Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Griffin - Leeds, Boar Lane: Christmas Dinner

The work Christmas party. Does it really need an introduction? Drunken debauchery, bad dad dancing, pissed promises of promotions, corporate secret slipping... And the ever fated bad Christmas dinner. 

Does it always have to be bad? I've eaten a few corporate Christmas dinners now, ranging from the traditional Turkey dinner to the not so traditional duck leg. Some have been good, some have been bad but none have been great, fantastic, something to rave about. 

Surely restaurants/hotels must see the benefits of doing corporate Christmas dinners right? You've got at least 8 (in my experience) people sitting down to eat (most likely with some forceful peer pressure to attend). Lay before them a feast to behold, something that really excites and wows them and will they not return to see what the rest of the menu tastes like? 

I get that restaurants may buckle under the strain of producing 15 meals of varying different dishes all at the same time. Then again they always take your order in advance of the night too.. From where I'm sitting I can't see any excuses for it to be a poor meal.

I realise some people may frown upon me reviewing my work Christmas dinner, or perhaps think it's a step too far and I am now too wholly consumed by blogging that I now must blog about everything single meal I eat out (I don't). However, by taking pictures of my food at the table it helped stem conversation with people I had not previously spoken to in great depth, I found more people similar to myself who have a passion for food. I found out a colleague owns a chain of pubs in York, and we debated over the ethics of trip adviser and the damage bad reviews can do to a business. 

To me, this turned out to be a very good idea. So now, I guess, I have to follow it up. 

The Griffin is owned by the pub chain Taylor Walker. A quick check on their website and the Griffin seems to be their first in Leeds and I hadn't visited one previously so it was a mystery as to what it would behold for us.. 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Tharavadu - Leeds City Centre

Curry houses in Leeds city centre, to me, have always been a bit of a let down. The menus tend to be the same where ever you go, tikkas, baltis, bhunas etc. They are often full of 'lads' being 'lads' or office workers on a Friday night who have had a few after work and now need something to fill their bellies. The food is made to please the masses with little care or attention taken to make the dishes actually taste different and distincive, if you exclude the spice ratings and meat options (some times not even the latter). 

In this respect Tharavadu is a breath of fresh air. It brings something to Leeds that you'd usually have to travel to neighbouring Bradford to find. With typically unheard of dishes, it moves away from the 'traditional British curry' and instead presents to us a true reflection of what food is like in South India along the Karalan coast line (I presume). It shows us what a dosa should be like. It shows us what else there is out there other than a chicken bhuna/balti/tikka masala. It shows us true passion in it's food. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Aarti - Roundhay, Leeds

Once upon a time Aarti used to be a restaurant in the old police station of Chapel Allerton but last year they closed and then a moth later moved to Roundhay. Admittedly I never visited their previous restaurant but it appears that many have, and they had quite a following. A short conversation with a lovely woman in the Roundhay restaurant we found her disappointment that the delay and move had unfortunately lost them some loyal customers who were not aware of their new premises. I myself only found out recently that there was an Indian restaurant on Street Lane and I've lived here a year now. In fact when I first noticed it I thought it was just a takeaway and it was only after going to collect my takeaway last weekend that I found out there was a tiny restaurant inside! 

Aarti has a relatively small menu featuring Punjabi and South Indian food, this appealed to me as too many Indian restaurants/takeawats serve too wide a choice, it makes it impossible to choose and you're left wondering how they can keep up the quality for over 40 dishes. They also sell dosas, chat and a large range of vegetarian options. This is not your standard Indian restaurant/takeaway. 

The White Hart - Pool in Wharfedale

The White Hart is a pub that lies on the side of the road as you drive through Pool in Wharfedale. A chain pub, of which their website is secretive of, I'm told it is linked to the Deer Park in Roundhay. The general feel is that of old country pub with posh country furnishings. There are open fires and tartan draped all over the place.

A group of four we went along for dinner one Saturday evening. We booked ahead and it was a good job we did as they were full to capacity when we arrived. We were shown down a small number of steps to a table at the bottom of them. The dining room was filled with as many tables as possible with many larger groups and older families. Sitting on the corner I ducked each time someone came along with plates fearing a gravy on my head or worse a black eye. 

The menu is fairly simple with a number of 'gastro pub' dishes which I believe changed seasonally. Most of the specials menu contained fish. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Distrikt - Leeds City Centre

I last visited Distrikt in February 2013 recalling that I rather liked the food I decide to pop in again on a Wednesday for their half price tapas offer.

Ever the place of impossible secretive photos (read: taking photos without glaring everyone with your flash so instead come out dark and pink) I apologise again for the photo quality of this post.

