Short Break - The New Ellington, 23-25a York Place, Leeds.
PUBLISHED: 13:48 13 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:21 20 February 2013
The north isn't lagging in the fashion stakes when it comes to exotic drinks – especially at this boutique hotel. Barbara Waite reports
When it comes to food and drink two of my favourite things are rhubarb - preferably with crumble and custard - and a cool, uplifting gin and tonic.
So a bar with rhubarb gin on its drinks menu has to be my idea of heaven.
The smile grew even wider when I discovered it was a gin bar with dozens of cocktails and brands to chose from all served by an enthusiastic waiter who couldnt resist explaining the ins and outs of a good pre-dinner drink.
A mid-week break with a good friend who lives in Yorkshire led us to the New Ellington Hotel in Leeds. After a day during which we visited the city art gallery and indulged in some retail therapy, a restorative pick-me-up was what the doctor ordered.
We unwound to the sound of modern jazz in the background, taking in the black and white photographs of Duke Ellington (this red-brick building was named after him) as we studied the restaurant menu and drank delicious gin.
This boutique hotel opened at the end of last year and has a modern, stylish feel with squashy leather sofas and subdued lighting in the public rooms which blend seamlessly with the reception desk and its zebra-patterned chairs.
I enjoy city breaks, but I like my hotel to be in a convenient but quiet spot. This one, in the financial district, feels like a hideaway even though its just five minutes walk from the railway station, all the big high street shops and those lovely arcades.
After our aperitif we went down to the basement restaurant, pleasingly laid out with nooks and crannies to give an intimate feel. The food is modern with straightforward options like burgers, steaks and pasta, intermingled with more complex dishes, beautifully presented.
Full marks to the head chef who came out to apologise when we had a quibble over one of the dishes. His attitude was refreshing, and the youthful, and unfailingly helpful staff are one of the big pluses of this hotel.
Upstairs the bedrooms are decorated in muted colours with Egyptian cotton bedlinen, top grade duvets and slatted wooden windows. There was a fancy coffee maker and a pile of magazines.
Prices are very reasonable with rooms from 89, and theres free wi-fi - even wii-fit to work off your dinner - and pre-loaded iPods to borrow.
As I headed back to Lancashire, I read with some glee that rhubarb gin
is what the trendy London socialites are drinking. Some of us are just born trend-setters!
The New Ellington, 23-25a York Place, Leeds. LS1 2EY.
Tel: 0113 204 2150