Zebra & Cognac Tasting Night @ Rare, Leeds

The tasting night was my first visit to Rare Steak House in Leeds, tucked away almost unnoticed in the busy city centre Call Lane area.

I came across the tasting night whilst searching online for an alternative food related present for my friend Fiona. A series of tasting nights were on offer at Rare throughout November, all of which looked tempting. I decided on the Zebra & Cognac night simply because the date worked for us both. 

The upstairs part of the venue was a simple casual bar with wooden decor and lots of candles. We were taken downstairs where around 30 diners were seated along with a large cow in a glass box. I wasn’t sure if it was real or not, it certainly looked it! 

The atmosphere was relaxed and unpretentious, with the friendly staff on hand to show us to our table. 
The menu was enticing with each of the 4 courses being served with a Cognac based drink.    


 The first drink certainly felt like the strongest! It was simply Cognac & Mint with a little sugar syrup & ice (Cognac Julep). This was served along with a Zebra & Truffle Tart: an artichoke crisp canapé topped with thinly sliced Zebra, Truffle & Parsnips, which had a subtle hint of garlic. A delicious appetiser. 

I was still working my way through my Julep when the next drink arrived, Fiona however had polished her drink off! This one was a Cognac twist on one of my favourite cocktails, an Old Fashioned, which is traditionally made with Bourbon.    

The next course soon followed, Zebra Toulouse Sausage. The sausage which resembled more of a meatball, was nicely seasoned and accompanied with broad beans, pancetta, and a light creamy sauce with subtle orange flavours. 
Both my favourite drink and course of the night was to follow: Zebra Roast Dinner with a Cognac Punch (Apple & Ginger). 
The filet of Zebra served with the roast was tender and cooked beautifully to medium rare. Aside from the meat, the star on the plate in this course was the aromatic chutney, with a clove/star anise spice. The ginormous Yorkshire Pudding was also a nice addition. 

You’ll be pleased to know that the desert course did not contain any Zebra, or not that we were aware of anyway! We were served a Morello Cherry Baked Alaska. The ice cream and merriange were nice and light and the sharp cherry finished it off nicely. Our final drink of the meal was a cream based one of cognac white chocolate liqueur & pistachio syrup. 

Throughout the evening, Fiona and I were trying to agree what other type of meat Zebra could be compared too, and it was difficult. Although, being part of the horse family it is a lean meat, for me it had a rich, gamey flavour to it. It has the ability to pair well with various other flavours as demonstrated by the menu. 

For £30 per person, it was definitely worth the money, and a great alternative present or night out. There are some more tasting nights coming up in December, including a Reindeer night (guess this option would depend on how fond of Rudolf you are!). I imagine more will be coming up in the new year. 

Check out Rare’s website for for further details http://www.eatdrinkrare.com

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