They advertise their food to be fresh and local, therefore you'd expect a few seasonal changes with the favourites generally remaining.

We were given menus and told that only a few dishes were half price, this didn't include patatas bravas or olives as these were listed under bar snacks...

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cabana - Leeds

"Her name was Lola, she was a show girl, with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there."

Have you ever listened to the lyrics of Copacabana? It starts off so happy with a showgirl and a guy who works behind the bar... And then it ends with her drinking herself in to despair with faded yellow feathers in her hair. 

It's not the name of the song that is so fitting for Cabana but also the lyrics. Starting off so happy and promising, drinks flowing and smiles. Ending despairingly as you look at the bill and almost, like Lola, lose your mind. 


Time to eat humble pie.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue comes to Leeds - A Sneak Preview

Cabana has finally reached out of the big smoke and landed in to the laps of Leeds.

With the emergence of all you can eat Brasilian Barbecues it's nice to find somewhere that wants to serve... well Brazilian barbecue but this time will no green and red paddles or £40 per head bills. (Unless you order a ton of sides).

I was lucky enough to be invited to their sneak preview the night before they opened. A very well put together event, it certainly put many others I have been to to shame. The place wasn't overly crowded and there was plenty of food and drink to go around. I left having only eaten canapes feeling trouser tight full and slight tipsy from the amount of Brazilian beer and cocktails that was placed before me.

Pinche Pinche - Leeds - New Tapas Menu

Pinche Pinche has stood firmly on the streets of Chapel Allerton for around 7 years now, before that there was another Mexican restaurant, before that I have no idea. There aren't many Mexican restaurants in Leeds (when you compare to burger joints and Italians) and being a lover of Mexican food I can't quite understand why, although I guess it might be because they all sell the same (give or take) food. Burritos, Fajitas, Enchiladas, nachos, chilli con carne... There is nothing wrong with any of these foods, but they are pretty easy to replicate at home.

The owner's passion for Mexican food has led them to take a daring step forward and offer the people of Leeds something a little different. Yes, there are other Mexican restaurants doing tapas style menus, but you will struggle to find them outside London, and if you do find them in Yorkshire I bet they don't have the same things on the menu as they do here. This is no longer a run of the mill Mexican restaurant, they have something to shout about, something that makes them different, something you may struggle to make yourself at home. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Manahatta - Northern Quarter Leeds - A Sneak Preview

With the ever growing popularity of the Northern Quarter of Leeds here comes another new bar from Arc Inspirations.

Manahatta takes part of what was the former Gatecrasher club, the part it takes is the downstairs and then it extends down Merrion Street. It's designed to be parallel to bars found in New York with speak-easy vibes and
straight-lined designs.

The food (I'm told) tries to gauge the cosmopolitan culture of New York, American burgers, Chinese influenced pork, Indonesian chicken skewers, subs, salads, lobster Mac and cheese...

Hats off to the owner and the PR agency, with a pick up in a real NYC yellow cab and a background (almost CV like) introduction from owner on how he started out to where he is now.. I'm now leaning on the more favourable side of Arc Inspirations. A local chain - if you like - the owner is down to Earth, honest and let's be fair they must be doing something right to open another bar/restaurant.

Here's a photo blog of what you could expect should you take a visit.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Solita - Manchester

Solita has appeared in national newspapers recommending them as one of the top places to grab a burger, in these burgersplosive times this is some feat. I had visited Solita before this visit, I'd say around 18 months ago, before we went burger mental up north. 

Solita is well known to the food bloggers of Manchester and to many in Leeds too. Their famous burgers managing to make an impact across the pennies is certainly something to pay attention to. 

So what is all the fuss about? 

Yes they do burgers, many have jumped on the burger bandwagon since, but they were there at the beginning, maybe a little quieter in terms of their popularity but by no means quieter in themselves. They have been shouting about how good they are on twitter for some time now. They have so much confidence and most importantly passion about what they do it shines through in their food. They pride themselves on delivering good food, trying new things, not being afraid to admit when things have gone wrong, testing the waters with new ideas or ideas which haven't previously been widespread in the UK. It's due to this that their menu is constantly changing, they have specials frequently and themed nights too (such as the breaking bad evenings) but they have also established their classics too. Things that customers want to eat time and time again, things they have got down to a tee. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Almost Famous - Leeds

Bad Press. 

Lewd marketing. 

Hipster followings. 

Poor toilet decoration choices. 

No reservations on a Saturday night. 

There is only one of the above points which tipped the scales for a visit last Saturday night. When a last minute date night calls and you haven't made a reservation you fall upon desperate times.

