I’ve eaten in some good French restaurants in my time but Kendell’s in Leeds is a firm favourite. It is is one of the nicest restaurants in my city and recently bagged itself an Oliver award for best City Centre Restaurant. You can see why (not just for the sparkly candle holders).
It was the second time I’d been, the first was years ago and I’d been wanting to return ever since. Kendell’s definitely didn’t disappoint. Small, independent and out of the way (by the wardrobe near the bus station) it didn’t see me to have changed at all since my last visit. Except maybe the menu, which changes so often they put it on a big blackboard rather than print it out.
For starters I had the French onion soup, classically served with bread and Gruyere topping and parsley garnish (which I removed because I hate parsley but that’s just me). It was a rich and savoury broth with the onions giving just the right amount of sweetness. I used to adore the soup at La Grillade in Leeds (before it sadly shut down) and this is a close second.
My partner had the moules marinière which I did sample for reviewing purposes, although I’m not really into seafood myself, they were perfectly cooked and the sauce was light and savoury the way it should be.
Next up I had the braised rabbit which came on a hash almost of cabbage, ham hock, apple and a little bit of potato, with a Rosemary cream sauce. All the flavours worked beautifully together and the rabbit was really tasty and savoury.
My partner had the Canard au Cassis which was a duck breast in a black currant sauce, served with a goats cheese filo pastry. We also had some dauphionoise potatoes to share which were so indulgent and rich tasting I couldn’t finish them!
We ate on a bustling Saturday night, you do need to book ahead and the website often shows as being fully booked for weeks in advance. Service was slightly more relaxed than we’d have liked with a long delay at the beginning for anyone seeing to us for wine, but once this was sorted the rest of the meal was perfect.
I’d definitely return here and recommend it to anyone as one of the best restaurants in Leeds.
(Ps. Taking good pictures in a candlelit restaurant is HARD! Apologies for the quality).