These days I feel pretty out of touch with ‘the city’ (that’s Leeds for me!). I so rarely get to go, and when my trendy mates keep telling me about new places they’ve eaten or plaster their Prosecco photos on Facebook I must admit I go a little bit green…
Obviously having a small person in my life is overwhelmingly satisfying and I wouldn’t swap it for all the new bars and restaurants in the world, but it does make me nostalgic for the days I could spend 2 hours getting ready, throw on a pair of heels and trot off to town without a care.
Such an opportunity arose this weekend, when my mum asked if she could look after Jackson. The bright lights of Leeds were calling to me – Headrow House? Zaap Thai? The Homage2fromage Café?
But then I remembered Otta’s Leah. Our little town of Otley has just welcomed a new restaurant and so far I had heard nothing but great reports.
So the bright city lights, this time, got pushed aside for a quick taxi ride down the road and an urge to support local new business. And it didn’t disappoint! We were welcomed with a friendly face (actually the old front of house manager from Bistro Saigon in Ilkley who is great), and a ready table.
I looked around to see tables full of happy customers, very middle class and very middle aged. I worried we had made a mistake by using one of our precious date nights to mingle with the Otley oldies, but actually the subdued atmosphere and shortage of glitterati was pretty refreshing! No-one peering at your table nosying at ‘who’s who?’ and no fashion parade.
A couple of Hendricks gin and Fenitman’s tonics later we had perused the menu and ordered our starters, mains and wine. The menu is small, with 4 starter choices and 4 mains, and when you see the size of the kitchen which houses their 3 chefs you understand why! But what they do, they do extremely well…
I sipped a cold glass of their Rioja Blanco which accompanied my pan fried mackerel fillet with mackerel tartare wrapped in cucumber, followed by hake fillet on squid ink risotto and calamari. All of which was absolutely delicious – beautifully cooked and really well seasoned. We greedily rounded off with a somewhat stingy cheese, biscuits and a glass of port. Perhaps if we hadn’t been sharing it would have been the perfect amount.
The restaurant currently runs on two floors. Upstairs was empty for us and I’ve heard the same from other diners, so I hope that they consider extending the bar area on the ground floor and start utilising the first floor restaurant space. Otley needs more good bars and surely this would attract potential diners too.
Overall, I was very impressed with Otta’s Leah. The staff were friendly and attentive, the menu was small but perfectly formed and the atmosphere and décor gave off the perfect low key Friday night vibe.