Friday, 27 February 2015

Leeds takeaways - A mop up

The first post in a series of 'mop-ups' that I will be writing in an attempt to round up some half finished drafts, it's-really-not-worth-a-full-review, and general places I have visited but not blogged about. I bring to you in this post Leeds takeaways, mainly in North and West Leeds.

I've been back in the LS postcode for just over a year now and in that year I have been astonished with the number of takeaways available to me, this is exacerbated by the fact that all takeaways in Harehills and Headingley (where an unbalanced ratio of Leeds' takeaways lie) deliver to my address. 

In the search for the best pizza, curry, Chinese and something a little bit different I've tried some rotters and also some pretty decent places too. But mainly rotters, as is the takeaway game. 

Sicily's - LS12 

A Just-Eat experiment to find the perfect cheap pizza and chips, added extras are a bonus. I ordered a thin pepperoni pizza with added olives, chips, hummus and mozzarella sticks. They also sell kebabs, burgers, parmos, fried chicken, desserts and milkshakes. The appeal to order from here was the ratings on the website and also the fact that they didn't also try to sell curry alongside pizza like many of the places you can order from on Just-Eat.

The pizza was bland, the chips cold, sloppy hummus and the mozzarella sticks had melted and reformed. I haven't ordered from here more than once.

Moorish Feast (formally Cuisine) - LS12

One of the first takeaways I ordered on my return to Leeds after getting extremely excited that I could order olives and hummus to be delivered to my door! Moorish was also recommended to by the lovely people of twitter. I ordered hummus, olives, pitta, chips and a pepperoni pizza. They also sell tagines, couscous, mezzes and curries.

The olives and hummus were great, the pitta I shouldn't have ordered it was unnecessary, the chips were disappointingly soggy and flat, the pizza was great crispy and full of flavour. I've got Moorish on the hit again list to try out their tagines.

Casa Mia - LS7 

Casa Mia established in 1998 used to have two restaurants in Chapel Allerton and also tried a stint in Millenium square. I've had a mixed response from others as to whether they like them or not, but they must have a following to have been around for 17 years now. I had my first taste of Casa Mia in Chapel Allerton when I was half cut and spiralling and loved it. Fast forward a few years and I've been back twice (to Millenium square now closed) and I won't be returning. I've had things added to the bill that I didn't order on both occasions and been treated like a thief when pointing this out... I decided to give them a second chance by ordering from their takeaway service, the tipping being antipasto delivered to my door.

I shouldn't have gotten so excited by that anitpasto... although massive in size the fish that was served with it has clearly been in the with the rest of it so long that EVERYTHING tasted of fish. Fishy olives. Fishy ham. Fishy peppers. Fishy artichoke. FISH.

The pizza was extremely small and I paid £6 for it to be delivered to me uncut, with all the toppings on one side as it had slid inside the box. The chips were served in a metal container which made them sweat. Nice.

Casa Mia on Urbanspoon

Mr Nice Guys - LS7 

Most people in Leeds know the back story of Mr Nice Guys by now, I tried out their takeaway service before they opened 'The Joint' their first restaurant. The waiting times are ridiculously long but this is because they are so ridiculously popular. Top tip - order outside of university term times as it reduces the waiting time by about half an hour.

I was hugely excited to order a decent burger from a takeaway, I haven't ordered a burger from a takeaway since I was student, a horrendously drunk student. They also sell CAKE! Takeaway cake!! What an amazing time to be alive when you can have cake delivered to your door.

I've ordered from Mr Nice Guys a couple of times now and haven't been disappointed, full to the point I'm almost sick yes, disappointed no. In the top left hand corner you can see their chilli cheese fries - pure over indulgence. The burgers are nice and naughty burgers, the cake is a Daim bar cake! They also sell a range of American treats such as grape Fanta. 

Canton flavour - LS8 

Not to be confused with the same named place in Garforth (which I blogged about here), although you wouldn't be foolish to think they are one and the same. The dishes are so similar in appearance and quality it surprised me to find that they were independent of each other. It's my local Chinese takeaway, they don't deliver and they are more highly priced than some of the others in the area but the quality is always there.

