Banyan – Horsforth

Banyan – Horsforth
Banyan branded bottles on shelf

I really like Banyan. You’ve probably guessed given both the Leeds and York branches have appeared on my blog on numerous occasions! Their newest restaurant has just launched in Horsforth, which is north Leeds and I headed to their preview evening with my mum (she’s an excellent plus one). I’d never actually been to Horsforth before and it turns out it’s firstly a lot bigger than I was expecting and secondly, the bits of it I saw are pretty damn cute. The new restaurant is located on New Road Side which appears to be a bit of a highstreet, so it’s fairly central for those who live in the area.

We arrived and I must admit, parking was tight – mainly on street with a little carpark at the back. Not that this would ever be an issue for me as why the hell would you drive when there’s an entire gin menu to get through?

The restaurant itself is beautiful. I’m always a fan of good lighting in restaurants for both selfies and getting killer food photos (it’s tough being a blogger sometimes...), and Banyan did not disappoint. Whilst it has a modern feel, it’s cosy and almost a comforting environment. There’s no pretense, it’s welcoming, it’s the kind of place where you can spend hours. The staff, as ever, were very clued up and they knew the menu inside out – our waiter explained that during their training they tried every single dish to ensure they could advise their customers well.

I was recommended the blueberry and raspberry sour (yes I asked if it was pretty and photographed well, no, I am not ashamed), which is a cocktail containing Woodford Reserve, a bourbon that is simply beaut. The cocktail menu is really extensive with a heavy focus on gin, though it’s one of those ‘something for everyone’ type places, so even the fussiest of cocktail drinkers will find something they like. There are also a few mocktails and smoothies on there for those who are driving and want something fancier than a diet coke.

Blueberry and raspberry sour cocktail and glass of white wine

We decided to skip starters and went straight onto mains. Again, their menu pretty much covers all bases and is a massive crowd pleaser. I love that they have both a gluten free and vegan menu too – there’s nothing worse than getting somewhere and finding out that those with dietary requirements end up with something rubbish as the restaurant doesn’t cater for them well. I went for the halloumi skewer which was served with Mediterranean vegetables, flatbread, salsa, fries and BBQ sauce. The portion sizes are pretty big and they definitely don’t scrimp on the pieces of halloumi. My mum went for the oriental duck which was so good and after trying some of her’s, I realised I’d made a grave error and would have to go back again to have the duck. It was SO good. I mentioned that my mum is a good plus one and that’s because she’s always honest but constructive – and she didn’t have any complaints. The food was piping hot, absolutely delicious and that’s despite having an packed restaurant and the staff working on a preview night before officially opening.

Halloumi skewer with fries and flatbread

Oriental duck with noodles

We were incredibly full though that’s no reason not to have dessert. I’d usually go for all chocolate everything for a dessert but I broke tradition and had the passionfruit and vanilla cheesecake which was really lovely. The cheesecakey bit was vanilla but it was topped with fresh passionfruit and the tang of the fruit complimented the sweetness of the creamy topping bit. 10 points to me for that technical food critic language. Mum had the brownie (which I’ve had before) and she was really impressed. It was rich, gooey and topped with honeycomb icecream.

Vanilla and passionfruit cheesecake

chocolate brownie and icecream

All in all, Banyan Horsforth lived up to every expectation I had, having already been impressed by their Leeds and York branches. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who’s in the area as it’s a perfect setting for pretty much any situation – whether it’s gal time, dinner with your parents or drinks with a date. The restaurant is definitely a great addition to Horsforth and I’m sure it will be a hit with the locals.

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