Monday, 5 December 2016

Jamaica Blue - Trinity Leeds

Jamaica Blue is a product of Australia, or rather it was founded there 20 years ago. If you haven't heard Australia has a big coffee culture, I don't mean crappy coffee culture like they have in the US (not pointing any fingers at big coffee chains) but rather mastering coffee to a point where at least half the nation are coffee snobs. Sounds like my kind of place. 

I'd never heard of Jamaica Blue until it popped up in Trinity Leeds, when I discovered it was an international Australian franchise I was intrigued by what they had to bring to the Leeds coffee scene. It would have some steep competitors with the likes of Laynes, La Bottega Milanese and Mrs Athas amongst some of the local coffee producers such as Casa Espresso and Northern Star. The name 'Jamaica Blue' is apparently inspired by the blue mountains of Jamaica where they source their coffee (so their website tells me) and they even have their own coffee estate here too. They're apparently doing quite well for themselves (if the estate in Jamaica wasn't enough proof) and have numerous cafes all across Australia and now further afield such as China, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and now the UK. 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Yorkshire Yogurts! Wensleydale Creamery launches a new luxury yogurt range.

When I first received a package from the Wensleydale Creamy in the post I thought "Ooh cheese" as I suspect most people would too, I wouldn't normally associate Wensleydale with Yogurt. Wensleydale was first brought in to my consciousness as a child, I didn't actually like cheese as a youngster (I was an incredibly fussy child) so it wasn't through my parents cheese board selections but instead through Wallace and Gromit who's favourite past time was to share some Wensleydale cheese.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Rola Wala Leeds is TWO !!

Things have changed at incredible speed in Leeds over the last few months, it doesn't feel like 2.5 years ago since Trinity opened and it feels like John Lewis only opened a couple of weeks ago.. oh wait. 

It most definitely doesn't feel like two years since Rola Wala decided to call Leeds their home from home (that other home being London) and set up permanent residency in Trinity Kitchen. I can't even remember what was situated in the permanent fixture before these guys came along, what I do remember is trying Rola Wala out when they were but a street food van on the rotation, I was gutted when they left and ecstatic when they decided to stay with us. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Trinity Kitchen - November/December 2016 Street Food Rotation

Trinity Kitchen is a great place to go with the pickiest of friends, everyone will find something they like here. The fact that it's forever changing with the rotation of the street food vans means that you can keep going back again and again and never getting bored.

So what does Trinity Kitchen have to offer us this month?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

The Mitre Inn - Knaresborough

I love Knaresborough, no matter the season. In the summer and spring you can climb aboard a rowing boat and sail down the river, in the autumn the colours of the trees are truly mesmerising and in the winter it make for a good stroll in the brisk Yorkshire air with the peace of mind that there isn't a warm cosy pub too far away.

Unfortunately the day that we visited Knaresborough my map reading skills weren't on fleek and we ended up lost several times until it started raining and we decided to seek cover in a pub. I'd already carried out some research prior to our visit on places to eat (something I tend to do right unlike map reading) as we needed a pub that was dog friendly and didn't only serve Sunday lunches on a Sunday... because believe it or not, not everyone likes Sunday lunch.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Marmadukes - Sheffield

The more time I spend in Sheffield the more I warm to it.

Look hard enough you will find good independents in amongst the chains in every city. I often visit Sheffield due to work and this limits exploring to a 1.5 mile radius of the office during lunch time.

Despite these restrictions, as of late I have found a couple of gems hidden within this city. There are far more to be found and quite predominantly around the Nether Edge and Kelham Island regions of the city, unfortunately both are a little too far out of reach for my lunch time strolls, but if you should visit make a beeline for these areas.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Fazenda Christmas Lunch

If you haven’t booked your Christmas lunch or dinner yet with friends or colleagues you are severely lagging behind, I know people who started booking them January this year for December 2016. If you’re still undecided on where to go I offer to you an alternative, Fazenda, Christmas style.

