I’d never been to Sam’s Chop House but I read recently on Leeds List that their Corned Beef Hash was delicious. So when Leeds List asked me and other bloggers to write a review, I thought this would be a great time to give it a try.
The building is impressive: high ceilings, Victorian tiling, parquet flooring and chandeliers. I think I could even smell the brasso which took me back to my bartending days in the long summers between university years. We arrive at a little after 7, and it’s quiet – just a few tables are taken and there are a handful of people in the bar area. Only one couple came to eat after us.
The meat on the menu is all locally sourced which can never be a bad thing – it’s nice to know they are supporting the local farmers. Given the price (and it’s not mentioned on the menu either) I will assume that isn’t free range. There’s a selection of British favourites – steak and kidney pudding, fish and chips ranging from just under £10 up to £20 for a steak. The food is described as “Classic British Cooking with a modern twist” but I’m not sure what the modern twist is other than it is food served in 2013.
For starters I ordered the crispy corned beef hash cake and ham hock scotch egg. We ordered a bottle of red wine at the same time but it didn’t arrive until after the first course had been served. The starters arrived in less than five minutes and were served luke warm rather than the piping hot I would have expected. It seems that they were (badly) reheated to order rather than cooked fresh which was a real disappointment as they were actually nice. The corned beef hash meat was soft and full of flavour, the outer was indeed crispy and the poached egg perfect. The homemade brown sauce was nice and tangy and went nicely with the hash. The scotch egg was herbed nicely and the egg softly boiled so the yolk was set but not overcooked.
For a restaurant that is called a “Chop House” you’d expect to have more than three choices of chop. But the ribeye steak that Mr LTT had was executed perfectly to his specification and again was flavoursome and juicy, though perhaps a little too pepper seasoned for some (we didn’t mind). My pork chop was also juicy and flippin’ huge – a real tummy filler. The one thing we really didn’t like is the “mini fryer” baskets the chips were served in – they’re just so incredibly naff and really didn’t improve the quality of the food presentation.
For dessert we ordered a sticky toffee pudding to share which comes with butterscotch sauce(?!) and vanilla icecream. It was dry – I suspect it had given up the last of its moisture during its intensive burst of microwave execution. It reminded me of school dinners gone by. Thank goodness I was spared a serving of lumpy custard.
The fact it was dead on a Friday night suggests what I unfortunately had to discover for myself. Aside from the food, the issue is that the place doesn’t really know what it wants to be. It wants to have that pub atmosphere but it doesn’t have the cosy environment that a pub has. Sure, the prices are reasonable but that’s because the food just isn’t that good or, in general, that freshly cooked. A very average meal. I for one, will not be going back.
If you really want to, you can find out more about Sam’s Chop House. Located on South Parade, Leeds.