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.

My first experience of Pride and Produce was of their bistro and on a rather special occasion too, it was my friend's 30th birthday and we'd booked the whole place out to celebrate. As it was a birthday celebration the big camera was firmly in my bag unless taking pictures of people so iPhone photos it is. I wouldn't normally blog about birthday meals (I mean if it's crap it's just a bit embarrassing really and everyone looks at you as if you've just murdered someone if you pull about a big DSLR camera and start shooting your food when it's someones birthday) but as the meal was such a success I was asked to write a little something, another way to say thanks for being so hospitable and making G's birthday one to remember (for only good reasons!)

Menu options had been given prior to the night, great for the customers who struggle to make their minds up at the table (aka me) and great for the restaurant as it's easier to prepare when catering for such a large group. I noted there only appeared to be one chef cooking that night for around 20 heads! That guy has got amazing time management and organisation skills.

We'd all hidden upstairs out of sight to surprise G as she came in to the restaurant, she must have been wondering where on Earth her husband was taking her for her 30th.... an empty restaurant? Once G had made an appearance we drank fizz and enjoyed canap├ęs until it was ready to eat downstairs. It's worth noting at this point that fizz and all other drinks were brought in to the restaurant as Pride and Produce haven't yet got a licence to sell alcohol.

We were served fresh bread before our starters arrived, I think I spied on their Twitter account that they often buy their bread from Leeds Bread Co-op of which I am very much a fan. I was also very much a fan of the olive bread that was served that night, I'd like to get my hands on some of that for home. A bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and perhaps some olive tapenade with red wine would make a great weekend snack.

I digress.

For starters I had crispy duck egg, chestnut mushrooms, spinach and tarragon sauce.

A nice dish that came together really well, almost brinner like with eggs, mushrooms and hollandaise. There was slight egg snot but not so much that it spoilt the dish for me, the hollandaise had a little too much vinegar for my tastes but otherwise I really enjoyed the dish, the crispiness of the egg was spot on.

D had the pigs cheek braised in dandelion and burdock and served with crispy sage, peal onions and crackling.

Another well presented dish D didn't regret his choice. I had a mouthful and I'm glad to tell you that it was cooked well, broke away at your fork and was full of flavour.

For my main course I had braised ox cheek served with glazed red onion, mushrooms, lardons and cooking liquor.

I wouldn't have normally have chosen a starter and a main that contained mushrooms but the two dishes that stood out to me happened to contain them and it was either have double mushrooms or have double cheek (pigs and ox) as D did. I was surprised at the quantity of cheek that was served, I know it's a cheap cut but so often restaurants tend to scrimp on the meat cheap cut or not. The meat once again was cooked really well, breaking apart at the touch of a fork and well paired with the rest of the ingredients. Potatoes and spring vegetables were distributed across the table and once again there was no scrimping on the veg or fighting over the potatoes, there were plenty for everyone.

My dessert option was the Elderflower pannacotta with Pimm's No. 1 jelly and a raspberry sorbet.

I'm not sure what I was expecting with this dish but I wasn't expecting what was served to me. Presented in a cocktail glass was a layer of the jelly layered with the panncotta and topped with the sortbet. I loved the sorbet and the pannacotta but unfortunately that summer night where I got hopelessly drunk on Pimm's was brought back to the forefront of my mind and I was then unable to eat my jelly. D, who also had the same dessert, had no such inhibitions and by the time I had only made it half way through my pannacotta layer had eaten the entirety of his dessert.

Looking around there were happy faces and empty plates all round. The end of the meal we were served teas, coffees and hot chocolates with delicious truffle brownie bites too.

A special thanks has to go to the staff for making the night go so smoothly. Unfortunately I've been to many places (often much larger and some times part of a chain) which have failed with similar events. If you're planning on organising something special for a large group I would have no hesitation in recommending you speak to Pride and Produce. They did Garforth proud that night.

Happy Birthday G 

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