Professionally, I travel a lot to Manchester. I probably stay there on average 4 nights a month, maybe more. Breakfast is sorted – Doreen’s greasy spoon van on Waterside does possibly the best bacon and sausage (and black pudding in my case) barm (that’s Mancunian for bap) in the area, which is so cheap it’s almost free.
There’s a plethora of great restaurants which I have written about before, Bollywood, El Rincon, Akbar’s, Happy Seasons and others. However, despite their individual and collective greatness, it can get boring. I’m lucky enough that I often travel with colleagues so the professional nomad’s curse of dining alone is rare, but that sometimes is on the cards. Thankfully I also have friends in Liverpool and Leeds, neither of which is that far by train really, and recently I was persuaded to venture to Yorkshire (was my turn).
The decision was very simple and easy. The restaurant intended to be visited was Red’s True Barbecue. I was very easily sold; anywhere that has the byline (and as it turns out, a monopoly on the twitter hashtag) “Let there be meat” gets my vote. The theme is very much American barbecue – so low and slow and lots of it, and the decor, well, heretic. I mean this in a good way, I like it, but some may find it mildly offensive maybe. Everything is a twist on biblical (as if “let there be meat” wasn’t the first clue) – the menu is “The Good Book”, the customers must be saved from bad barbecue – the list goes on.
Given the popularity, at certain times, they do not offer a booking system at weekends (as a principle, this annoys me) but at least they hold you in a queuing system and you can go out and about to a nearby hostelry for an aperitif, safe in the knowledge you’ll get a call when ready – which is an improvement on the queue out of the door system operated by some. On my weekday visit, a table was not a massive problem, though it was clearly popular. The staff’s approach is clearly derived from them actually enjoying working there; that’s not something that can be taught and is always welcome.
Drinks wise, the American theme at Red’s True Barbeque continues with a long list of American craft beer on draft and in bottles, along with a decent selections of whiskys and bourbons; attention to detail like this is the sort of thing that moves a place from good to excellence. Though in the biblical theme I should probably say dedication.
Food wise, well, it’s barbecue – brisket, burgers, pulled pork, ribs etc. Clearly made in-house and done excellently. I opted for the pit burger (£15.95). Two home-made steak patties, pulled pork, brisket and all the trimmings, in a brioche bun (the slight sweetness of the bread always works so well with barbecue meat) and was done excellently. Each table has a range of homemade sauces to slather over your fries too – all of which are extremely well thought out and executed. Friend had the donut burger (£12.95) which was similarly well executed.
Perhaps the best master stroke for Red’s is the portion sizes. It’s manageable. Good quality barbecue is a labour of love; it takes a long time, and would be blasphemous (I’m getting into this) to waste. The slightly more hungry can add sides or a starter (or a desert, which looked epic but even I couldn’t contemplate it). The meat is so good you have an incentive to finish it, but without having so much that it can be overdone – which in turn gives you a warm feeling about the value for money too.
In any event, I shall certainly be back…… actually, more strictly, shall make a pilgrimage to Red’s in Manchester (how did I not know one existed!), soon.
|Restaurant Name||Red's True Barbeque|
|Price Range||£30 a head (Dinner)|
|Phone||0113 834 5834|
|Address||Cloth Hall Street, Leeds, LS1 2HD|