Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Broomhall Castle - Menstrie (near Stirling, Scotland)



I wanted to book a castle for D's 30th birthday last year, but unfortunately all the castles I'd looked at were hitting the £250 mark per night. This was a little more than I could budget at the time as we were in the process of buying our first house and everything else to put in it too.To make up for a 30th birthday of unpacking boxes I decided that D's 31st was going to be extra special and I planned a trip away to Scotland. I've been to The Highlands before but D hasn't and I just knew he would love it as much as I do. To make sure we saw as much as Scotland as possible we decided to stay in a few locations, it would also break up the long drive from Leeds. On the way back I was debating whether to stay in Edinburgh or Glasgow. I pondered briefly over Stirling. When D saw a picture of the Wallace Monument (he loves Braveheart) it became set in stone that we would stay in Stirling on the way home. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Sociable Folk and The Good Luck Club - Wellington Place, Leeds



If you’re lucky enough to work in Wellington Place then Sociable Folk has probably already been your go to coffee hit for some time. An upcoming area that is undergoing vast (and quick) development it is forming in to quite the forward thinking business district. By this I refer to the grassed areas, deck chairs, the outside seating, the community services, yoga, knitting club and much more. If I was going to set up a business or move my business this would be one of the prime areas I’d look at.

Sociable Folk is a coffee house come café and is currently only open Monday to Friday, unfortunately weekenders haven’t yet found a reason to visit Wellington Place but once they do I expect it will be a nice place for a pre-town pit stop especially if you’re a resident of City Island.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Trinity Kitchen - May/June 2017 Street Food Line Up

This months’ rotation in Trinity Kitchen has to be one of their best line ups yet. Of course this is just my opinion and there are many of my favourites which are not present but there isn’t one place that I would shy away from or not be tempted by in this line up.

So what have you got to look forward to this time?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Chef Zak at Cafe Lulu - Birkenshaw



Birkenshaw. It’s not exactly the place I would associate with gourmet supper clubs and taster menus but last Saturday evening that is where I found myself. In Birkenshaw, in a small café that was open  after hours specifically for a guest chef to come in and serve a gourmet six course Caribbean themed taster menu.

The café in question is Café Lulu, a breakfast and lunch place for locals that are housed in the basement underneath an Indian restaurant. It doesn’t exactly scream gourmet dining experience but I’m interested in unique and different experiences. When we arrived I was and stepped in to their basement and was pleasantly surprised. What greeted me was a very romantic setting of vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, twinkling lights and candle light. Never judge a book by its cover and all that.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Super Lunch Menu at Jamie's Italian - Leeds



I worked out the other day that I haven’t been to Jamie’s Italian for around 7 years. Those 7 years have flown by as I recall when it first opened, the long queues that went down the side of the building on Park Row for people to get in and the hubbub around it opening. It seems a lifetime away and I doubt that a Jamie’s Italian would cause the same excitement 7 years on. So why was it so popular back then? Was Jamie Oliver at the height of his popularity or was there just not that many exciting food places to go in Leeds? I don’t recall Carluccio’s getting the same treatment when they opened on Greek Street (recently closed).

Whatever the reason Jamie’s is still popular with Leeds Folk, perhaps not queueing down Park Row popular but popular enough that you need to book a table on a Friday night or face waiting in the bar for a little while.

Although Jamie’s remains a Firm favourite with weekenders Jamie’s is trying to bring in the mid-weekers with their launch of the new Super Lunch Menu. If you’re on a working lunch you want something speedy, not too heavy and not too pricey. Jamie’s offers 2 courses for £11.95 and three for £13.95, which incidentally is the same deal as Bill’s. So if you fancy something a little lighter (as Bill’s lay on the calories in most of their dishes) or perhaps something a bit more culinary specific i.e. Italian then Jamie’s is a good alternative.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Edison's Coffee - Sheffield



Sheffield is often a city that is overlooked, I feel. It’s strong industrial (steel) heritage has shaped it and nurtured it in to the city it is today but if you’re not from(or live in/near) Sheffield would you choose to go out of your way to eat or drink here?

Speaking to a few friends and colleagues alike they would say no, what does Sheffield have to offer? A few see Sheffield as a student town and with two universities it certainly does have a healthy student population. A few years ago (again my thoughts) Sheffield city centre went through a period of neglect after Meadowhall was built and all focus and footfall was redirected that way. When I was deciding on which university to go, I visited Sheffield and found the city centre very quiet and not a lot of buzz around it, my other comparison being Manchester however.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Le Pain Quotidien - Victoria Gate Leeds



Le Pain Quotidien has restaurants all round the world and in England they have a few restaurants down south. I would deem them fairly well established but they didn’t come to my attention until they landed in Leeds, more specifically Victoria Gate.

Le Pain Quotidien, or 'the daily bread' in English is a Belgian restaurant built on the foundations of a good bakery and serves only organic produce. In Victoria Gate the bakery sits on the ground floor with the restaurant above, for those unaware of its existence I can see how it would be very easy to skip by not realising that upstairs is a beautiful light dining room which is a perfect place to enjoy, breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or possibly a couple glasses of (organic) wine and a charcuterie board.