Fazenda probably isn’t one of the first places that spring to mind when you think of Christmas, skewered steaks and Brazilian food isn’t particularly festive (in the UK). If you’re going to a few Christmas ‘do’s’ this year (you lucky thing) you might get a little bored of Turkey roast dinners and bland Christmas puddings, so why not sink your teeth in to some steak instead?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Cau - Victoria Gate Leeds

In all honesty I was slightly disappointed with the number of new restaurants opening with Victoria Gate, the original press release suggested much more than two restaurants and a Pret A Manger (because Leeds really needs another Pret), or perhaps I was just being too hopeful. Nevertheless I am always going to have a look in to what is new in town and so I did, last Friday the day after opening.

Cau is an Argentinian steak and burger restaurant (again because Leeds is seriously lacking in this department), a chain with Leeds being its 22nd opening. A clever play on words Cau (abbreviated from Carne Argentina Unica) pronounced by many sounds like you're saying 'cow' and seen as this is their main offering it fits the bill. Rather than trying to capture the whole of Argentina in a restaurant they have singled out Buenos Aires as a focal point.

As mentioned, we arrived last Friday evening their (and Victoria Gate's) second day of opening. We hadn't booked I was just hoping to wing a reservation and wasn't too fussed about waiting for a table. We arrived at 8.10pm and were told by the host that there was a 40 minute wait on a table as a large group had just arrived. Having no problem with this we settled at the bar and ordered a couple of cocktails, another couple arrived shortly after us and were told the same.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Chaophraya - Leeds

It’s definitely been over 5 years since I visited Chaophraya as I know for certain that if I had been I would have blogged about it and I haven’t. I have visited a few times before my blogger life began and from memory I used to really enjoy the meals there, the only suggestion I can provide for not returning is that since my blogger life started new and shiny restaurants tend to catch my eye more often than the solid oldies. Pretty bad really and something I am trying to rectify!

As you can imagine their menu has changed many times since I last visited, they’ve even expanded in to the ground floor since I lasted visited. Their most recent menu change, which launched this month, sees them trying to be a little different. When first starting out 10 years or so ago Thai ingredients weren’t so easy to come by and so alternatives or basic Thai dishes were the only way to bring a sense of what Thai food can offer. In recent years the UK’s food scene has blown up rather a lot and finding niche products is becoming easier, no longer is acceptable just to have a Thai red chicken curry when there is so much more on offer.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Trinity Kitchen - October 2016 Street Food Rotation

When Trinity Kitchen first opened 3 years ago I started to write a post about it. I was overly excited by its opening and I visited quite a bit. The rotation of street food vans and a nice warm place to eat such street food was a novel idea, I loved it. 

I never published said post because it felt like every food blogger out there was doing so and I didn't think I could bring anything new to the party. 

It's difficult to review somewhere that changes so frequently, granted they have their permanent fixtures and out of these there are only two I really like, those being Pho and Rola Wala the last edition to call Trinity Kitchen their permanent home. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Elizabeth Cottam Former Masterchef Semi Finalist Takes Up Residency at The New Ellington Leeds

The New Ellington has completely bypassed my consciousness, despite being next to My Thai (at The Old Steps) and a hop and a skip away from (what was once) Baby Jupiter. That was until a couple of weeks ago when I learnt that Masterchef Semi Finalist Liz Cottam has taken up residence there.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Jubo Raj - Rawdon

The trepidation that comes with moving house would be slightly unbearable if there wasn't also a mix of excitement bottled in with it. Such anxiety is caused by wondering if everything in the house will work, are there any unidentified leaks, what will the neighbours be like and will I find a good takeaway to replace those which I have left behind? 

Roundhay was amazing for takeaways, my mind was blown when I first moved there from Shipley. There is just a ridiculous amount and when I found out I could get hummus and olives delivered to my door I went a little crazy and ordered that plus more food than one person could ever eat. Over the two and half years I spent in Roundhay I made a good dint in the takeaway offerings and during the last year to eighteen months I definitely found my favourites and then pretty much stuck to them. I was honestly gutted to leave them behind, to no longer have excellent pizza, the perfect Chinese and the best takeaway Indian (outside of Bradford) on my doorstep brings a tear to my eye. Okay that might be a slight exaggeration but trying to find something(s) to compare was going to be a mean task. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Polpo - Havey Nichols Leeds

Unfortunately this establishment is now closed in Harvey Nic's but they may be opening elsewhere in Leeds soon! 

