Theatre/ food review: The Best of the West End/ All Bar One

By April 2, 2016


After an uplifting West End Overture the Orchestra of Opera North worked with a trio of the singers on the title song from Stephen Sondheim’s Company with the powerful vocals backed by melodically and rhythmically divine orchestration. The supremely talented Michael Xavier then took on Something’s Coming from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story with much dexterity and aplomb. Then it is the turn of Sally Ann Triplett to take the starlight with a wonderful rendition of Don’t Rain on my Parade from Funny Girl in a role immortalised by Barbra Streisand.

Scott Davies really gets into the swing of Luck Be a Lady Tonight from Guys & Dolls, a production of which comes to Leeds Grand in June. Perhaps the most well-known theme of any musical has to be The Sound of Music, a perfect showcase for the serene and sublime vocal talent of Robyn North. This is followed by a brilliant duet by Scott Davies and Michael Xavier who argue their own importance in You’re Nothing without Me from City of Angels.

Sally Ann Triplett returns to the mike to belt out Some People from Gypsy, where the mother hollers her demands at her bullied daughters. In stark contrast Michael Xavier gently croons in pitch perfect  depth of emotion Pure Imagination, where Charlie is invited into the Great Glass Elevator by Willy Wonka, full of childish wonder and innocence. Then Robyn North as rookie Eliza sings I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady, capturing her character perfectly in such a short time.

The show goes on to feature tracks from The Phantom of the Opera, Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight? From The Lion King and a gorgeous duet of My Eyes Adored You. Following a standing ovation from the thrilled spectators the singers formed a quartet for a rendition of a segue from Mamma Mia, relishing every moment of it and with some great improv too. These are singers at the top of their game and, of course, the Orchestra of Opera North showcases them splendidly.

Reviewed by Rich Jevons on 21st Febraury 2016 at Leeds Town Hall as part of the Leeds International Concert Season.

After such a lovely evening at Leeds Town Hall we have arranged to review All Bar One on Millennium Square. There is a large party in but still we get fantastic service in our little nook of a table. We’ve decided to try six of the small plates to make a kind of messy mezze but it is a wonderful sight when it arrives. Beautifully presented and all sizzling hot and fresh this is a dish to die for.

There is the feta and spinach bourek, that consists of four crisp pastry parcels served with chilli tomato jam. Originally from North Africa, these little parcels of pastry are a delicious street food snack. Then both my creative partner and I have a soft spot for slow-cooked pork but what makes it such a revelation here is that it comes with creamed potato, a generous serving of apple topped with vanilla ketchup and daintily arranged pork crackling.

The calamari comes in long strings as opposed to circles and is served with sweet chilli and lime dip, funny how opposite tastes sometimes fit together in this traditional Szechuan special. The chicken skewers are served with parsley & tomato salad and tzatziki in a way familiar in the Middle East, with za’atar a delicious mix of sesame, thyme and sumac.

The king prawns are a generous size and portion and come in garlic & fresh chilli with grilled rosemary focaccia. And a must-have at any Greek mezze has to be houmous, a duo of Red pepper, olive & Pecorino houmous and a traditional houmous served with flatbread and wholemeal pitta. And to finish a totally delicious if decadent Colombian chocolate brownie while I have the more healthy lemon sorbet with gorgeous raspberries too.

TSOTA totally recommend All Bar One both for dining out for two, or, as we could see, a sexy place for parties too. As well as selecting small plates (5 for £25) the way we did there is a wide selection of main dishes (£10 for two courses Mon – Thu 4pm onwards), breakfasts (£6) and light lunches too (£6.50).  A classy venue that still maintains a friendly feel through its service, layout and décor, but most of all a magical menu that leaves you feeling you could be on a Mediterranean cruise with its authenticity and inventiveness.

See for up-to-date details as menus change seasonally. Reviewed by Rich Jevons @richjevons with photography by Holly Spanner @amosquitobite