Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Lock Kitchen and Bar - Doubletree Hilton - Leeds



Hotel restaurants can be hit and miss, some do it very well, some do it very badly and some play it safe. The Lock at The Hilton Doubletree in Leeds is, in my opinion, the latter.

The Doubletree in Leeds benefits from a very advantageous spot in the city, it has great views over the city from its rooms and it is situated beside the canal. It is fair to say it’s in one of the quieter parts of the city, if you stay at Park Plaza or The Marriott you won’t find a setting quite as tranquil. Don’t get me wrong in the evenings The Granary Wharf area livens up, and with lots of bars and restaurants around it can make for a rather good night, with slightly less of the crowds. The Lock has a relatively big outdoor area (for the city centre) which is nestled next to, you guessed it, the canal locks. This attracts guests of the hotel and locals alike.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Tambourine Cafe - Saltaire




Tambourine café is a new independent coffee shop in Saltaire. It serves artisan coffee from local suppliers and roasters in Leeds and Saltaire. On the day I visited I had a cup of North Star’s House blend, served to me perfectly by the hosts and with the all-important Instagram worthy latte art.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Tharavadu Express Lunch - Leeds


I’ve written about Tharavadu before, I’ve been many many times since my first visit and I’ve been a few times for lunch too! Once of the advantages of going to Tharavadu is that you can book through their online system and as a bonus it’s not a bad price, especially for the amount of food you get.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The North Star Coffee Shop - Leeds Dock





North Star Coffee has been on the coffee scene for around 4 years now, you may have noticed their bags of coffee in your local coffee-shop, and you may well have even have drank a cup. North Star was the first independent roastery based in Leeds. They work with suppliers all over the world to source the best beans for your cuppa. They use the right type of beans, Arabica, and have strict ethical guidelines about how and who they import from. Here’s an extract from their website:

“Quality and ethics are at the heart of everything we do, we work with both our origin and wholesale partners to continue a positive cycle of re-investment, innovation and sustainability in an effort to guarantee the supply of outstanding coffee for many years to come.”

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Sky Lounge (Doubletree Hilton) Brunch – Leeds



The Sky Lounge in Leeds is a notorious hotspot for cocktails on a summer’s evening. It has a stunning uninterrupted view over the south of Leeds and is considered the place to go when you’re dressed up to the nines. Admittedly, I had never visited Sky Lounge on an evening nor during the day, I’ve seen plenty of pictures of the Sky Line and I’ve heard the cocktails were rather good. Whilst staying at the Hilton I decided to pop upstairs to see what all the fuss was about before we headed out in to town to dance away the night.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Trinity Kitchen - July/August 2017 Street Food Line Up



The new Trinity Kitchen line up sees the return of a few loved street vans and the introduction of some new faces to Leeds. It never fails to amaze me how many street food vendors we have in the UK now!

So what can you expect from the July-August rotation?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Prashad - Drighlington




I knew I’d love Prashad before I had even stepped foot in their restaurant in Drighlinton. I’ve visited their love child, Bundobust, (the other parent being the CAMRA pub The Sparrow in Bradford) on many occasions. It’s fair to say Bundobust is one of my favourite places to go in Leeds’ City Centre. I also own both of the Prashad cook books. D and I love cooking and eating the recipes in these books and have our firm favourites, I’m looking forward to book number three (hint hint).

Prashad was formerly in the heart of Bradford, but after the fame of ‘Gordon Ramsay’s Best British Restaurant’ series, they found themselves needing a much larger place to house their new found fan club. Drighlington isn’t the first place you’d think of for a night out, aside from Prashad there doesn’t seem to be much else there, except from a couple of pubs and a main road (that all the boy racers love to drive down with their large exhausts blaring out between Bradford and Leeds). I guess that’s why it’s taken me so long to visit, which is silly really as it’s only 25 minutes in the car from North Leeds.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Plum & Partridge - Husthwaite, North Yorkshire



Husthwaite is a small village on the outskirts of The North Yorkshire Moors, it's a historic village with buildings dating from the 12th century, it's no wonder that it's a conservation area. Over the years the building which houses the Plum & Partridge has undergone many a refurb, with many a new owner and many a different theme. It's gone from pub, to tapas restaurant, to pub again with others in between. At the end of March 2017 it opened this time as The Plum & Partridge, a small guest house, pub and restaurant.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Ground House - Stirling (Scotland)



Stirling is a beautiful city. It's full of old buildings, cobbled streets, castles, monuments and you can see The Highlands on the horizon when you climb up high. It's a small city in comparison to some of the cities in England and definitely in comparison to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Stirling was the capital city of Scotland way way back in the past, it's often referred to as the ancient capital of Scotland, which will give you an idea of how long ago that was. Since then in terms of culinary offerings Glasgow and Edinburgh have far surpassed as they have done in size and population. Stirling seems to have quite a few tearooms and the odd chain restaurant thrown in there. I feel that I was lucky on my last visit to Scotland to happen upon a Henderson's Bistro, which was literally opposite to where we had parked. This time I struggled to find somewhere that grabbed my fancy for lunch. Due to it's historical connections it has a lot of tourists (namely Chinese/Japanese/Americans) and I was reluctant to fall in to a tourist trap. Local blogs, websites and (in desperation) Tripadvisor was of no use and so I would have to use the old method of happening upon a place to eat as I passed on the street. Shock. Horror. 

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.