There was a lot of excited chatter on the interweb about Polpo taking over Yo!Sushi’s spot in Harvey Nichols. Having never lived down south their existence had passed me by. It was those who are frequent enjoyers (or previous enjoyers) of the London food scene who brought them to the forefront of my consciousness.

With my curiosity peaked I took it upon myself to do some ‘research’, I like what I saw. Venetian style tapas, or bacaro to be precise, with some interesting dishes popping up on their Instagram it seemed to be my type of place. I tried to be sneaky and pre-book a table prior to their opening but I was pushed back and told I would need to wait until they opened. Okay I could be patient.

Then we decided to buy a house and it all went tits up as all our money drained in to a money sewer called ‘solicitor/mortgage/survey fees’ followed shortly by needing all our dosh to for things to sit on in and sleep on in said house.  

Monday, 15 August 2016

Beer Pairing at Byron Burger Harrogate

Back in the day it was all about wine and food pairing, however with craft beer being well and truly established in the UK with many claiming to be the ultimate beer connoisseur/advocate/geek (whatever your adnoun preference) I have seen a surge of beer pairing events. Don't get me wrong wine still has its place it was only a few weeks ago where I attended such a wine and food pairing event at Crafthouse.

If you Google 'beer and food pairing' the internet throws up a whole host of charts and pictorgrams to help you pair the perfect beer with the perfect food. Gone are the days when beer was simply paired with a curry or a burger.... however saying that Beer doesn't go handsomely with a big juicy burger.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

10 Years of Wagamama on Park Row Leeds

Please note this establishment is now closed - you can still find them in Trinity Leeds and The White Rose Centre.

I am a big fan of Wagamama and as far as chains go it's one of the good ones. I have never had a bad or disappointing meal at any of their branches, and the branch I visit the most? The Wagamama on Park Row, it's close to work and in a quieter arm of town on the weekend. It fits a multitude of needs from working lunch to shopping snacks to birthday meals, it caters for all.

I was invited by Wagamama to come and help them celebrate their 10th anniversary on Park Row. As I visit Wagamama so frequently it's never appeared on the blog and I've also got myself in to a Wagamama rut. I always order the same thing, occasionally deviating from the norm on drinks but never on the food. For me, Wagamama has the best chicken katsu in town, and probably not just Leeds town, I can't find any other place that does it so well. Chicken katsu is a big favourite of mine and I crave it a lot so when the opportunity comes to visit Wagamama I just can't help but order it. I know, I am a disgraceful food blogger.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Yo! Sushi's New Takeaway Menu (Delivered to your door/desk by Deliveroo)

Yo! Sushi is a firm favourite of mine when it comes to sushi, namely because I am also a big fan of lots of small dishes. It's a great way to try new things and for indecisive people like me it's also a great way of ordering everything you fancy... or almost.

You may have heard of Deliveroo, if you have taken a trip to Leeds City Centre of late you will have definitely seen one of their Delivery guys on a bike dashing around with a large blue box on their back. I was excited to hear that Deliveroo were expanding outside of London but unfortunately for me Deliveroo doesn't quite extend to the heady heights of Rawdon where I now live. Unlike traditional takeaway delivery services however Deliveroo don't start business after 5pm but operate throughout the day, combine this with working in the city centre and that equals desk picnics and treats!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Food Academy at Leeds City College

The Food Academy is a student run restaurant at Leeds City College's Printworks campus, it opened to the public in 2013 but I have only heard of one other person I know visiting it... a fellow blogger who deserted us for that London place some time last year. 

It's been on the list but due to location it never quite made it to the top, however myself and a plus one were invited to attend a special blogger night to help give some promo to the site that the students needs. 

