The arrival of Victoria Gate Casino in January 2017 marked another exciting chapter in Leeds’ remarkable reinvention, which in the last 5 years has included the first direct Arena, Trinity and of course, Victoria Gate. Opening a super casino in the city was a risk, especially given the controversy which surrounds the gambling industry today, but it has worked.
It’s also safe to say that the casino has managed to establish itself as more than just a gamblers paradise, capitalising on its 24-hour licence to screen major sporting events which have been a huge hit (this place is going to be the place to catch all of the big screen action of the 2018 World Cup, trust us).
With all this stuff going on, it’s easy to forget that there’s also a mighty fine cocktail bar and restaurant situated on the other side of the venue, away from the bustling gaming zone and sports bar.
We road tested V Restaurant last year, where we found the food to be tasty, if a little on the safe side in terms of choice. Thankfully, this has been corrected with the summer 2018 menu, which mixes up English classics with some more daring, international dishes.
The evening got off to a great start in the stylish Curve Bar, where we enjoyed some top-notch cocktails. I went with the Classic Mojito, which took me back to Cuba with the combination of Havana Club Rum, fresh mint, lime and sugar. Around the table, other guests were singing the praises of the Brockman’s Bramble, which was beautifully presented and mixed with Brockman’s Gin, Crème de mure and lemon juice.
With our pallets cleansed, we headed over to the intimate confines of the dark and moody V Restaurant for dinner. As we waited on our starters, we enjoyed a glass of the Petirrojo Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a robust red from Chile (who always seem to produce excellent reds at just about any price point).
To start, I enjoyed the Chicken Satay Skewers, which were served with beansprout, cucumber, coriander, spring onion and pea shoot salad, black onion and sesame seeds. The chicken was cooked to perfection, and the satay was surprisingly light, and went perfectly with the accompanying salad.
Across the table, another diner was enjoying the Crispy Tofu, Pak Choi and Pepper Tempura, which looked like one of the most indulgent vegan dishes I’ve seen in recent weeks (and that’s a lot, given the recent vegan explosion in Leeds).
Choosing a main was tough, and I briefly considered the Katsu Chicken and Short Rib of Beef before settling with the Harissa Marinated Rump of Lamb. Served with crushed potatoes and green beans, the tender lamb was an absolute delight in all its seasoned glory.
As a sucker for white chocolate, I went with the Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake, which was all the richer for its smothering of raspberry sauce. After another glass of red, it was game time, and so we headed over to the main casino area to try out our luck on the slots.
Sadly, Lady Luck wasn’t watching over me this particular evening, and just 10 minutes later, I was £10 down! However, one guy from our group did manage to turn a £5 chip into £60 in a matter of minutes, so it wasn’t all bad news (I’m still waiting for my pint though I might add!).
Soon after, I left the casino none the richer, however the food, drink and company had been fantastic, and you can’t ask for much more than that. V Restaurant has most definitely upped its game, and delivered its most daring and delicious menu to date, making it well worth taking a punt on.
Victoria Gate Casino, 26 Eastgate, Leeds, LS2 7JL.