Sorry no picture! 

Papa John's - LS7 

Dominoes' rivals have finally made it up North, I've heard about this place previously from my southern friends and was intrigued to try them. They are ever so slightly cheaper than Dominoes but still more expensive than most of the local pizza takeaways, at the time of writing they don't currently deliver in Leeds and so we have had to collect both times we have visited.

Believe it or not the two pizzas below are different, once is a spicy Italian and the other is sausage and pepperoni. The pizzas also come with a chilli in the corner of the box... I think I prefer the dominoes dip in the corner of the box... actually I think I prefer Dominoes pizzas.

Fry Days - LS8 

A chip shop that delivers? Madness. I haven't ordered for them to deliver so I can't comment on waiting times. Yes I got off my bum and walked to the chippy on these occasions. I've order the fish, it's very expensive, the second time being my last ever as the fish tasted 'off' and put me 'off' for life. I did take a picture somewhere along the way of the fish and chips but now all I can find is this picture of a chip buttie.

Gianni's - LS9 

I remember very little about this takeaway, which is odd for me as pictures usually bring back memories. All I can therefore state about this takeaway is that it wasn't very memorable.

From doing this round up/mop up it's become clear to me that I have my set favourites! Those being mozzarella sticks, pizza and chips! Rule of thumb for me is to order my 'regular' and if somewhere can do that well then experiment with other items on the menu. I think you can always judge somewhere by how well they do your favourite.

There are a few places missing but I'm sure you'll cope with the not knowing.

I have managed to blog about a few takeaways in Leeds over the last year below is a link to the full post if you want to find out more. (I promise they're not all sponsored, well actually most of them are).

Oriental Cantonese - LS7 

"Hopes weren't high when the pancakes came in a plastic bag, the duck wasn't quite 'ducky' enough for me but it made an okay wrap with the plum sauce and veg."

Aarti - LS8 

"A relatively dry curry it was packed full of flavour, and at my request it came medium spiced. Not too hot not too mild, it left a warm after feeling dancing around my tongue and inner cheeks. (£7.95) Not the best Karahi I've had (you'll find that in a takeaway in Saltaire) but it's close"

Saffron - LS8 

"Mine was a dryer curry but spicier, consisted of just chicken but had more flavour. That wasn't to say that D's was poor, it wasn't, I just preferred my own."

Grove Cafe - LS6

"I struggled to tell which was the salami and which was the pepperoni, an indication of the quality of each. The base was crispy and not laden with grease."

The Pizza House Company - LS17 

"We ordered a few sides to accompany our pizzas, your standard sides or chips, coleslaw and mozzarella dippers. The mozzarella dippers were fab, we couldn't get enough of them and the coleslaw was a massive portion which I mainly left to A to work her way through. The chips? I have no idea they didn't turn up."

Monday, 23 February 2015

My Thai - Leeds

My Thai is flavour of the month with the local food bloggers. Naturally I had to go and see what all the fuss is about. 

Situated on the outside of the Merrion centre on Wade Lane it's next door neighbour is Fuji Hiro, whether they are friendly neighbours... I'm unsure. If I was a leading seller of noodles in Leeds city centre I'm not so sure I'd be too impressed with a new cute noodle neighbour moving in next door. 

When I describe it as cute I'm referring to the decor and its size. The picture above is taken from the side wall of the restaurant giving it a full panorama sweep. The minuscule size of this place makes it feel cozy but not cramped, with lights twinkling above you. Even the wooden cladded walls make it feel a little more authentic rather than an ageing 1970s smoking room. 

We were VERY lucky to just walk in and grab a table at 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening. We took the last two seater table, people were queueing and waiting for tables the whole time we were there. A word of warning, the largest table they can serve is a table of 6. 

We were handed a couple of Thai beers almost immediately and given some menus. (£3 a bottle)

With everything so cheap, starters ranging from £1-2 and mains £6.50 or £7.70 dependent on meat, we ordered three starters between the two of us. My gluttony getting the better of me once again.

