Whenever a restaurant gets a new Head Chef they’re understandably keen to set an immediate marker by introducing a brand new menu. Connaire Moran has been no exception after taking the helm at The Tetley, to which he brings a wealth of experience and ideas. He has just come from successful fine dining pub, The Owl, in Kirkgate Market, which was the first ever pub in Europe’s biggest indoor market and immediately garnered rave reviews. Prior to this he began his culinary career with Anthony Flinn, before a spell with ever-popular Leeds institution The Reliance. After travelling in Asia, he returned and has been working at The Owl since it opened in 2019. We popped on the 110, which delivered us almost to the revolving front door of The Tetley, to see what the new man had to offer.
Reading through the new menu it quickly became apparent that Connaire Moran’s impressive culinary background has already made its influence felt on the wide-ranging list of interesting dishes it contained. The Braised Ox Cheek (£10) was a case in point, with flavoursome chunks of meat being accompanied by a vibrantly yolky poached duck egg atop a delightfully sweet and crumbly slab of cornbread. The addition of crispy capers and TABASCO® Sriracha Sauce hollandaise ensured there was plenty of interest in the flavour department.
For those of a more vegetarian persuasion, the Heritage Tomatoes (£7.50) were a perfect summery choice (although the weather unfortunately didn’t play ball on our visit!). Thankfully the crispy sourdough base, whipped goats cheese and basil chimichurri were the ideal partner for the plentiful selection of fresh tomatoes, ensuring that the sun was shining on our plate even if the rain was pelting down outside.
The innovative flair that had been applied to the mains was also replicated in the sides, with the Chips with Aioli and Fennel Salt (£3.50) proving to be an inspired choice. As moreish as they were delicious, these were on a completely different level to the norm. In fact we might never view chips in the same light ever again!
A perfect pint of Tetley’s Cask (what else?!!) and a most pleasant glass of Merlot did exactly what was needed but, let’s be honest, the food was the real star of the show here.
A beautifully warm and most generous helping of indulgent Sticky Toffee Pudding (£6) and a scoop of rapidly melting vanilla Northern Bloc Ice Cream rounded off a very satisfying lunch.
While Connaire Moran may have only held the position of Head Chef at The Tetley for a matter of weeks, it is already clear that his reign is going to produce plenty more exciting and well made offerings if his first menu is anything to go by. The vibrancy of the artwork on show at The Tetley has always provided a good reason to visit, but there’d be absolutely no shame in just going for lunch when the food is of this quality.