Okay, that is admittedly a bit harsh. I had wanted to visit Almost Famous when it was a solely Mancunian establishment, when it made it's way over to Leeds it got a less than warm welcome (no idea what I'm talking about? See here and here and here)

Curiosity killed the cat? This cat is still alive, curiosity fulfilled, expectations - not.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Black Prince - Leeds City Centre

I'm not a big fan of pub chains so when I was offered to review The Black Prince in Leeds I didn't immediately jump at the opportunity. I'm trying to be more open minded, gourmet food isn't the main focus for everyone. I've also reviewed similar places off of my own back in the past so it would be ever so slightly hypocritical of me to now become a food snob. 

The Black Prince resides in what was formally Flares nightclub, and then I believe an 80s nightclub. I haven't been inside this building since I was 17 18, I was intrigued to see how it had changed, it's such a beautiful building it always seemed a shame is was inhabited by the drunk middle and under age  18 year olds. 

There are no table reservations (unless I suspect you're planning on having your work Christmas party here) instead there are numbers on tables and you order at the bar. 

Alternative from most pubs which fall in to the same category (Wetherspoons/Yates to name two) they don't just serve lager and Guinness there are a few ales which I'm told rotate every so often. A quick check that the Green King IPA was back on and we had two pints. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Homemade Peri Peri Spatchcock Chicken

Why go out when you can make it better yourself at home?

Peri peri or piri piri sauce is not hard to make, you don't quite get the same flavour from a bottle as what you do making it from scratch. It's not too hard to make either.

I made this for Friday night tea with wine in hand, ingredients were slap dashed measured and it still came out pretty darn delicious so I dare you to go wrong with this recipe.

This recipe is for one small chicken, feel free to boost the ingredients should you wish to feed more.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Saffron - Roundhay Road, Leeds

Good news readers I have found a good Indian takeaway/restaurant in Leeds! *Dances around in victory pants*

I was offered a complimentary meal to review one of the top rated Indian takeaways in Leeds (as rated on Hungry House). Saffron, amongst others in my local area, appeared on the list. I had never tried it so I decided to give a shot. 

Saffron is situated on Roundhay road, there is an abundance of a indian restaurants and takeaways on this road, at night time the neon lights look like a minuscule version of the Vegas strip, or perhaps (more likely) Blackpool. I've taken a few chances down this strip with little success. I was apprehensive. 

We ordered online through Hungry House and opted to collect, which turned out to be a winner as collection secures you 25% off the bill! So we orded more...

It was predicted we could collect in 25 minutes so we had time to nip to the shop and grab a couple of beers and drive down. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Old Stables - Horncastle, Lincolnshire

Horncastle lies South of the Lincolnshire Wolds. It is a town famed for its antiques and what can only be described as Junk shops. I've honestly never seen so many in such a small vicinity! Definitely a top place to go for all those treasure and bargain hunting types.

As with many small towns/villages there is an array of Tearooms and cafes and it can be quite hard to pick out the best one. Luckily we had local knowledge on our side and were pointed towards The Old Stables just off of the town square.

With a large courtyard and two floors inside it is fairly sizeable for a cafe in a small town. We walked in and settled for a table upstairs. Someone in this establishment definitely has a penchant for purple. Purple sofas, purple cushions, purple decorations, purple table mats..

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Miah's Kitchen - Leeds

Oh Groupon why do I fall for you every time. I can't recall once where I have purchased a voucher and felt like I had a good meal and got my monies worth. A good deal on a hotel or a day out trying archery... But food? No. Perhaps it's time to call it quits.

The deal for this particular establishment was two courses and a glass of wine for two for £18. Seemed like a bargain not to be missed. 

We followed the T&Cs and booked ahead for a Wednesday evening after work at 6.15pm. We were greeted at the door and asked to wait in the seated area near the front of the restaurant whilst they prepared the table... We were the only people in the restaurant. We'd barely sat down when we were being asked to stand again so they could take us to our table.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Rolled and stuffed pork belly with sausage, apple and onion

**Warning this post contains a lot of pictures of MEAT**

For those of you who have read the 'About Breadsticklers' page of this blog you will know that I rarely post recipes. It's not that I dislike cooking or even that I don't know how to cook, I do, but when I'm not following a recipe I'm making it up as I go along. Making it up as you go along makes it fairly hard to write recipes.

However, on this occasion I have made an exception. When you're told that it is probably the best dish you've made to date and it fits in seasonally it seems almost selfish not to share. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Roxy Lanes - Leeds

Typing in to google 'Roxy Lanes' my phone ever so eloquently corrected it to 'Roxy Lames'.

Clearly google has sixth sense of sorts.

