Sunday, 20 August 2017

Afternoon Tea at Creams British Luxury - Leeds



The Core in Leeds City Centre is an odd shopping centre, it underwent a refurb some years ago chucking out most of their tenants with exception to HMV. Since then I’m told it pushed up rates and it appears to be struggling to fill units. I can recall the days when the glass lift used to go up through the centre, with a small café at the bottom and an overpriced food hall at the top. With Trinity Leeds opening and it seemingly being a more attractive option for stores The Core has slowly been generating another food hall (the previous food hall pre-refurb was the top of the building and was overpriced and a little bit lacklustre), forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seemed to start with the opening of Burger King. Then one by one some more chains have entered the ring and started to open in the once redundant units.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Richard III Hotel - Middleham


Those who know me (or follow me on Instagram) will know that I love a good castle, thankfully I live in Yorkshire and there are a plethora of castles around to visit. I have a Pinterest board set up just for the castles that I want to visit. Middleham Castle had been on my list for some time, so when the chap needed to dust of his car and stretch it’s legs a little I suggested that we take a drive up to Middleham.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Doubletree Hotel (by Hilton) - Leeds City Centre




Despite visiting a Hilton hotel many times I have never actually stayed the night. From what I can gather, the Doubletree brand of the Hilton is a more upmarket, less corporate and more personal (warm) than the run of the mill Hilton hotels. They focus on comfort over convenience and try to make their hotels look attractive and high end.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Lock Kitchen and Bar - Doubletree Hilton - Leeds



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

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

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Tambourine Cafe - Saltaire




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

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Tharavadu Express Lunch - Leeds


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

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The North Star Coffee Shop - Leeds Dock





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

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

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Sky Lounge (Doubletree Hilton) Brunch – Leeds



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

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Trinity Kitchen - July/August 2017 Street Food Line Up



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

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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Prashad - Drighlington




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

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

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Plum & Partridge - Husthwaite, North Yorkshire



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

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Ground House - Stirling (Scotland)



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

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Broomhall Castle - Menstrie (near Stirling, Scotland)



I wanted to book a castle for D's 30th birthday last year, but unfortunately all the castles I'd looked at were hitting the £250 mark per night. This was a little more than I could budget at the time as we were in the process of buying our first house and everything else to put in it too.To make up for a 30th birthday of unpacking boxes I decided that D's 31st was going to be extra special and I planned a trip away to Scotland. I've been to The Highlands before but D hasn't and I just knew he would love it as much as I do. To make sure we saw as much as Scotland as possible we decided to stay in a few locations, it would also break up the long drive from Leeds. On the way back I was debating whether to stay in Edinburgh or Glasgow. I pondered briefly over Stirling. When D saw a picture of the Wallace Monument (he loves Braveheart) it became set in stone that we would stay in Stirling on the way home. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Sociable Folk and The Good Luck Club - Wellington Place, Leeds



If you’re lucky enough to work in Wellington Place then Sociable Folk has probably already been your go to coffee hit for some time. An upcoming area that is undergoing vast (and quick) development it is forming in to quite the forward thinking business district. By this I refer to the grassed areas, deck chairs, the outside seating, the community services, yoga, knitting club and much more. If I was going to set up a business or move my business this would be one of the prime areas I’d look at.

Sociable Folk is a coffee house come café and is currently only open Monday to Friday, unfortunately weekenders haven’t yet found a reason to visit Wellington Place but once they do I expect it will be a nice place for a pre-town pit stop especially if you’re a resident of City Island.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Trinity Kitchen - May/June 2017 Street Food Line Up

This months’ rotation in Trinity Kitchen has to be one of their best line ups yet. Of course this is just my opinion and there are many of my favourites which are not present but there isn’t one place that I would shy away from or not be tempted by in this line up.

So what have you got to look forward to this time?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Chef Zak at Cafe Lulu - Birkenshaw



Birkenshaw. It’s not exactly the place I would associate with gourmet supper clubs and taster menus but last Saturday evening that is where I found myself. In Birkenshaw, in a small café that was open  after hours specifically for a guest chef to come in and serve a gourmet six course Caribbean themed taster menu.

The café in question is Café Lulu, a breakfast and lunch place for locals that are housed in the basement underneath an Indian restaurant. It doesn’t exactly scream gourmet dining experience but I’m interested in unique and different experiences. When we arrived I was and stepped in to their basement and was pleasantly surprised. What greeted me was a very romantic setting of vaulted ceilings, exposed brick, twinkling lights and candle light. Never judge a book by its cover and all that.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Super Lunch Menu at Jamie's Italian - Leeds



I worked out the other day that I haven’t been to Jamie’s Italian for around 7 years. Those 7 years have flown by as I recall when it first opened, the long queues that went down the side of the building on Park Row for people to get in and the hubbub around it opening. It seems a lifetime away and I doubt that a Jamie’s Italian would cause the same excitement 7 years on. So why was it so popular back then? Was Jamie Oliver at the height of his popularity or was there just not that many exciting food places to go in Leeds? I don’t recall Carluccio’s getting the same treatment when they opened on Greek Street (recently closed).

