Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Railway Inn - Rodley, Leeds

The Railway Inn is a pub that pays homage to the old railway which used to be situated at this cross roads between Rodley and Calverley, if what I read is correct the railway opened in 1846 but then sadly closed in 1965. Throughout its years it was known interchangeably as Rodley Station and Calverley and Rodley Station.

The railway line spanned from Leeds Wellington Street Station and ran through Kirkstall, to Rodley, to Apperley Bridge and Rawdon, and terminating in Bradford. With the congestion along Leeds road from Shipley and on Kirkstall Road on the way into Leeds I think there are a fair few people in Leeds that long for this railway to be reopened again. Tales of 2 hour commutes in 9 miles of road traffic is beyond absurd. 

Monday, 26 October 2015

Boss Burgers - Chapel Allerton, Leeds

Boss Burgers has been on my food-radar for a little while. Their original joint in Hyde Park had caused quite a stir, not only with students, as I've seen it appear on lists of the best burgers in Leeds and tweets appearing in my timeline with some absolutely stunning pictures of the burgers they have to offer. When I found out that they were expanding and opening up in Chapel Allerton I was excited to give them a try.

Feeling lazy after a week at work we decided to head down one Friday evening arriving around 6.30pm. Parking isn't great in Chapel Allerton and we ended up in Lidl's car park, although this was at risk of clamping so I wouldn't recommend it, there is another car park behind co-op further up the road it's a bit of walk but it will avoid clamps and fines.

Boss Burgers' place in Chapel A is relatively small, seating at most 15-20 people. When we arrived I was worried we might not get a table and was starting to wonder if they took bookings, fear not however as there was a table just vacated in the corner.

BB sells pulled real ale, tick. D and I ordered a pint and a half of Saltaire Pale Ale, one of my favourites having lived next door to the brewery for 18 months and I believe the true introducer to my love of beer.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Brasserie Blanc - Leeds City Centre

Did you know there was a Raymond Blanc restaurant in Leeds?

No neither did I.

Hidden away, almost from sight, on the banks of the river Aire in an old mill on Sovereign Street sits Brasserie Blanc. It's sat there for 8 years.

Once again I begin to think of the city's preoccupation with all that is new and trendy, with places of old being forgotten. Granted BB is not as old as Bibi's, Salvo's and the Olive Tree but it's definitely being overlooked.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Homage 2 Fromage - Leeds' First Cheese Cafe

Please note this establishment is now closed but you can still catch them at cheese club Homage to Fromage! 

You've gotta brie kidding me there is a cheese cafe in Leeds? I'm gonna lose my rind!
The people who thought of a monthly cheese club and put it in to action are geniuses. The people who thought up and implemented the idea of a cheese cafe deserves a noble prize, or the cheese equivalent at least.

Homage 2 Fromage, for those who are not aware already (where have you been!), is a cheese club that was founded four years ago in Leeds. I have watched with eager eyes their club blossom and grow on Twitter with it now expanding to Sheffield, Manchester and Bradford too.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Bill's - Leeds City Centre

I am not the chain restaurant's biggest fan. There is a time and place for them in my life but Friday night is not usually one of those times. However, when Bill's asked me to pay them a visit I accepted. Why? For the simple reason that I had never heard of them before and I was intrigued. A quick scout of their website tells me they have quite a few joints dotted around the country, I've clearly been walking around with my eyes closed, that or I don't visit that there London quite as much as I should. 

Bill's started life as a green grocers, which met its fate with mother nature when it was flooded. They opened a new shop but bolted on a cafe, it then became just a little bit popular and now they have 70 plus restaurants. Their USP is simple, honest great food and making sure everyone is treated like an individual. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Nourish - Leeds City Centre

Please note this establishment is now closed. 

I really really like the concept of Nourish. I really really like the guy behind it. There is a but, but (not that one) you'll have to wait for it. 

Nourish started life in Sheffield in 2013 and has since moved to the better side of Yorkshire (wink wink) with it's first place opening in Leeds a couple of months ago. Dave Stache runs the joint, he's a nutritionist by profession but is passionate about the food market and getting good food in to the mouths of the people of Yorkshire. 

There's so much thought and effort going in to the meals, with local suppliers on hand where possible and ethically sourced ingredients. The meals themselves are packed with the most nutrients possible and (as quoted by Nourish) "no calorie is wasted". 