Roxy Lanes is the sister bar to Roxy Ball Rooms (that Ping pong and pool bar on commercial street). I had previously been invited to their press opening so I could sample the food. Only to find the kitchen wouldn't be opened for another few months. As a food blogger I had felt that this could have been notified to me in advance to save me wasting my time. 

Anyway I digress as this post is about Lanes not Ball Room. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Competition: Two free tickets to 'Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair' in Harrogate

Competition time!! I have two free tickets up for grabs for the Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair. 

The fair takes place in Harrogate on 27-30th November 2014 in the HIC. 

Here's some more details about the fair from the event organisers:

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Meat Liquor - Leeds

It started with a wagon. A meat wagon serving street food to Londoners that then turned into a burger joint in an actual real life brick building. Queues of people were reported waiting hours to get in. Then everyone else jumped on the band wagon, or should that be meat wagon?

Burger off!! I've heard the voices of (twitter) Leeds cry every time another new place opened serving burgers. However when Meat Liquor announced that their first venture north would be in Leeds it changed. There was a buzzing and hum of excitement "the people who started it all are coming to Leeds" it was reported. Move aside Manchester now who is the food capital of the north?

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Tea Cottage - Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey is a beautiful place lying on the very border of the Yorkshire Dales.

It cost us £9 for the car to enter the car park for the day and then there were no further fees to pay to enter the grounds of the abbey. After a wander down to the abbey we felt a bit peckish so decided to head back towards the car park (which is located next to the post office/gift shop) and try out the café we had seen there.

Friday, 5 September 2014

The Botanist - Leeds

I visited Botanist a couple of weeks after Trinity opened last year but have only just gotten around to editing all my drafts and creating readable sentences from my hastily written reviews! So please bear in mind these were from last year and the menu may have changed.

The decor in Botanist is... Well the only way I can describe it is pottery shed kitch. A bit like a nice garden shed, which I guess is apt for the name.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Cafe Andulaz - Westend, Glasgow

The Westend of Glasgow is far different from the central streets of Glasgow which are decorated with big shopping centres and the fast food chains on every corner. I feel that Glasgow, although the bigger city, is often overlooked over Edingburgh. It's a shame especially when the Westend has so much to offer. Kelvingrove houses one of Dali's master pieces and there is of course the Ubiquitous Chip a well famed restaurant.

One cold Scottish day X and I were in the Westend of Glasow having taken the clockwork orange from the city centre. Food was first up on the agenda and after wandering around in circles a few times we decided upon Tapas at Cafe Andaluz. They have another two restaurants in Scotland so a small chain.

Fuji Hiro - Leeds

Worth the hype? Not the night we went...

Fuji Hiro has come up in many conversations I have had about where to get good noodles or a cheap but great meal. I've tried to go the odd couple of nights in the past but have been unable to dine as the place was too full. 

One Sunday evening after a day spent wandering around Leeds and accidentally getting a bit tipsy in Brew Dog Bar me and T decided we wanted noodles.  We stood at the top of Briggate for a while trying to figure out where to go when Fuji Hiro sprang to mind and off we went.

We had no trouble finding a table at this time on a Sunday night and were quickly seated next to the window. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Carluccio's dessert and coffee - Trinity Leeds

When will I learn?

Not all chains are reliable.

Especially Carluccio's.

Carluccio's is a firm favourite of mine for a Friday treat of coffee and pastry to take away. This is where it should end. My first ever blog post was written about Carluccio's when it first opened on Greek Street in Leeds three years ago. It wasn't a great experience and I have never returned for a sit down meal.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tweedies Bar - Grasmere, The Lake District

We first visited Tweedies after a rather long walk in Lower Langdale, tired and hankering for a pint but not wanting to sit in a hotel foyer we found this place with the help of Google (Grasmere actually has 3G!). A CAMRA award winning pub we really had struck gold.

We returned to Grasmere the following day to have a better look around (when the shops were all open) and to get a spot of lunch. A glorious summers afternoon we were keen to enjoy lunch alfresco but were struggling to find a) somewhere with space left to sit outside b) somewhere that sold a decent lunch. The problem we found when visiting the more touristy villages/towns in The Lakes was that they tended to cater to the tourist, playing upon British stereotypes. There were a lot of sandwiches (most ridiculously priced place for a cheese sandwich on earth) fish and chips and afternoon tea type lunches. Not exactly what we were looking for. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Scott's Arms - Sicklinghall, Wetherby

Finding somewhere within Leeds to eat on a Saturday evening without prebooking at least a week ahead is becoming harder and harder. This combined with a longing desire to constantly get out of the city on a weekend brought us to Scott's Arms in Sicklinghall, Wetherby.