The first of our trio of starters was the pork dumplings in soy sauce (£1.50), which consist of 4 small tiny dumplings, I'd say the size of a large cherry tomato. They were beautiful. For such little morsels of food they are packed with flavour. The porkiness hadn't dissipated with the steaming. 

The second of the trio arrived shortly afterwards - Veg spring rolls with sweet chilli dip (£1.50). Crispy on the outside, substantial in size, providing a comforting feeling with each bite. The sweet chilli dip.. authentic or out of a bottle I'm not so sure... 

Almost immediately followed the chicken satay (£2). This was on par with some of the satay I've (or D's) paid for in a high end restaurant, probably paying almost five times the price. There was no skimping on the satay sauce and it managed to stay stuck to the stick long enough for it not to fall in to my lap, but not welded to it so that I almost ended up almost eating the stick too. It's also far better than their neighbours... 

We hadn't finished our starters when our mains arrived. We then felt rushed in to eating our starters, I'm not sure if this was just poor planning or whether they were trying to free up space. I didn't note anyone else around me having this issue. 

D and I have now merged in to this strange couple hybrid where we now both fancy exactly the same thing... we managed this time to agree to chose different things but as you will note they are VERY similar. Oops. 

D ordered Pattaya Pad See Ew with chicken (above - £6.50). Translation: egg, flat rice noodles, vegetables and chicken (but you got the last bit). 

My choice was the Bangkok pad thai (£6.50). Translation: egg, medium rice noodles, beansprouts, tofu. Not sure all these ingredients were present but there was a more prominent egg than that in D's and I'm pretty sure that was peanut on top not tofu. Nethertheless I loved my dish. It was incredibly filling, the bowl above was actually very deep and I had to get D to finish off the rest of it for me. 

As you're sat in the same room as the kitchen you can see everything being cooked from where you sit (unless you have your back turned towards it, unless you have Alien super powers). With this I was a little disappointed to see a couple of chefs in the back banging apart some frozen spring rolls, I'm hoping they were home-made then frozen... I'm trying to be optimistic**. If you have a sensitive chest the smokey chilli frying away can irk it a little  but it's not too bad. i.e. it wasn't as bad as the time D smoked his flat out whilst trying to make nando sauce covered kebabs for me in the griddle pan... We were both coughing for a week. I digress... 

The total bill for two people came to £24. An absolute steal! I was immensly stuffed and very pleased with what I had eaten. It was a perfect pre-cinema treat and I've already been planning what I am going to have the next time I visit. 

I've struggled to find the website that isn't in reference to their Bradford joint - of which the menu seems to be quite different, tasting menus and a la carte is not the same menu I witnessed here. So here's a link to their facebook instead. If you want to have a look at their menu Diane over at 'A Tale Of Two Sittings' has a picture of it on her post here 

**I have since been reassured by the chef that they are homemade and then frozen, and thankfully not bought in. They are made in large batches each week and frozen so the skin doesn't explode when fried! Who knew spring rolls could explode! I wouldn't like to be around when that happened. It's nice that they took the time to read my post and get in contact with me too, it's made me like My Thai more and even more inclined to go back! 

pssst.. they also do takeaway too!!

My Thai on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Tostada with Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken and Avocado

When I try a new dish in a restaurant and love it I can't wait to replicate it myself at home. It's one of the reasons why I love eating out so much. Restaurants introduce you to  new ingredients, recipes, dishes, cuisines and more. There is also a certain euphoria that comes with making something delicious. Whether you've followed a recipe or not, having the end product in your mouth and it taste pretty damn amazing is... well... it's a pretty damn amazing.

I adore Mexican food. I love ALL the flavours. I love the spice. I don't know anyone who doesn't like Mexican food.

I like chicken. It's versatile. It's readily available. It can become a bit boring.

This chicken dish is not boring.

