A Christmas dinner special and I am always a bit suspicious about these, generally preferring the usual offering - Christmas is not just a time for goodwill to all men, but to all menus. Restaurateurs take advantage of this shamelessly, it seems to me.
On this occasion I was happily surprised. I have to say that this was one of the most pleasant and enjoyable dining experiences I have had in Leeds for years. In fact, it was one of the most enjoyable full stop – this little place would hold its own easily in the capital for the quality of its food, though perhaps it would be sneered at for its lack of sophistication. And it is none the worse for that. As a Yorkshirewoman, there is no way that I am going to pay extra for something as intangible and downright poncy as sophistication in its own right. It needs to have value added, which is to say, bells, whistles, posh décor and free stuff like amuse bouches.
The latter were in short supply at Create but the mainstream stuff on offer was just the ticket. The food was described succinctly and without frills. Five of us sat down to eat and every single one was happy – not a single complaint on the table. Soup was creamy, mushroomy, chestnutty – Christmassy! Then I had duck breast, which can be hit and miss (over or under cooked) but was pink perfection, moist, deeply flavoured, enough to make a veggie faint. But rested to a T – no tell-tale red juices (aka blood) leaking out onto the plate to soggify the wonderful fat chips, real potato crisply and perfectly cooked. Plates were beautifully dressed and not overloaded but portions were perfect . I pigged out on the side dishes (sumptuous pureed root vegetables were irresistible) and couldn’t manage a pud on my own but extra spoons were supplied for scavengers to raid the plates of friends (who are still, amazingly, on speaking terms). The pudding plates tasted simply sooper and looked a treat, from old-fashioned ice-creamy sundaes to creamy flan - which tasted as good as it looked.
Choices on the Christmas menu were limited but staff were happy to allow mix and match with the a la carte. We went in feeling virtuous and charitable, but came out feeling as though we had definitely had the best of the bargain.
Verdict: value for money 8/10 service 8/10 quality of food 8/10