I urge you to not just skip it by. Le Pain Quotidien is well worth a stop and a look in, let them tempt you upstairs, take a few minutes or hours out of your day to relax and unwind in their charmingly decorated rooms with antique mirrors, ornate flooring and balconies.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Opposite Cafe - Chapel Allerton Leeds



I’ve been to Opposite Café on multiple occasions but never got round to actually blogging about it, which is a massive error on my part because they are wonderful. This post in turn is not about a single experience here but instead a collection of my experiences here.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Giraffe - Manchester Airport Terminal One



Everybody loves going on holiday and if you’re going abroad your holiday usually starts at the airport. Whether it be 4am in the morning or 1pm in the afternoon most people are relaxing their belts and getting in to the holiday spirit.

I’m not one for ‘getting on’ the beer (or bottle of wine as I’ve seen before) at 4am in the morning but I am partial to an airport breakfast/brunch. Leeds airport is wank for this. Sorry for the rather uncouth language, but it sums it up quite perfectly to me. The breakfast options are limited and those that are available are expensive and quite frankly a rip off for the amount of food they serve you.

Manchester is a different story, depending on your terminal. Terminal one in Manchester airport is the closest us Northerners are going to get to Heathrow (which blows your mind if you’ve only ever been to Leeds airport). There are more shops that just Boots the Chemist and there are more food options than Burger King and the Airport’s own attempts at restauranteering. You won’t find many independents but you will find Giraffe.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Yo! Sushi - New Menu



Yo! Sushi isn't just about raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed, if you had asked me a few years ago I would have thought it was. Others still think it is.

So what else does Yo! Sushi have to offer? Firstly there are plenty of vegetarian options, in the traditional sushi sense i.e. pieces of vegetable wrapped in rice and seaweed and in small hot dishes such as noodles. Not only are there hot small vegetarian dishes but there are also meat and fish dishes that come hot too, such as tempura prawns, yaki soba and chicken katsu curry. On top of all this you can get larger bowls of ramen and bento boxes for lunch.

I wrote about Yo! Sushi when it first opened in Trinity Leeds, it was my first experience of Yo! Sushi but it wasn't my last. As with most chain restaurants I had found myself in a rut, I knew what I liked and so I kept ordering the same time and time again. When Yo! Sushi invited me to come and try out their new menu it felt like a good opportunity to try and get me out my rut.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Pride and Produce - Garforth, Leeds

I grew up in Garforth (or G-Town as we called it as 'cool' teens) and to be honest there was never anything that exciting happening, not in food terms anyway. The most popular places to eat in Garforth include an Italian restaurant, the Aagrah Indian restaurant and a Miller and Carter Steakhouse/Pub, which I think may give you some insight in to its culinary offerings.

When I started this blog (in 2011) I was still living Garforth and I tried to review some of the places on offer as objectively as I could but I was never going to find the same standards of restaurants (cafes/coffee etc) as what I could in the city centre. However, when I moved away (typically) things began to change. Garforth got it's first latte art in the form of Cielo, the French bakery started to become more well known, the Italian expanded (not sure if this contributed but worth noting) and one of the many bakeries was replaced with a deli. A deli! How exotic for humble Garforth!

Pride and Produce moved in to town and brought with it avocado on toast, American style pancakes, locally sourced products and an evening bistro. There may be some in town who look on at it wearily and if you are a Garforthite and are still doing this, I urge you not to. Surprise yourself.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Revolucion De Cuba - Bottomless Brunch - Leeds



Prior to visiting Revolucion De Cuba (RDC) I was a bottomless brunch virgin. I've seen it gradually creep up the country from London Town and watched it grow in popularity in the North with more and more establishments jumping on the bandwaggon. When it comes to all you can eat I've never been a fan, mainly because I struggle to get my money's worth. I'm simply not as greedy as my belly thinks I am.

As brunch is almost certainly my favourite meal (it's a shame that it has to be restricted to weekends only, damn you full time job) it was almost a certified bet that I was going to eventually be bottomless brunching. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

200 Degrees - Barista School - Leeds



If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen my pitiful attempts at Latte Art, they are hardly masterpieces and more often than not replicate the sort of view you would see on a psychologists ink blot test.

Admittedly I have attended a barista class before now at Layne’s but Latte Art was a separate class to be followed by the initial introduction, so I struggled on. Always eager to more and thrilled to know that 200 Degrees' barista class included an introduction to Latte Art I gladly accepted an invitation to try them out. There are some overlaps between the introductory classes from Laynes and 200 Degrees however the latter structure their courses a little differently. There is still an introduction on bean-to-cup with additional classes marketed at intermediate and advanced. Despite not going in to as much details as my first class with Laynes I can see the benefit of structuring it in this way, if you're a complete novice and know zero zilch about coffee 200 degrees' introductory course would aimed at the correct level for you.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Norse - Harrogate



Norse has been on my ever growing list of places to visit for sometime, unfortunately I rarely make it to Harrogate and it's a shame because there are some great places to visit in this old Yorkshire Spa Town. As with many tourist hub places there are a lot of chains, something which the local residents have been commenting on recently, however if you do your research you'll find some great independents. To take some of the effort out of that research I present to you Norse.

Norse is very on-trend with their concept, I along with many of the masses are fully embracing Nordic and Scandinavian fashion. This embrace extends past food to my house and my clothing. No I'm not just shopping at Ikea because I've only recently bought a house and therefore too skint to buy from anywhere else (although this is partly the case), I like the combination of simple designs with vintage or 'retro' and this also fits in well with our own style and tastes. Anyway, this isn't a blog about home design it's about food.