Now I know what your first thoughts are, they have been echoed to me by many "students cooking your tea... I don't know about that, what happens if you get food poisoning, wine on your lap, gravy down your back etc etc." First of all the students are supervised and second of all their not idiots and totally incompetent, at least not by this point in the year (joking!!). 

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Countess of York - Afternoon Tea at The National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum is one of the attractions in York that isn't completely extortionate in price, in fact it's free.... although donations are welcome (suggested at £5 per person). I've visited the railway museum before, albeit a few years ago now, but never did I know that inside there was a rather special place to enjoy afternoon tea.

The countess of York is a refurbished dining car that can be booked for afternoon tea or group events, I was lucky enough to be invited by the National Railway Museum to try out their afternoon tea. Not one to say no to afternoon tea or a leisurely trip to York I hopped on the chance to go.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Missoula Montana Bar and Grill - York

Missoula York wasn't exactly on my radar but a trip to York for leisure reasons (not work) was well overdue, so when they invited me to come and try their menu I was glad to help out. Missoula is a chain that isn't present in Leeds (hard to believe I know!) but they have six bars in other cities and three bar and grills (aka they serve food too) in other cities too. York is one of the lucky three.

My pre-visit impressions were created by the name having no knowledge of them before, it was clearly an American food themed bar and grill (Missoula being in Montana in America) and perhaps a lively night spot as it came with 'bar' in the name and it is fairly close to other bar and restaurants in York.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Swine That Dines - Leeds

The Swine That Dines is spin-off of The Greedy Pig, for those of you haven’t heard of the Greedy Pig they are a small establishment on North Street (near The Reliance) who serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. Their daytime offerings are some of the best around, you’re lucky if you can get a seat at the weekend but their real passion for food shines through in their not-so-new concept The Swine That Dines.

The Swine That Dines sees the humble breakfast and sandwich shop turn in to dining room at night (Thursday,Friday and Saturday) with an infamous waiter (in the blogging world) and serving small plates of the highest standard. The Swine That Dines is famous in my Twitter-world but as soon as I step out of that world no one has heard of them, and that’s a shame because everyone should be shouting about them.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

D&D London (The Makers of Angelica and Crafthouse) Launch New Wine Collection

D&D are the owners of both Angelica and Crafthouse which sit in Trinity Leeds and in addition to this they also own a fair few restaurants and bars in London (hence the name). They market themselves as a more upmarket bar and restaurant with the food somewhere inbetween fine and casual dining.

As with many large restaurants and restaurant groups they have a sommelier or two or three... their job is to pick and chose the wines to serve in the restaurants and bars (I'm probably teaching a few of you how to suck eggs but bear with me). D&D's sommeliers have gone a little further and were sent away to vineyards in France to create a special 'D&D Blend'. After much testing, arguing, disagreeing, feedback from the wineries they finally settled on one white and one red.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Khana Bombay Cafe - Headingley, Leeds

Please note this establishment is now closed. 

Khana Bombay popped up in Headingley some time at the beginning of the year, they had an opening party where they invited the local bloggers and then promoted themselves by offering 50% off food. I hadn't managed to find the time to benefit from the 50% and so when my housemate was struggling to find somewhere 'new' (to her) to go for her birthday I suggested a trip in to Headingley rather than Leeds city centre (again).

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Mugen Tea House - Sheffield

Just when you think spring is on its way Mother Nature loudly declares 'only kidding' and showers you with snow. This happened to me when working in our Sheffield office, I was hoping to venture out in to sunny Sheffield and enjoy the best of the best lunches... but once the snow turned I headed for the nearest place. That place was (apart from Sainsbury's) Mugen Tea House.

Mugen Tea House is situated in 'The Hide' which is an events and art exhibition on Scotland Street. They opened last year and things seemed a little quiet when I appeared one Tuesday lunchtime. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

Gaucho Steak Masterclass

I love steak. This is a fact. I don't love eating steak at restaurants. This is also a fact. I am always disappointed when I eat steak in restaurants and the like, there is always something wrong, it is never quite perfect. D thinks that I make the best steaks at home and although they don't always reach perfection more often than not they do tend to beat those that I eat in other people's dining rooms.