Whatever the reason Jamie’s is still popular with Leeds Folk, perhaps not queueing down Park Row popular but popular enough that you need to book a table on a Friday night or face waiting in the bar for a little while.

Although Jamie’s remains a Firm favourite with weekenders Jamie’s is trying to bring in the mid-weekers with their launch of the new Super Lunch Menu. If you’re on a working lunch you want something speedy, not too heavy and not too pricey. Jamie’s offers 2 courses for £11.95 and three for £13.95, which incidentally is the same deal as Bill’s. So if you fancy something a little lighter (as Bill’s lay on the calories in most of their dishes) or perhaps something a bit more culinary specific i.e. Italian then Jamie’s is a good alternative.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Edison's Coffee - Sheffield



Sheffield is often a city that is overlooked, I feel. It’s strong industrial (steel) heritage has shaped it and nurtured it in to the city it is today but if you’re not from(or live in/near) Sheffield would you choose to go out of your way to eat or drink here?

Speaking to a few friends and colleagues alike they would say no, what does Sheffield have to offer? A few see Sheffield as a student town and with two universities it certainly does have a healthy student population. A few years ago (again my thoughts) Sheffield city centre went through a period of neglect after Meadowhall was built and all focus and footfall was redirected that way. When I was deciding on which university to go, I visited Sheffield and found the city centre very quiet and not a lot of buzz around it, my other comparison being Manchester however.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Le Pain Quotidien - Victoria Gate Leeds



Le Pain Quotidien has restaurants all round the world and in England they have a few restaurants down south. I would deem them fairly well established but they didn’t come to my attention until they landed in Leeds, more specifically Victoria Gate.

Le Pain Quotidien, or 'the daily bread' in English is a Belgian restaurant built on the foundations of a good bakery and serves only organic produce. In Victoria Gate the bakery sits on the ground floor with the restaurant above, for those unaware of its existence I can see how it would be very easy to skip by not realising that upstairs is a beautiful light dining room which is a perfect place to enjoy, breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or possibly a couple glasses of (organic) wine and a charcuterie board.

I urge you to not just skip it by. Le Pain Quotidien is well worth a stop and a look in, let them tempt you upstairs, take a few minutes or hours out of your day to relax and unwind in their charmingly decorated rooms with antique mirrors, ornate flooring and balconies.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Opposite Cafe - Chapel Allerton Leeds



I’ve been to Opposite Café on multiple occasions but never got round to actually blogging about it, which is a massive error on my part because they are wonderful. This post in turn is not about a single experience here but instead a collection of my experiences here.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Giraffe - Manchester Airport Terminal One



Everybody loves going on holiday and if you’re going abroad your holiday usually starts at the airport. Whether it be 4am in the morning or 1pm in the afternoon most people are relaxing their belts and getting in to the holiday spirit.

I’m not one for ‘getting on’ the beer (or bottle of wine as I’ve seen before) at 4am in the morning but I am partial to an airport breakfast/brunch. Leeds airport is wank for this. Sorry for the rather uncouth language, but it sums it up quite perfectly to me. The breakfast options are limited and those that are available are expensive and quite frankly a rip off for the amount of food they serve you.

Manchester is a different story, depending on your terminal. Terminal one in Manchester airport is the closest us Northerners are going to get to Heathrow (which blows your mind if you’ve only ever been to Leeds airport). There are more shops that just Boots the Chemist and there are more food options than Burger King and the Airport’s own attempts at restauranteering. You won’t find many independents but you will find Giraffe.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Yo! Sushi - New Menu



Yo! Sushi isn't just about raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed, if you had asked me a few years ago I would have thought it was. Others still think it is.

So what else does Yo! Sushi have to offer? Firstly there are plenty of vegetarian options, in the traditional sushi sense i.e. pieces of vegetable wrapped in rice and seaweed and in small hot dishes such as noodles. Not only are there hot small vegetarian dishes but there are also meat and fish dishes that come hot too, such as tempura prawns, yaki soba and chicken katsu curry. On top of all this you can get larger bowls of ramen and bento boxes for lunch.

I wrote about Yo! Sushi when it first opened in Trinity Leeds, it was my first experience of Yo! Sushi but it wasn't my last. As with most chain restaurants I had found myself in a rut, I knew what I liked and so I kept ordering the same time and time again. When Yo! Sushi invited me to come and try out their new menu it felt like a good opportunity to try and get me out my rut.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Pride and Produce - Garforth, Leeds

I grew up in Garforth (or G-Town as we called it as 'cool' teens) and to be honest there was never anything that exciting happening, not in food terms anyway. The most popular places to eat in Garforth include an Italian restaurant, the Aagrah Indian restaurant and a Miller and Carter Steakhouse/Pub, which I think may give you some insight in to its culinary offerings.

