I’ve been waiting to go to Dough for a long time, ever since I discovered their Groupon offer in November. The offer was a five course taster menu for two at a total cost of £27 which was a saving of £41. The offer explained that it was valid between 6pm and 11pm Tuesday to Saturday but we really struggled to get a table. Maybe we were leaving it too late in the day and under-estimated Dough’s popularity but each time we tried to make a booking, the only times available were around 6pm which is too early for dinner for us. I think they had a set number of tables each evening for the Groupon offer and clearly the later times were much more popular. Anyway, we eventually managed to make a reservation and it was definitely worth the wait!
You can see the menu that we had below.
The Groupon offer was limited to five courses, missing out the pre-main of a confit of lamb breast and the pre-dessert of lemon and Amaretto syllabub. However, for £6 each we could upgrade to the full seven courses which was a no-brainer!
The amuse was a crab quenelle, atop a slice of cucumber with a prawn on top of it all. On it’s own, the crab was incredibly flavoursome but when eaten with the other two layers it was even better. The three elements really complimented each other well, helped by the fresh flavours of the cucumber.
Next up was the starter of chicken with poached asparagus and an asparagus nage. I don’t think I’d had a dish with a nage before (I’d certainly not heard of the word before this visit anyway) but it pretty much made the dish for me. Being a northerner, I like to have something moist with my food and the nage definitely delivered the requisite moistness but it was also very flavourful. As with all of the other dishes, the presentation was beautiful.
I have to admit that I was a bit confused by the next course. It was a rhubarb and apple sorbet which, even though it was delicious, I couldn’t quite get over the fact that it was a sorbet that wasn’t being served as a dessert. I wondered if it was being used as a palette cleanser but usually that’s the job of the amuse or something else even before that.
The pre-main course was next up. It was a filo pastry basket and within the basket there was lamb breast, crispy onions, leaks and apple sauce. This dish was the reason I wanted to go for the seven course menu because I absolutely love lamb. Philippa didn’t used to like lamb very much (I’m slowly convincing her that it’s delicious) so I jump at any opportunity to eat it! The crunchy pastry and onions contrasted really nicely with the leaks, apple and lamb. The lamb was absolutely perfectly cooked – nice and pink in the middle.
For the next course, which was the main course, we had a choice of two dishes: gammon with mustard mash, black pudding and a pineapple salsa or a smoked haddock chowder with potatoes, peas and prawns. We both decided to go for the chowder which turned out to be an excellent decision. The haddock was the hero of the dish for me; the skin was crispy and the flesh was soft and flakey. The chowder was suitably creamy with hidden pieces of potato, prawns and peas for extra interest.
Our next course was a lemon and Amaretto syllabub with a ginger and oat crumble. When it came to the table, Philippa was a bit confused about one element of the dish. This is what it looked like:
Philippa was confused about the lemon and asked the waitress if you could eat it which I found hilarious! In fairness, this is quite a testament to the quality of the food that we’d been served and I could definitely imagine a dish from Dough looking like this and having an edible lemon.
Normally a syllabub contains wine or sherry with whipped cream but this version used Amaretto instead which I was a big fan of. Amaretto is one of my favourite alcoholic drinks and because it is very sweet it works very well in dessert dishes. The crumble of oats added some texture to the dish to give it a nice, balanced feel.
The final course was a spiced bread and butter pudding with an orange marmalade ice cream. The marmalade taste in the ice cream was subtle and not over-powering and was the perfect foil to the spice from the bread and butter pudding. It was a lovely dish to finish with.
I’m very pleased that we managed to finally eat at Dough and that it exceeded both of our expectations by quite some way. We will definitely be returning in the future for the tasting menu and matched wines.
On a final note, we went to Kirkstall Deli market a couple of days after this meal and Dough had a stall there. Luke, the self-described “chief, cook and bottle washer” of Dough, was manning the stall and he’s a really nice bloke. We had a bit of a chat because he recognised us from our meal (probably because we made a complete mess of providing them with our Groupon voucher!) and he said that only signed up for the Groupon deal to help one of his friends out! Normally he doesn’t do too much advertising and relies on word-of-mouth which he said keeps him plenty busy.
If you don’t get chance to go to the restaurant then first of all, make time! It will definitely be worth it. If you really, really can’t get to the restaurant then visit Kirkstall Deli and try some of the food from Dough’s stall. I had a sausage roll of ostrich meat instead of the usual pork. There were other creations as well that give you a small insight into the type of food you get at the restaurant.