One of the main problems I have when eating steak in restaurants is that they all seem to have differing ideas of what medium and medium rare is, this extends to countries also. Brussels air on the rare side whereas Croatian's tend to leave it on the grill a bit longer for that more well done taste. It's a mine field. It's not often I put myself through the torment unless there really isn't anything else on the menu that I fancy. Due to the uncertainty if I've never had a steak in said restaurant I will always proceed with caution and order my steak medium.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Banyan Bar - 2 City Sqaure Leeds

Banyan is the fourth of it's kind to open, with York, Harrogate and Manchester already having one placed firmly in their cities. It takes over the spot in City Square's old post office that used to house Loch Fyne. According to my sources there was a fierce battle over this spot between Arc Inspirations (who own Banyan) a local Indian restaurant chain and another big national chain. Locality won out as Arc Inspirations who are a Leeds based company won the spot.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Little Toyko - Leeds City Centre (revisited)

I never set out to review Little Tokyo, as a rule (unless it's specifically requested) I don't blog about birthday meals... but with shoddy service and the camera in my bag almost screaming out at me I couldn't resist taking a few snaps so I could later rant on social media. 

I was going to leave it at just a post across social media but it sparked a few conversations and I realised that my views of Little Tokyo really have changed since that first time I visited way back in 2012. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Cielo Coffee House - Leeds City Centre

I wrote previously about the Cielo coffee house that is based in Garforth, they're a social enterprise which seeks to not only pump cash in to the local community but also the community in which they buy their coffee from.

They have a soft spot on my heart as they started life in my home town, helped keep the local library open and then moved to a bigger place and set up their own in-house micro roastery. They also keep the local teens in jobs too.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Blue Pig - Northern Quarter Manchester

Manchester, it’s a funny one. As a city it feels like we’re (Leeds) always comparing ourselves against that bigger northern city across the Pennines. When someone or something chooses us over ‘them’ we cheer our victories. Do they compare themselves against us?

I rarely go over to Manchester these days and when I do I'm usually going to see a gig. I always get excited when visiting other cities as it means I can do some research and (hopefully) find some really great places to eat. I struggle with Manchester every time. I think this is combined with the fact that I'm going to gigs, therefore I'm looking for casual dining and I just want something a little bit different than what I can find in Leeds. Manchester (I'm told) has an abundance of fine dining restaurants, but they don’t really suit when you’re dressed in jeans and a band t-shirt. It also has a lot of chains, they’re all over the main shopping districts and more often than not they’re the same chains that we have here in Leeds… I'm not going to venture over to Manchester to eat something I could eat at home.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Iberica - Leeds

It feels like everyone is talking about Iberica. There are pictures of their toilets flying all over the internet, granted they're pretty spectacular toilets but never before have I seen a place famed so much for its toilets (forgetting the sexist incident in Almost Famous...).

Iberica is situated on East Parade in Leeds city centre, in the financial and legal district of town. The owners have taken over Hepper House a grade II listed purpose built auction house that was in serious need of rejuvenation to make the most out of this beautiful building (see the before pictures here). 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Skyr Yoghurt - A taste of Iceland made in Yorkshire

Have I mentioned that I went on holiday to Iceland and absolutely loved it? Well the word seems to be getting out that I am fanatical about all things Iceland as I was contacted by Hesper Farm in Skipton to review their Iceland yogurt - Skyr.

So what is Skyr and why is different from regular yogurt? Well it is much thicker than regular yogurt, it is high in protein, contains less sugar, high in calcium and is naturally 0% fat. Win win if you're on a bikini diet (I'm not but I'm playing with the idea).

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Malton - Yorkshire's Food Destination

If you have a passionate for food you need to visit Malton.