I've taken the best cooking technique and applied it to chicken. Slow cooking.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Mexican Pilgrim - Street Food - Leeds

One Wednesday in February that had no particular relevance or joy about it,  I went on a mini cheddar mission on my lunch break. I found no mini cheddars in the micro supermarkets near where I work and I ended up walking past a Mexican street food van THREE times. I could take no more of its sweet sweet  smokey smokey mouth watering smells and I lamented and joined the queue.

The Mexican Pilgrim has migrated from some industrial estate in Cross Green to the corner (Triangle) of East Parade, just outside Blackhouse. Cue lots of men in suits queuing up to get a good Mexican mouthful.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Market Wraps - Street Food - Leeds

Market Wraps, if you haven't heard of them, are a Yorkshire based street food producer.

Where you can find them: 

Leeds farmer's market on Briggate in Leeds city centre every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month. 

There are also plans for them to attend the new Dock Street Market at the Royal Armouries each month. 

Brandon Street night market in Armley on the last Friday of every month 

Brighouse food and craft market on the last Saturday in April, the last weekend in August and the last weekend in November. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Oriental Cantonese - Meanwood, Leeds

As the Chinese New Year is approaching I was asked by Hungry House to review a local Chinese takeaway in parallel with their interactive guide to create your own Chinese Feast. The chosen takeaway was a place I had never ordered from before, as I already have my set favourite in Roundhay, but willing to try somewhere different I agreed to try out Oriental Cantonese in Meanwood. 

I tried to order a good variety of dishes as well as my personal favourites. Rest assured D and I as well as two housemates and a housemate boyfriend did not manage to eat all of the dishes featured in this post in one night. It was a feast beyond proportion as the dishes were so cheap! 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Ecco Pizzeria - Headingley, Leeds

Myself, D and some other local food bloggers were invited along to sample some of Ecco's pizzas as well as bear witness to a live pizza making demonstration. 

Ecco Pizzeria is one of the places on my ever growing hit list (I'd need to eat out twice a week for a year to hit everywhere on that list), so needless to say I was very excited and joyed that they had invited me along. 

We were given a brief history of the foundations of the pizzeria, the chefs were Neapolitans, they had been to Naples to do extensive research (if anyone else is embarking on some pizza research in Italy feel free to tag me along), and they were certified Neapolitan pizzas by the Associazione Verace Napoletana. Apparently it is now a heritage food (the first that's been brought to my attention - maybe we could certify the Roast Dinner or the Yorkshire Pudding?) and the certification means that it has to be prepared in line with particular requirements such as the type of flour, the type of cheese, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil must be used. In addition to this all ingredients have to be natural and fresh, and the baking time of the pizza must not exceed 90 seconds within the stone wood fire oven. There are definitely some pretty passionate pizza people out there. 

We all gathered round to watch the live demonstration by the authentic Neapolitan chefs and I barely had time to get my camera out before he was popping the toppings on and then shovelling it in to the oven. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

A Tearoom Somewhere in Yorkshire.

I've decided not to name and shame this particular tearoom, for reasons which you will see shortly, but I wanted to share this experience nevertheless. Mainly to show you how ridiculous businesses can be. 

Searching for brunch one early afternoon in Yorkshire, D and I stumbled across a tearoom that advertised out front that they were serving bacon sandwiches, tea and the mornings papers for £4. D had bacon eyes that day so it seemed perfect. I always love a good tearoom. 

Climbing two flights of stairs above an empty (of customers) shop we found ourselves in the smallest of small Tearooms that only had 5 tables which could seat 14 people at a time (at a squeeze).

Luckily there was an empty table by the window and we gladly sat down and moved the last persons empties to the side. The sun was shining through the window, fresh flowers were on the table, 40s music was playing and bacon was on the menu. Hopes were high. 

Monday, 2 February 2015

Bundobust - New Dishes!

A short post just to let you know about the new dishes that are now available at Bundobust.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Man Behind The Curtain - Leeds

The Man Behind The Curtain rose in to my consciousness around a year ago, with amazing pictures of pieces of art on a plate. One by one bloggers have been striking it off their wish list and finally my time came last weekend, as a surprise birthday treat.

As we approached the darkened doors of Flannels a suited man opened the door pronouncing our name with confidence, it becomes clear that this place is all about the experience. 