There are a lot of places opening in Leeds that are focusing on lad food, overindulgence and general American overloaded junk food. To see a healthy based option open in Leeds was quite novel. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Did you know Mojo's do food as well as rum?

No neither did I until their lovely PR team welcomed me and a few others to try out their wares.

This isn't gourmet dining. This isn't the next Michelin star restaurant.

It's dirty guilt food, the food that you eat after a few rums, the food that you eat when you're feeling rough and ready for hair of the dog, the food you eat when the diet has gone out the window and you just want some food loving.

I bloody love a dirty burger.

Here's a few things they have on the menu:

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

The Great Victoria Hotel - Bradford

The Great Victoria Hotel is often overlooked by those who stream in and out Bradford each day. If only commuters and visitors looked up from their busy worlds for a second they would see this great historic building before them. In 1867 The Great Victoria Hotel came to life during Bradford's growth spurt which saw the tiny town grow in to a city, with the industrial revolution in tow. It was also around the same time that Sir Titus Salt was building his model village not so far away in Saltaire.

The Great Victoria Hotel is situated next to Bradford Interchange which makes it a top spot for people to stay who are spending the night, either for business or for pleasure and want something more than your run of the mill Premier Inn.

Pizzeria Nono - Porec, Croatia

On our last night in Croatia we decided to end things how we started it, with pizza. 

Pizzeria Nono is also voted the number one place to go by the blog we were avidly living by whilst in Croatia, if you've read any of the other posts in this Croatian series you'll know that blog is Frank About Croatia. 

Popular with the locals, it also doesn't fair to bad on trip adviser either. When we arrived just after the sunset, say 7.30pm the place was bustling and there was no way we were getting a seat outside. As we stepped inside I worried that we wouldn't get a seat inside either, however deceptively spacious we were shown through to a room towards the back of the restaurant. 

Menus were handed to us and before we could even glance at them we were asked what we would like to drink, I ordered a wine and D a Sprite. 

The choice of pizzas was good but not overpowering, and I found the pizza I was going to have almost straight away. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Sv. Nikola Restaurant - Porec, Croatia

Our second to last night in Porec and we were ready to splash the cash, we had managed to have quite a bit left over not expecting food and petrol prices to be so very low in Croatia. We decided to dine at San Nikola as it was described on Frank About Croatia's blog as the closest to fine dining you would get in Porec. We had also had a glance at the menu the previous night before settled down to eat next door at Divino.

We were greeted by a very friendly waitress who served us for most of the evening, she was always gracious and said please frequently, especially when giving us something such as more wine or our orders. 

We ordered a bottle of wine, a Pinot Grigio, which was kept on ice away from our table and served to us frequently throughout the meal. A nice touch which kept our wine chilled too, the only downfall was that we had no idea how much of it we were drinking! 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Safari Bar - Rt Kamenjak, Croatia

We had seen a lot of pictures on Pinterest of idyllic beaches and paradise coves, of underwater caves and big blue seas.We'd seen a lot of pretty amazing things in Croatia, but we wanted to see this. Pinterest was pointing us toward Kamenjak National Park just south of Pula.

Kamenjak is Istria's most southern point, it is protected and you have to pay to spend the day there with opening and closing times, not your ordinary part of the country. The fee to enter (which can be reduced if you buy a season ticket) is cheaper than some of the car parking fees I've come across in the UK's national parks, I'm looking at you Lake District. I didn't feel disgruntled by the fee as I knew that the fee was being used to maintain the national park, plus it was only 30 kuna, about 3 quid.

Divino - Porec, Croatia

The second restaurant that was recommended to me via my Facebook page was Barilla, I searched Google only to find that it had sadly closed. Whilst looking through the list Frank About Croatia had compiled of the top places to eat in Croatia I noticed that Divino was the new joint for the owners of Barilla, bingo. Diving is Described as more upmarket than the owners previous place and it is situated on the harbour front, therefore it was always going to be of a higher standard (and price) of the restaurants down the side streets of downtown Porec.

Divino is situated to San Nikola another restaurant which has already made its name on the harbour. The night we visited San Nikola was busier than Divino not that this mattered much as we planned to take a trip next door the following night. It did make us wonder why it was busier and we pondered whether tourists are drawn to restaurants that are more busy in the hope that they are better, or perhaps it was simply filled with those who had been and loved it before.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Sarajevo Restaurant - Porec, Croatia

I received a couple of recommendations  part way through the holiday, via Facebook, from a past work colleague who's homeland is Croatia. Not one to pass up a recommendation and insider knowledge we acted on the recommendation that night, which brought us to Sarajevo Restaurant.