North East of York it's not as far as you'd think, just a 50 minute train ride or an hour in the car from Leeds and you're transported in to the glorious Yorkshire countryside and in to the fantastic world of independent and artisan food producers.

This small town is a buzzing hive of foodie activity. No matter what time of year, month or day you go there is bound to be something happening in this tiny little Yorkshire town.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Takk Coffee House - Northern Quarter Manchester

It's been three months and I'm still hopelessly in love with Iceland, I just can't get over the heartbreak of leaving such a beautiful country when our holiday ended. When I heard some guys in Manchester where trying to bring Icelandic coffee culture to Manchester it became a sure fire hit on my to go list. 

Takk is a Nordic style coffee house. Nordic is in right now (if you didn't get them memo) so it might just look like another hipster coffeehouse to the naked eye or uneducated but look a little deeper and you'll find Nordic style espresso and an open working space typical of those in Reykjavik.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Leeds Indie Food Festival Returns in 2016 - My Top Picks

Following the success of last years' Leeds Indie Food Festival they return again in 2016 with more contributors, more events and more discounts for passport holders it would be a crime for any food lover not to get involved.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Simple and Cheap Midweek Meals - Chorizo and Kale Hash

Everyone wants something quick and easy to cook midweek, especially if you have a busy life after the working day ends too.

This is the first in a series of recipes I'll be posting that are quick, cheap and delicious (or at least I think they are!) once more have been posted you'll be able to find them by clicking on the label 'midweek meals' or if you've subscribed by email you will receive an email each time a new recipe is posted alongside my regular posts.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Buca Di Pizza (unlimited pizza and prosecco deal) - Wellington Street, Leeds

I'd heard and seen a few things about Buca Di Pizza on social media, it hasn't been massively over-hyped or yelled about too much and it hadn't made it on my 'places to go' list... until I was told about their £20 all you can eat Pizza and Prosecco deal, which catapulted it to the top of my eating agenda; a table was booked for three at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Veeno Wine Tasting - Leeds

Veeno is located on Duncan Street (the street running below Briggate) in Leeds. It has a rather unassuming frontage but inside there is delight to be found. Veeno serves Sicillian wines alongside authentic Italian spuntini (sharing platters). The wine served is specially selected from the founder's (or one of) family vineyard bringing the grape straight to your glass, in their words not mine. Intrigued by the family vineyard I've had a curious glance over some pictures and to me it looks like the Italian dream, fields of vines and white buildings casting shadows in the sunset. I can imagine sitting outside drinking away many a summer evening... perhaps why I shouldn't own my own vineyard.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

La Bottega Milanese - Bond Court, Leeds City Centre

I have visited Bottega countless times, their place in Bond Court more so than their place in The Light, mainly because it's the closest place to my work that sells decent coffee. You're surrounded by chain coffee shops in Leeds no matter where you go, in a 200 yard radius around where I work you will find two Caffe Neros, Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Pret a Manager and various other places you can get substandard coffee from. I think you'll find this is the same in most cities and probably most towns too.

Since quick starting my coffee education at Laynes Espresso I now know why chain coffee tastes so crap, a combination of things namely poor beans, over roasting and a lack of attention to detail... and dare I say it, passion?

So what does Bottega do right that the chains are doing wrong?

Monday, 7 March 2016

Sunday Lunch at The Tetley - Leeds

I'm not sure why I keep doing this to myself, and by 'this' I mean going out for Sunday lunch when there is a perfectly good roast waiting at my dad's house for me every Sunday. I'm left feeling dissatisfied and a little robbed if I'm honest.

I'd heard mixed reviews about The Tetley but I was hoping that it was down to some sort of teething problems and they had the experience under their belt now to serve a decent meal. They have a great space to work with and hopefully provide some fantastic food, but unfortunately their concepts seem to be a bit too out there for general folk (me included - read on). We found ourselves in the general area and also rather hungry so we thought we'd give them a go and seen as it was Sunday put their roast to the test.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Piccolino - Ilkley, West Yorkshire

The last time I visited Piccolino was on a disastrous date in 2009, the guy turned up in a long leather jacket and pasty white vitamin B deficiency skin, I was almost certain he was a vampire. The meal was long and boring, I couldn't tell you what I ordered and when the bill came to £50 I gladly took up his offer of him paying (I was just fresh out of uni and debt laden after all).