Nestled away in a village just north of Leeds lies this lovely (no so little pub) with adjoining farm shop. If you're wanting to dine here there is a waiter service which seats you but then you're required to place your order at the bar... Slightly confusing. Also whilst we were paying for our food (at the bar) we noticed the specials menu, not visible from our table, with options we would have chosen over the regular menu, if only someone had said something. 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Grandy Nook - Hawkshead

On our first afternoon in The Lakes we had a couple of hours to kill before we could pick up our keys for the cottage. So we wandered around Hawkshead in search for lunch, what we came across was cafes and pubs. A pub, we thought, would be too much of a heavy lunch so we set about looking in the cafes. Hawkshead is pretty small and it wasn't long until we had walked around all the cafes and still hadn't chosen one. Fed up we chose the nearest to where we needed to pick up our keys from.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Brew Lab - Edinburgh

I'm not going to write a huge amount in this post as I don't feel educated enough in coffee to do so. In fact I only started drinking coffee 6 months ago. I'm still playing it safe with Mochas too.

Whilst in Edinburgh I noticed that another food blogger happened to be visiting Edinburgh too. Richard who writes Them Apples posted a picture on Instagram of a coffee place I had walked past the day before. Interested I asked him if it was a place he would recommend.

So on our final day in Edinburgh a very tired D and me decided to pay a visit.

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Bon Vivant - Edinburgh

Down the side street out of the hubbub of Princes Street and Hanover Street (slightly less hubbuby) on Thistle Street you'll find Bon Vivant, however it may be easy to walk past this dark doorwayed place.

I have now learnt that Bon Vivant have a number of different places dotted around Edinburgh, clearly a popular place. I like the sound of their concept which is to create an informal dining scene like that you find on the continent with great food and great drink.

A considerable amount of the menu is served in small portions and this seems to be the most popular choice.

We'd only popped in for something light so this was perfect for us. We ordered a pot of tea each (as it's bloody freezing in Scotland and needed to warm our cockles) and took a look over the menu.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Southern Cross Cafe - Edinburgh

I'm going to start off by saying - don't visit this place.

Just off the Royal Mile on a curved road up a slopping hill lies Southern Cross Cafe, or as it's now abbreviated to 'SX Cafe'. 

It's near the Royal Mile, it gets the footfall, it doesn't really need to put the effort in to make people return as it will get more than enough one time visitors to keep it going. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Dogs - Hanover Street, Edinburgh

Note to readers: this post may contain expletives. (It does).

The Dogs on Hanover Street in Edinburgh was recommended many times over on twitter when I asked where I should go when visiting for the first time. With so many notifications coming through recommending them it would be rude not to book a visit.

We booked a table early (6pm) Sunday evening knowing that we had an evening full of shows to see at The Fringe Festival. There was no problem booking a table even during this busy period. I was surprised as I left it quite late too, two weeks prior to our visit.

White Hart Inn - Grassmarket, Edinburgh

In the search for ale, none of this crappy lager stuff, we accidentally stumbled in to the oldest pub in Edinburgh. An absolute fluke! We walked in and out of a few pubs that didn't have pulled cask ale, walked in to this one saw that it had ale, a pub food bites menu and some tables (albeit outside) so parked our bottoms and pints (once pulled and paid for) outside. It was once we were sat outside that we noticed the sign which said it was the oldest pub in Edinburgh. Bingo.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mother India Cafe - Edinburgh

Mother India Cafe in Edinburgh, despite the name, is a restaurant that serves Indian food in tapas portions. A brilliant idea. It enables you try many more dishes than you would at your standard Indian restaurant and sharing food is always a great way to try more things too. Win win. I know most people would be eager to try Scottish fare when visiting Edinburgh but we had already booked somewhere Scottish and were fearful of falling in to the tourist traps and eating substantial run-of-the-mill stereotyped food the whole time we were there.

A quick look through some Scottish based blogs and urbanspooon and we came across Mother India Cafe. There were some great reviews and having been pining for a decent curry for some time we gave them a call.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blackhouse Revisited - Leeds

It has been almost a year since my last post about Blackhouse. I found myself there again a couple of weeks ago, this time as a member of a large group (11) celebrating a birthday. We were informed that as we were a large booking we would have to order from one of the set menus, no further explanation but two menus were presented to us of £35 and £40 per person. We took a vote and the £40 menu won. Curious I decided to compare the set menu against the main menu and how much each individual item on the set menu cost on the main menu (ie if you weren't in a large group)... I know I know I was being anal but I like to think I'm getting my monies worth when I'm eating out.