We stumbled upon it by accident once we had pretty much given up looking for it by turning down a street and, "oh there it is". The entrance from the main parade had a large picture board outside, so it would have been somewhere normally overlooked by us and dubbed as a tourist trap. I'm not sure how well these boards work in getting people in to restaurants, it makes me avoid them, it's so tacky and typical of most tourist destinations. Synonymous with bad food. Lose the boards guys.(Unless you're selling crap food, then keep the boards so I avoid you).

Reviews on the internet had suggested it was a good place to go, family run and friendly.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Hotel Piran - Piran, Slovenia

One rather blustery Monday in Croatia we struggled for ideas of what to do and where to visit. A beach day would have left us running along the coast trying to retrieve our belongings and it felt too hot to go exploring in caves (we were saving that trip for a rainy day). The solution we found was to jump in our rental car and take a trip across the boarder to Slovenia.

We drove to Piran, also part of Istria, which is famed to be one of the most photographed parts of Slovenia. Perfect for a day trip. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Konoba Daniela - Veleniki (Porec), Croatia

Let's be honest we weren't having much luck with restaurants in Croatia, it was starting to get frustrating, so we decided to take some advice and head out of town.

There are two restaurants named on Frank About Croatia's blog that are a short drive out of Porec, they are apparently much better than a lot of the places you'll find around the coast or in the old town. The major disadvantage of this being that D would need to drive and we were also warned that Croatia has a zero tolerance for drinking and driving so he couldn't even have a shandy. 

We chose Konoba Daniela for no other reason than it looked the best on Frank's blog. 

The drive out of Porec is a short one taking approximately 10-15 minutes which takes you in to the small town/village of Veleniki, where it quickly becomes clear everyone is there for this one restaurant. We struggled to find parking and this worried us, would be able to get a table without a booking? With the car safely(ish) parked down the road we wandered in. We approached a waiter apprehensively waiting for the abrupt 'no' that we were becoming accustomed to whenever we asked anyone anything in Croatia, and enquired about a table. He replied "of course" and we were promptly shown to a table on the decking outside.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Face Food - Pula, Croatia

This place was horrendous.

I don't even know what we were thinking.

Why would we choose to eat somewhere with Facebook branding calling itself Facefood.


I guess we were just tired of wandering around all the time trying to find the best place to eat, the best place in town.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Hrast - Porec, Croatia

Day 7 in Croatia and we went out in Porec in the evening on a mission. I had seen a restaurant that looked good and had briefly seen it referenced on a website. We circled the streets of old town a few times before we found it...

When we found it? The entirety of the menu was fish. With our experiences in fish eating still at the beginners stages (think white fish and tuna) we drifted away.

We didn't get far until we stumbled across the number 1 restaurant on Trip Adviser. Konobo Aba. We wandered in, no one approached us, everyone seemed to be staring at us. I felt self conscious and nudged D forward to enquire about a table. The response from the waiter 'No'. Brilliant. There was a bit of a language barrier and a lot of 'No' from the waiter until we sulked away. Never to return I might add.

As we returned to the cobbled streets I remembered the name of restaurant I had seen on Frank About Croatia's blog - Hrast. We just needed to find it.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Artha (Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant) - Porec, Croatia

Following our unsuccessful first night where we failed to find a non-tourist trap place to eat I carried out a little research before next heading out in to Porec for dinner. Personal blogs were not getting me very far and so I turned to Trip Adviser.

*Warning trip adviser rant follows*

Trip Adviser isn't a medium I normally use to find referrals on places to dine, as I tend to think most people that leave a review  on this site are doing so out of spite having had a bad experience. Thus making its reviews slightly biased, I also tend to find that the number 1 restaurants aren't always the best in town, but instead a place that is new and only has a few reviews and most of them positive, which isn't a bad thing when you're looking for somewhere new to eat in your home city but not so great when you're just visiting and looking for those hidden gems and long-standing local favourites. There are a lot of positive reviews on Trip Adviser, I don't deny this, but one bad review can (and has) put me off places. It's the Trip Adviser curse.

Enough of the Trip Adviser rant, I didn't opt for the number 1 restaurant as rated by users but instead number 4 or 5. A vegetarian and vegan restaurant in a country that apparently loves it's meat and seafood seemed like an interesting option and there were some inviting visitor pictures uploaded to boot.