I only review places I've really enjoyed visiting and leave other websites for the trash comments. Every so often I have the real pleasure of creating an article on somewhere really outstanding that has become a firm favourite for me. The Reliance (or Reli as it is affectionately know by it's loyal following of regulars) is definitely up there in my top places to eat.
Close to central Leeds but out of the hubbub of crazy drinking circuits, The Reliance is a lively bar and dining room bursting with personality. Run and owned by Becs and Joss, they impart their passion for food and hospitality throughout the place. The waiting and bar staff blend friendly service and efficiency with ease and the chefs know how to translate their enthusiasm for food into great meals.
The Reliance has real charm, with an eclectic mix of furniture, a soaring floor to ceiling window at the front and a fresh open dining room up behind the bar. Spread over several levels and spaces, a sense of intimacy is also possible. There's a very natural feel about the place as it's not been designed by a chain bar consultant. Since a recent refurbishment, there is also a private dining room available which would be ideal for an event with friends or a work Christmas party. The chefs have nothing to hide and it's a treat to be able to fully see into the busy kitchen.
Following a truly seasonal approach, the menu changes throughout the year. I last visited, when the Autumn menu had just been launched. Six hour braised ox cheek and the roast pheasant breast were both highly recommended. I was looking for a light lunch and decided to go for the fish finger sandwich. In true Reli style, this was delicious. Golden and crisp goujons of Erdinger battered fish, nestled gently in soft white bread, with fresh salad and tartare sauce.
While the food is fantastic, The Reliance is "at heart an informal pub where you're welcome to pop in for pint, a coffee or read of a paper". There is an extensive bottle and draught beer list with imaginative choices and regularly changing guest ales.