Many reviewers have shown distaste to this entrance, stating they found it almost seedy to creep around in a darkened deserted store. If I'm going to be honest, in which I always try to be, I found it quite curious and a little bit exciting, like we were a part of some privileged elite who were invited to dance the floorboards after dark. 

We were greeted as we walked out of the lift and told we would be seated in the bar area until our table was ready. I think this was more a prelude stage that everyone goes through rather than them being disorganised and not having our table ready, we were one of the first bookings of the night after all. We were handed a drinks menu to thumb through whilst we sat awkwardly around a tiny metal netted table. Before we could even decide upon a drink we were handed our first bite and insight in to what the night might hold for us.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Bridge Tavern - Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne or as it is more commonly referred to, Newcastle, is a city I have only briefly seen from the window of a train. I was long overdue a visit. 

I'm not entirely sure that Newcastle is known for its food culture, it's football, loud and scantily clad women, Geordie accents and impressive bridges yes. From what I can gather the food scene is on the way up like most Northern cities, no longer are good eateries confined to that London place. Like many major cities you'll find a lot of chain restaurants decorating the main streets but tucked away down the quayside, chares (small streets) and less obvious walkways you'll find a range of different independents and some upcoming or well-known chef eateries (NB this doesn't include Jamie's Italian which is right up there in central position with the rest of the chains).

It was only a matter of time before I visited Newcastle as the chap is fond of the ol' football and despite coming from Leeds is an NUFC fan. I did a fair bit of research before we visited so not to end up eating somewhere too disappointing, and I've found a fair few Newcastle bloggers in the process too, which is always going to be handy for any upcoming visits (of which I am sure there will be plenty more). 

Quite a few places were recommended to me by some locals. I really wanted something that we didn't have in Leeds, for instance an overindulging burger place or a chain. Amongst the recommendations were a sausage restaurant and the Broad Chare. Whilst reading through some blogs I stumbled across The Bridge Tavern. Its menu seemed very similar to The Broad Chare... but a few quid cheaper and featuring a micro brewery. On this occasion The Bridge Tavern won and it became our choice of pre-match grub. I've since read that the chef from Broad Chare has migrated to The Bridge Tavern so this could explain the similar offerings. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Shears Yard - Leeds

I've been staring at a blank blog post for so long my computer screen just turned off.

I'm apprehensive about writing this post.

Shears Yard is loved by most of the Leeds food circle. If not all. Well no, not all.

Please don't send the masses to lynch me.

I just feel that maybe I'm missing something?

I suppose the best way to start this post is to begin like I always do...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Beat the January Blues with great restaurant discounts!

Here's me looking cold and blue 

Each January restaurants see a lull as the masses go on diets, stop spending and generally sit at home out of the cold.

Each January I'm seeing more and more restaurants offering January specific discounts. So take a break from the diet, benefit from the discount and get out of the house!

Below you will find all that I can find in terms of January discounts for Leeds. If I have missed any please feel free to comment below and I will add it to the list.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Blue Bell Inn - Belchford, Horncastle

The Blue Bell Inn is an AA recommended pub, features in the good pub guide, appears in the Michelin 'eating out in pubs' guide as well as being praised by the locals. Must be good right? Right. 

Situated in the Lincolnshire Wolds and dating back to the 18th Century, The Blue Bell Inn is a relatively small pub that serves the locals and hikers (it falls along the Viking Way a hot spot for history walkers). They aren't muddy boots friendly however and politely request they are left in the lobby. 

The pub itself serves a standard range of spirits, wines and lagers as well as two to three guest ales on tap. The relaxed nature of the pub is that you can chose to sit in the pub and enjoy a pint by the fire, you can eat in the pub or in the dining room. Both times I have visited we have eaten in the less formal pub area rather than the dining room. 

The menu is constantly changing depending on season and availability of local produce, so what you see on the website may be slightly different to what they are serving on any one particular night. The menu is displayed on a blackboard in the main bar area and if required a printed menu can be handed to you and they will update you with any changes.