Hop and skip a few years and I never revisited Piccolino, traveling and discovering a food scene in Leeds I never knew existed had shied me away from chains and a left me forgetting about long standing establishments. Piccolino was back on my radar after a sweet tweet from Carlotta the Sales and Events Manager at Piccolino Ilkley, they have a new roof terrace that they wanted me to see. Ilkley is a one of my favourite places to visit on a weekend, if I could afford a house there (that isn't a pokey flat) I'd happily settle there too. I love the moors and I love the quirky town centre, therefore I wasn't going to pass up the chance to for a relaxing Saturday lunch and stroll on the moors afterwards.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Prezzo - The Light, Leeds City Centre

Prezzo has over 200 restaurants but I’d honestly never heard of them (or perhaps noticed them) until they arrived in the Light. Prezzo lies at the bottom of the escalator that I use when exiting the gym, I’m usually ravishing and stare longingly at the pizza and pasta being eaten or advertised. I’m surprised I’ve held off visiting for so long.

As a food blogger you’re not exactly ‘praised’ for going to chain restaurants, they’re often seen as the enemy taking away the custom from the local independents, but I guess we forget that at one time they were probably a local independent too. Despite the ‘foodie’ (a term I use loosely) world frowning upon chains they are still very popular with regular folk, they offer a sense of security for most and not only this, people actually like their food (shock horror).

Monday, 15 February 2016

The Deer Park - Roundhay, Leeds

I’ve written previously about the Deer Park, more specifically about their Sunday lunch option. I mentioned in my last post that I have eaten at the Deer Park a few times but had never blogged about it. The food has always been relatively expensive for what it is especially when ordering the lamb dish (as I normally do) which costs near to £20. The previous head chef is a friend of D’s and whilst under his care I never had a bad meal here. We returned last weekend to have one of the worst meals I’ve had since… well probably since Bar Soba if I’m being honest.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Leeds Kirkgate Market - The Next Generation - Food Hall and Artisan Food Producers

Picture Courtesy of Leeds City Council

I’ve been visiting Leeds Kirkgate Market for as long as I can remember. Some of the stalls I loved the most have gone but thankfully some of them still remain. I remember holding my nose as I was dragged through the fish market, I remember the lady who hung around on the steps with the long hair, I check in to the pets shop to see if they have any kittens and wish that I could have one, I enjoy handing over my list of ingredients which I have no idea what they are to the Indian lady on my favourite Indian produce stall, I buy soy sauce in bulk at a cheaper price from the small Chinese supermarkets whilst staring avidly at the strange ingredients that look like insects (perhaps they are). It’s fair to say the market is like an old friend to me. 

Friday, 12 February 2016

Afternoon Tea at Oulton Hall - Oulton, Leeds

Afternoon tea is a sweet luxury that is enjoyed by many, whether it is for some mother and daughter(s) bonding, girlfriends catching up or a loved up couple enjoying some extravagance and overdosing on sugar and tea.

I was delighted to be invited to Oulton Hall for afternoon tea, I was intrigued by the bespoke butler service and I was surprised to find that they were more than just a golf course and wedding location.

I'm a bit of a history geek so I did a little research beforehand to find out more about the hall and estate that was (feel free to skip if you find history boring!).

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Black Swan - February 2016 Menu Launch

I'll start by stating that this isn't a review, it's merely a glimpse of Black Swan's new menu. I was invited alongside many, many, many other bloggers to their menu launch last night; hat's off to Black Swan and their PR Company it was a brilliant event and I got to meet some lovely people to boot.

So what can you expect should you take a trip to Black Swan in the next coming months?

