Armed with an arsenal of smoking hot dishes and a brand-new Wagyu menu, Chophaus have bounced back from the pandemic wilderness fighting fit. I dropped in with fellow food lover and photographer extraordinaire Paul Conboy to uncover the highlights. Let’s dive in.
After making an impressive debut back in late 2019, Chophaus managed to iron out the usual teething problems faced by a new eatery to emerge as one of the city’s most talked about restaurants. This was of course scuppered by the global pandemic, however, Chophaus seems to have weathered the storm remarkably well.
Whilst the majority of upmarket eateries were unable to provide suitable takeaway services during lockdown, the Oakwood fine dining joint managed to carve out a reputation for delivering the best Sunday roast in north Leeds. I can personally vouch for this, as my home beef roast delivery back in May was flawless and a much-needed pick-me-up during by far the lamest spring in recent decades.
As well as pleasing loyal customers and keeping the brand alive and relevant, they managed to attract a new audience keen to drop in post lockdown. But, would the experience match up to previous visits or would the new government guidelines take the shine out of the restaurant experience?
Turns out that besides the obligatory hand sanitising stations and ridiculous riot masks worn by staff, little has changed. Service was certainly slicker since my first visit back in their early days and you could tell everyone was glad to be back to the grind. The atmosphere was positively buzzing.
As I supped my first proper pint in what felt like a lifetime, we got to grips with the new evening menu. Choosing starters was a cinch, as our dishes of choice immediately jumped off the page. First up came the exotic and fragrant Tuna Tataki, which was perfectly seared, impeccably presented and served with avocado, edamame, lotus root, lemongrass and coconut oil.
An essential dish for seafood lovers and one that has the potential to turn anyone usually opposed to the idea of raw fish. Next up came the Guinness Rarebit Éclair, a hearty and delicious effort that’s blessed with wild mushroom, seared beef and truffle.
Picking out mains was a little more difficult, as new additions such as the Pork Ribs and North Sea Lobster grabbed our attention. In the end, we opted for good old-fashioned steak, this is what Chophaus is famous for after all.
The 8oz Rib-Eye proved to be an excellent cut and was bold, juicy and just the right amount of pink. The Wagyu Rump too was another winner, taking the classic beef cut to new heights with a depth in flavour unlike your average rump steak. The Blue Cheese Sauce and Red Wine Jus also come highly recommended.
Complemented with sides of the unashamedly calorific Beef Dripping Chips and Truffle Mac and Cheese, this was a meal worth loosening your belt for. Kudos to our waitress too for recommending the dark and chocolatey Dead Man’s Dice Malbec, which elevated our mains even further.
After a lengthy post-meal chat, we still couldn’t justify ordering two desserts, so opted to share the decadent Chocolate Fondant. Peppered with a devilishly dark chocolate soi and accompanied with a delightful dollop of pistachio ice-cream, this rich and gooey pud rounded off an exceptional meal from Chophaus.
With several more dishes to work our way through, we left on a promise to return sooner rather than later. Welcome back Chophaus, you’ve been sorely missed.
Chophaus, Louis House, Princes Avenue, Oakwood, Leeds, LS8 2FA.