When I started this blog (in 2011) I was still living Garforth and I tried to review some of the places on offer as objectively as I could but I was never going to find the same standards of restaurants (cafes/coffee etc) as what I could in the city centre. However, when I moved away (typically) things began to change. Garforth got it's first latte art in the form of Cielo, the French bakery started to become more well known, the Italian expanded (not sure if this contributed but worth noting) and one of the many bakeries was replaced with a deli. A deli! How exotic for humble Garforth!

Pride and Produce moved in to town and brought with it avocado on toast, American style pancakes, locally sourced products and an evening bistro. There may be some in town who look on at it wearily and if you are a Garforthite and are still doing this, I urge you not to. Surprise yourself.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Revolucion De Cuba - Bottomless Brunch - Leeds



Prior to visiting Revolucion De Cuba (RDC) I was a bottomless brunch virgin. I've seen it gradually creep up the country from London Town and watched it grow in popularity in the North with more and more establishments jumping on the bandwaggon. When it comes to all you can eat I've never been a fan, mainly because I struggle to get my money's worth. I'm simply not as greedy as my belly thinks I am.

As brunch is almost certainly my favourite meal (it's a shame that it has to be restricted to weekends only, damn you full time job) it was almost a certified bet that I was going to eventually be bottomless brunching. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

200 Degrees - Barista School - Leeds



If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen my pitiful attempts at Latte Art, they are hardly masterpieces and more often than not replicate the sort of view you would see on a psychologists ink blot test.

Admittedly I have attended a barista class before now at Layne’s but Latte Art was a separate class to be followed by the initial introduction, so I struggled on. Always eager to more and thrilled to know that 200 Degrees' barista class included an introduction to Latte Art I gladly accepted an invitation to try them out. There are some overlaps between the introductory classes from Laynes and 200 Degrees however the latter structure their courses a little differently. There is still an introduction on bean-to-cup with additional classes marketed at intermediate and advanced. Despite not going in to as much details as my first class with Laynes I can see the benefit of structuring it in this way, if you're a complete novice and know zero zilch about coffee 200 degrees' introductory course would aimed at the correct level for you.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Norse - Harrogate



Norse has been on my ever growing list of places to visit for sometime, unfortunately I rarely make it to Harrogate and it's a shame because there are some great places to visit in this old Yorkshire Spa Town. As with many tourist hub places there are a lot of chains, something which the local residents have been commenting on recently, however if you do your research you'll find some great independents. To take some of the effort out of that research I present to you Norse.

Norse is very on-trend with their concept, I along with many of the masses are fully embracing Nordic and Scandinavian fashion. This embrace extends past food to my house and my clothing. No I'm not just shopping at Ikea because I've only recently bought a house and therefore too skint to buy from anywhere else (although this is partly the case), I like the combination of simple designs with vintage or 'retro' and this also fits in well with our own style and tastes. Anyway, this isn't a blog about home design it's about food.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Cocktails In The City 2017 - Leeds



Cocktails in the City are in its 5th year of making Leeds blind drunk with their fantastic event. If after all these years you’re still none-the-wiser as to what it is all about then let me tell you: CITC is an annual event that runs around April time on a Thursday (because Thursday is the new Friday) and Friday (because everyone loves Friday) evening. A whole host of national and local bars participate and set up micro-bars in a set location. The location chosen for Leeds is the Town Hall, an iconic building in Leeds and a fabulous events space.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Ricci's Tapas & Cicchetti - Leeds




Ricci’s opened around a similar time that other Tapas restaurants in Leeds open such as Iberica and La Rambla. They’re all located on the same street (ish) in Leeds city centre and they’re all vying for your attention. Iberica already has a reputation in London and Manchester and so Leeds was a natural progression for them, La Rambla is the first of its kind therefore it had a bit of work to do on building its reputation. Ricci’s brings with it the reputation it has founded in Halifax. I don’t know many people who go out in to Halifax for a night out or chose it as an evening meal destination, there are a couple of people however who I know who have been (due to having friends or family in Halifax) who sing it’s praises. So although small Ricci’s does have a reputation to uphold that should bring in some new clientele in Leeds on the back of this.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The Liquorist £5 Lunch - Leeds



Pay Day lunches are one of the things that makes the working month more bearable. There are three criteria for a pay day lunch:

a) location - a half an hour walk across town leaves you no time to eat.

b) cost - it's a lunch with co-workers not the Maharaja's birthday.

c) caterbility - new word, the ability to cater for all.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Mans Market - Leeds



It's not often that you will hear my say I'm going to dine out at a Chinese restaurant, when I told people that is what I was going to do I was met with looks of confusion. Sadly the perception of Chinese restaurants (in Leeds at least) has been formed by the many poor attempts at Chinese food, usually in the shape of all you can eat buffets. I've not always been a food snob and as a hungover teen I frequented a few of said establishments and only changed my mind on eating in them when I saw a member of staff pour water in to the container... to you know, keep the food 'fresh'. 

Anyway, Mans Market isn't a Chinese buffet. I'd seen a few things about it on ol' social media and thought it might be worth a try when friends suggested going somewhere new for our foodie gathering.