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Iceland - A Travel and Food Guide for Beginners

I know six days is a bit of an odd number of days to spend in a country, but if I'm being honest then it was actually 7 nights and 6 days and this was all down to when the cheapest flights were. My head is buzzing with information about Iceland so I thought it prudent to write it down whilst it's still fresh and worth something (perhaps) to somebody. I'd also like to one day be a travel blogger but money and work currently restricts that ambition (hint hint). 

Tapas Barinn - Reykjavik, Iceland

On our final night in Iceland we decided to visit Tapas Barinn, it was the last remaining restaurant on the list (if we discount Dill as we couldn't get a booking during our stay). I'd looked briefly at the menu before travelling and had noticed it to be quite extensive but hadn't really paid much attention to what was on it. Alongside the traditional tapas items such as patatas bravas, Spanish omelette etc you will also find Icelandic inspired tapas such as whale, rotten shark, puffins and some milder dishes.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Stofan Cafe - Reykjavik, Iceland

Not wanting to restrict ourselves to just the one coffee shop, although it was hard not to with a place like Reykjavik Roasters on our doorstep, we ventured to Stofan a less raved about coffee house.

Situated near the harbour it consists of two floors of second hand furniture; it is coffee house by day and bar by night. We'd had a busy morning taking the car to the garage to have four new wheels fitted after we burst one in the snow the night before (who knew if one wheel goes on a four by four all of them have to be replaced). We had no food in the apartment but were desperate to get the tired fixed so headed straight there, a couple of hours later we were hungry and drained we needed coffee and food.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Laundromat Cafe - Reykjavik, Iceland

The Laundromat Cafe appears on many tourist sites, books, apps and other massed produced tourist drivel. It's a laundret that is also a cafe. Kitsch. Quirky. Wacky. Off-the-wall.

To me, it screams TOURIST TRAP  ALERT. It's also situated on one of the main streets in down town Reykjavik sandwiched between Icelandic jumper and novelty magnet shops. It's not the sort of place that appeals to me... however the blogger within me was arguing with the food lover within me. These two persona's often clash, especially when you're a food blogger. Do I forfeit a night of good food for something that will potentially bring in more hits, that most people are bound to visit or want to visit and know more about? Is it really as bad as I think it will be... At the beginning of our trip I was adamant I wasn't going to go, then I kept saying to D "Maybe I should go, for you know, research purposes". All my witterings past D by as when I huffed and finally decided we should go he had no idea what the place was I was talking about despite us walking past it several times a day with me passing comment each and every time.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Ostabudin - Reykjavik, Iceland

On the celebration of the last year of my 20s... wait, should that be the mourning of my last year of my 20s?

It was my birthday.

After a manic few days driving around Iceland in our Dacia Duster I decided that I would like to spend my day of birth in the Blue Lagoon. Who wouldn't want to spend their birthday in a Geothermal spa? I wanted to go somewhere special for my birthday meal but dumbass over here didn't think to book any of the top restaurants before going to Iceland... even on a Sunday they are booked. I do this every time.

Apotek Restaurant - Reykjavik, Iceland

Literally the worst pictures of our Iceland adventure. I'd worn out the camera all day and so had to reluctantly leave at home with its battery on charge. To make things worse we had one of our best meals at Apotek and my pictures really can't do it justice.

We turned up bundled up in jumpers and jeans, with slightly windswept looks on our faces after a day of driving to the South Coast. As we walked through the doors it was clear this was a classy establishment and we were seriously under dressed, I started to threat that we would be turned away either for looking for so scruffy or because there were no tables available, it was a Saturday night after all. Luckily the Icelandic are friendly and seem to care little about what you rolling up wearing, a paying customer is a paying customer after all.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Vegamot Bistro - Reykjavik, Iceland

As with most major European cities you will find a lively and busy night life on a Friday night, Reykjavik is no different. Following two quiet(ish) nights in the city I was surprised to see the city come to life on a Friday evening, the locals had come out of hibernation and were filling up the bars and restaurants. This makes for a great atmosphere but not so great if you haven't predicted this and therefore haven't booked anywhere to eat...