The conclusion was that if each person ordered the most expensive thing for each dish on the set menu (using the main menu for the prices) then this would equate to £41 per person.  A massive saving of £1 per person. If you substituted one dish for anything other the price would be lower than we were being charged for the set menu. So I began to think maybe the set menu includes their service charge... Wrong. When we got to the restaurant it was also noted on the menus before us (the set one) that there would be a service charge added too... With such a large group already over paying for the food the service charge would be fairly substantial.

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel - North Yorkshire

Dipping in to the North York Moors and close to Scarborough you will find Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. A grand old (former) farmhouse now converted in to a hotel using it's back-houses and barns to a AA 4 star standard. The main house now contains The Courtyard restaurant which presents fine dining and gastro pub experiences, something for everybody.

I was lucky enough to be invited to review the hotel (bear with me I've only done one before) and the afternoon tea (more than experienced), dinner (even more experienced) and breakfast (more than happy to lend a hand).
Check in at 2pm we managed to roll up exactly on time despite the frustrations of road closures due to Leeds fest and only one minor error from the sat nav taking us down the wrong lane. The journey into the national park drove us down country lanes and past vast forest land. We pulled up smiling.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Teppan 260 - Leeds City Centre

Please note this establishment has now closed 

Alternative dining experiences have been around for a while, the Americans and Japanese appear to particularly like them. For example Americans have before chosen to deliver your burger and shake on roller skates, or by girls who are blessed in the chest region. In Japan we have seen cat cafés where you can stroke a moggie whilst drinking your mocha, or you may chose to have your dinner served by a ninja or in a prison, whatever tickles your fancy... (See here for a further list of what Japan has to offer in the alternative dining scene )

Teppan 260 aims to bring a modern alternative dining experience to Leeds. You order your food through iPads (chained to the table) and you cook your own food at your table. 

Frankly, I wasn't convinced by the concept. Surely the whole point of going to a restaurant is the 'being waited hand on foot' experience, the trivial but jovial chat with the waiting staff, then it's the joy that you get from having food cooked for you. Whether you're getting that joy because you simply can't cook that particular dish yourself at home, because the ingredients are hard to come by, or simply because you want a night off. This restaurant is taking most of that away from it's diners. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Bird and Beast - Leeds City Centre

Bird and Beast caught my eye a few months ago as I happen to walk through Central Arcade on my way to work most mornings. Things then started to rumble on twitter about it and my interest peaked further.

Bird and Beast is brought to us by a local chef Simon Shaw who is taking a step in to the Leeds dining scene by offering us a simple no fuss menu with locally sourced ingredients. A chef with a good standing already in the food scene he heads up El Gato Negro in Ripponden. 

It's all about the bird. The bird being chicken.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Bundobust - Leeds City Centre

Bundobust the love child of two fantastic ventures laying their routes in Bradford and expelling their child to the big city of Leeds.

The Sparrow: a real ale hub, a CAMRA endorsed pub, with some good people behind it. 

Prashaad: a once hidden secret in Bradford given national fame thanks to Gordon Ramsey, so successful they have had to relocate to a bigger premises and have even brought out a cook book. They serve meat free Indian food, so good that even the most blood thirsty of us will not miss meat.

It seems that Bundobust has been coming for an awful long time. I've seen so much written on twitter about their long awaited venture and various pop ups here and there. Unfortunately I had yet to sample their wares and find out what all the fuss was about. 

This time came last week... 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Grove Cafe - Burley, Leeds

I'm a little confused by Grove Cafe, is it an Italian (as the subject line of their website suggests) or is it an Indian as listed on Hungry House with it's curries advertised first on the menu?

Despite this Grove Cafe was one of the takeaways recommended to me when I first moved back to Leeds. I don't remember it as a student (but then with all the alcohol I consumed I'm surprised I remember anything at all) so perhaps it hasn't been around that long?

So one rainy evening D and I decided to try it out...

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Pizza House Company - Leeds

Yet again I search for the perfect takeaway in North Leeds. This time to find pizza that shines above dominoes or at least comes close without the hefty price tag.

Pizza house company have a couple of takeaways dotted around Leeds in Moortown and Guiseley. 

Pizza House Company appear in the top takeaways for Leeds due to their user rating so I was eager to give them a go. 

A and I after having a rather tiresome Monday at work decided that it would be a perfect night to stuff our faces with pizza.

Pizza Express - Lunch

Pizza Express are currently trialling out a new lunch menu.

Honestly, I have a slight aversion to Pizza Express. I don't think I've ever had a good meal. Sloppy pizza, cold pizza, lasagne that later led to me projectile vomiting. Seen as it has been a good few years since these incidents and much avoidance of the place I decided to take them up on their offer of to sample the new lunch menu... plus it's literally down the road from where I work (but I am sure this applies to most).

