I’ve often jogged past Gallery Forty One, on Kirkstall Road, just near the Morrisons Superstore, and never really given it a second thought, however, a few weeks I go I noticed a huge sign saying the restaurant had one ‘Best Suburban Restaurant of the Year 2015’ in the Oliver Awards, and so I decided we had to check it out. That sign has probably been there for ages, but I only just spotted it!
We wandered down for a Friday night date a few weeks ago, and were greeted by friendly staff in a reasonably quiet restaurant, with neat decor and comfy seats. I perused the menu with a glass of white wine, whilst Ali dashed to the cash point as the card machine was broken – I’m glad we were warned at the beginning of the meal, rather than after our bellies were full, and we had that post-prandial slump!
For my starter I opted for calamari, served with a lemon and tartar sauce. The deep fried rings were crisp and light, with soft, delicate squid inside, complimented beautifully with the citrus sauce. They weren’t the best calamari I’ve ever had (that was in South Africa, by the coast!), but it was a pretty decent starter, and got me in the mood for some more food!
Ali initially went for the prawns and avocado, however they had run out for avocado, so decided on the bruschetta instead. Tomatoes, garlic and basil were served on top of toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil. It tasted fresh and flavourful, with the basil really enhancing the tomatoes.
For our main course, we both went for pizza (as always!). I chose the ‘Gallery 41’ – a meaty pizza with parma ham, salami, pancetta and pepperoni, garnished with rocket. The toppings were really tasty, with ooey-gooey cheese, salty meat, and a decent tomato based sauce, however the base wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. It was very thin, without that doughy crust that I love. I did enjoy it, but the toppings were definitely the best bit!
Ali had the Catalana pizza – pepperoni, chicken, peppers, onions and mozzarella, and again the toppings were the highlight. The pizza was rammed full of topping, with something going on in every bite. Ali enjoyed the base more than I did, and declared it a solid pizza!
We shared some side orders, as we were both pretty hungry. We got the fried courgettes, and some french fries. I loved the courgettes – some nutritious veggies, covered in delicate, herby batter! Yum! The fries were good too – I think Ali ate most of them!
For dessert, Ali knew what he was going to get before we even started the meal, he went for the Raspberry Eton Mess cheesecake, his favourite combination of dessert stuff! It was a dense cheesecake, piled high with meringue and raspberries, with a raspberry sauce and cream to finish it off. Ali loved it. The sweet cheesecake was smooth, with a crunchy biscuity base, cut with the more tart raspberries, and tangy sauce.
I had the Toffee Dime Crunch pie, which was a sugar explosion! It had sweet crunchy cookie base, topped with a smooth, soft, white chocolate mousse, toffee sauce, chocolate sauce, and finished with dime bars. It was good, but my teeth were a bit on edge afterwards from all that sugar, but I enjoyed the cookie and toffee flavours together with the softer more delicate white chocolate taste.
Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Gallery Forty One. The staff were really friendly, and did well at communicating the few technical hitches to the customers. The atmosphere is great, it feels really relaxed, and a bit more chilled out than some of the city centre restaurants. The food was tasty, not five stars, but definitely a good, solid meal. I’d recommend the restaurant for a good value, family friendly meal out.