently without losing that all important customer service.
As for the food, it was amazing. It was well presented without vearing on the pretentious side and you could see and taste the quality of all the ingredients. I especially loved the Sirloin 'Pie' and piccalilli funk for starters, it was exquisite! The wines complimented each course very well, I only tasted each one with the food as I was driving but Karl greatly enjoyed them all.
Sirloin and Oyster Flavours
Sirloin 'Pie' and Piccalilli Funk
Steak and Chips
Cherries, Merlot and Meringue
Overall the experience was excellent. The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable, the only downside being that because the ceilings are quiet low, it was a little noisy and could be difficult to hear each other at times, especially with the music in the background.
I would highly recommend checking out this little gem of a restaurant and if you can get into one of the taster sessions, it is definitely worth a go. We paid £30 each for 4 course and 4 drinks, excellent value considering the quality of both the food and drink. We have already booked in to the last session in August - 'Duck and Cider' night! Hope to see you there!