@ The Fig, Leeds

Being invited to try out a ‘special menu’ at a restaurant leaves food writers with a bit of a dilemma.

In terms of writing about an experience others might want to then enjoy, it’s about as useful as the reading the review of a one-night only gig.

And in terms of foodie occasions, sampling a Valentine’s menu can be a tricky thing to negotiate due to odd combinations, overly sweet offerings and tacky packaging.

Ok, it’s not as unlikely to be loveless as wedding fayre or as dodgy territory as some other annual events – think New Year’s Eve’s begrudged sober services – but still, the specially themed luuurve menus can leave diners feeling shortchanged in the passion stakes.

So when Leeds Loves Food invited me to sample the Valentine’s offering at The Fig, it left me wondering which way to jump – attempt to suss out the venue for its ‘special’ or ignore its attempts to mark an occasion?

In the end, Valentine’s night won out! Well, everyone needs a bit of romance.

The venue itself sets the scene for a slick night out. Just off from Clarence Dock and within a casino, it’s a restaurant that obviously sets out to attract the high rollers.

But the special menu at £25 a head for three courses remained simple enough and I hope these pictures give you a good indication of the style of the cooking at this venue.

Here’s the highlights pictured;

To start: The goats’ cheese with warm beetroot was both earthy and well-presented.

Mains: My fish fillet (hake) was beautifully cooked and the straightforward and robust presentation of this steak and chips typical of what’s to be found on both the special and day-to-day menus.

Deserts: The blue cheese course was generous on the biscuits, celery and grapes, if a little less so on the choice of cheese itself.

One thing worthy of note is that you don’t need to be a casino member to eat in the restaurant although wine drinkers might need some luck on the tables before indulging as the wine list has little on offer for under £20.

Overall The Fig provides good value in a stylish venue with warm service – something diners should look forward to enjoying whatever the occasion.

The Fig is based within The Alea, at Clarence Dock, Leeds.

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