The lunch menu only runs Monday to Friday, and isn't available everywhere yet. Reasonably priced for a sit down lunch the prices range from around £4-£7 per dish and they are designed to be lighter dishes than on the regular menu.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The Roundhay Fox - Roundhay, Leeds

The Roundhay Fox (in Roundhay surprisingly) is a part of the Vintage Inns chain of pubs. There are nearly 200 of them and three in Leeds, so we can call this a well established chain.

A pub chain of this size would normally have me shying away but they don't boast ridiculous deals like two mains for £5.99 or onion rings stacked as high as your granny, so I wasn't too perturbed at trying them out. Plus... it seems to be my new local.

I don't know who, and I don't know when, but someone, somewhere, once told me that the Fox serves really nice pies.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Salts Diner - Saltaire

Salts Diner is situated in Salt's Mill in Saltaire

If you haven't been to Saltaire.. why not? I used to live near to Saltaire and there is so much I miss about the area, including being just a short walk away from the heritage village. 

In the summer time when it's bright and sunny, or the winter time when everything is covered in snow, or in the spring time when the blossom is blooming, or in the autumn when the leaves are turning Saltaire is a beautiful place. A beautiful place which is dominated by Salts Mill. The grand buildings that make up both buildings of the Mill either side of the canal are less ugly and intrusive as you expect a mill to be, but instead a symbol of our countries industrial past, and something to be admired.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Arts Cafe - Leeds

Art's Cafe has been banded around in conversation by food lovers for a while. It wasn't something that hit my radar until I started writing my blog (in 2011) and I've FINALLY gotten around to paying it a visit.

I've heard a lot of good things about Art's Cafe so when the time came to visit I was excited (not just because it was a restaurant that serves something other than American food), the menu sounded intriguing and confident, banding around jargon used often on masterchef (jus, fricasse, red wine reduction etc).

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Twisted Burger Company - Leeds

This establishment has now ceased its lease with Aire Bar, but you can now find them in Jake's Bar on Call Lane. 

This meal was free... but that doesn't mean this post isn't completely honest. 

Twisted Burger Company a Sheffield originated business has come to Leeds to join hands with Aire Bar on the Calls. I haven't eaten at Aire bar since approximately 2009, it was just standard pub fare which did entice me to go back.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Soup Club

What's the first rule of soup club....?

Well hopefully it isn't don't blog about it... We have a soup club at work which consists of four people spread across three departments. We each take it in turns to cook soup at the weekend and bring it in on a Monday for all to sample.

I've never been one for cooking soup, or really eating that much of it. The soup club itself has really broadened my mind to soup and the glory of it! It has broadened it in a sense that I have eaten soup I would never have chosen for myself, for example Broccoli and Stilton. I'm not the biggest of fans of blue cheese I can tolerate it at best, but this soup although blue in taste was a perfect Monday afternoon treat. The salt balanced out the richness and the broccoli added a further dimension that made it smooth. In addition to this I have discovered I love bacon in soup.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Yorkshire Meatball Co - Harrogate - A Sneak Preview

Please note this establishment is now closed. 

Lately I've found myself falling in love with pulled pork, falling out of love with pulled pork, falling in love with burgers and then... Falling out of love with burgers. The mass influx of American food in to the UK has been pretty exciting at times. Like the Americans it's big and bolshy (no offence) bringing with it a lot of drama and over-the-topness. It's great, it's exhilarating... It's everywhere. Everywhere I look. Burger bar after meat shack after grill.

I'd heard rumblings about a new place opening in Harrogate, surely not a burger bar in Harrogate with it's niche clientele and highly regulated city centre (regulated in the sense that Carluccios had to fight with the council for the spot they wanted). 

Fear not Harrogatians it is not a burger bar, grill or cafe... It's a meatball place...

Friday, 21 March 2014

Carluccio's - coffee and pastry deal

A relatively short post about my new Friday morning treat.

I've recently been attempting to like coffee... I know I know how have I gone 27 years on this earth without drinking coffee... Well apparently I liked it as a baby. What my parents were doing feeding me coffee as a baby I don't know...

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Each to their own...

I don't really 'do' blog posts like this, as you'll note my blog is mainly restaurant reviews and the occasional recipe when I can remember what I added to said meal...

This morning however something really irritated me. So much so it gave me a tight knot in my stomach and made my ears burn. 

The source of my irritation, annoyance, disappointment and frustration: fellow food bloggers ripping into another blog, publically for all to see on twitter. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Old Steps - Leeds

Please note this establishment has now closed and is now MyThai - yey! 

The Old Steps is a place that few people seem to know about, that was until it recently appeared on the Living Social website. It was somewhere that was unfamiliar to me and when asked what I was doing with my Friday night only person knew of it, and when I say 'knew of it' they many decades ago (maybe 2 or even 1) used to go partying around that particular area of town.

Living Social once again doing great things for small businesses by spotlighting attention to them, however I have heard on the grape vine that they do take a large chunk of the money paid for the deal themselves so if you like the place your visiting make sure you tip well. The deal I purchased was £14 and included a bottle of wine and a platter for two people. This seemed reasonable to me having read what was on the platter and a bottle of wine in Leeds City Centre can often cost this price or more.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sela Bar - Leeds

I have heard a lot about the greatness of Sela Bar's pizzas but hadn't had chance to try them until last Friday.

I have been to Sela for a few drinks on many occasions, they have great beers on tap which change over regularly, acoustic nights and a great bunch of people in front and behind the bar.

I'm not entirely sure what time they serve pizzas until each night but they were still dishing them out to people at 8pm when we left to go upstairs to Wax Bar. The menu is simple, there isn't an overload of choice just 10 pizzas and a few sides.

Crowd of Favours - Leeds

A Leeds Brewery Pub Crowd of Favours is almost hidden down near the markets. It makes for a nice quiet pint during the week after work. Bearing this in mind, after a particularly hectic day at work I met up with C for a pint and some food. First up a pint of Leeds Pale, one of my favourite ales it's simple and easy to drink (sometimes a little too easy..). 

Cradling our pints we looked over the menu and with choices firmly in mind we headed over to the bar.

The Adelphi - Leeds

Sunday lunch is a British institution, dare to declare you're not a fan and most will stare and point at you.

I'm not one for eating Sunday lunch out, I've been spoiled by the best homemade Sunday lunches, and often restaurants don't come close.

On this occasion a trip in to Leeds city centre was needed and a good belly full too, so me and T decided to look in to Sunday lunches - via the help of twitter. The top recommendation was the Adelphi. 

Sunshine Bakery - Chapel Allerton, Leeds

On one cold winters day I was flat hunting running between Chapel Allerton and Roundhay in the hope that I would find something that didn't resemble a student den or a box room. I decided to stop for some lunch to read over my notes and ponder some over right move. 

I've heard great things about Sunshine Bakery and seen their delicious looking wares at food events such as cornucopia at the corn exchange. 
A cup of tea and something warm was just what I required. 
Tea for one came with old lady style crockery and a teapot which filled my cup many times.  

For lunch I decided on the tomato and red pepper soup (arrange of soups on display on a black board near the counter) with some freshly baked red pepper bread. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Yu Kyu and Magnificent Milkshake Co - Trinity Kitchen - Leeds CityCentre

There are only a few days left before the street vendors change again at trinity kitchen. Here are a couple I visited one Friday lunch time.... 

Magnificent Milkshake company... This appears to be popular amongst the crowds, with an array of dessert like milkshakes to satisfy a sweet tooth. 

On this occasion I chose the Eton Mess milkshake which is a strawberry milkshake (bordering on ice cream) with a meringue top plus some strawberries and cream. I think I made all my work colleagues jealous when I took this back to devour at my desk. 

Wasabi - Leeds City Centre

Wasabi opens 19th February at 12 noon.

It feels like an age since I first saw the signs for Wasabi plastered against one of the new shopping units in Trinity. Like a few things in Trinity Wasabi wasn't ready for the grand opening last year or even the second opening of the food hall Trinity Kitchen in the autumn.

The wait is over as Wasabi, the first one outside London, is finally here... and with a smaller pick and mix shop to boot (located on 'the bridge' above Albion street - opposite Nandos). 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Reds True Barbecue - Leeds

I realise that I am probably one of the last people in Leeds (and beyond) to visit Red's. It's appeared in the guardian and its been the talk of the town for some time. It seemed to appear in Leeds just as the hype regarding meat and all things barbecued peaked. I have seen countless pictures of this place from food bloggers and your regular {insert social media here} user.

I needed to go.

Revolution - Leeds

I'm going to be honest (as usual) one Saturday afternoon when my friends said they wanted to have lunch in Revolution in Millenium square I wasn't looking forward to it. My past memories of Revolution stem from being a student and downing vodka shots of many many different varieties. There was also steak night on a Wednesday when I used to eat mine burnt to a crisp so who knows if it was actually nice (or realistically edible)...

However, the place appears to have had a lick of paint to brighten it up and it feels less like a dingy bar that students hang out in, it even had soft furnishings with flowers on. There were a group of mothers sat with their babies and a fair few people having a nice chilled lunch, clearly a place I've overlooked over the last five years. 

We ordered drinks and I was 'ID-ed' by someone who looked around 18, much to my friends amusement.