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Bundobust!

Bundobust is OPEN! I know, it officially opened on the 11th July, but I’ve waited to say it for so long, so I’m gonna. It finally happened, with hoards of Leeds folk waiting for this moment for ages, from the looks of it on social media they were RAVENOUS!

Oh….are there some of you unaware of Bundobust? Well, I like to think of Bundobust as a meeting of minds from Prashad – locally and nationally renowned Gujarati restaurant originally from Bradford, now based in Drighlington, and The Sparrow – well known watering hole in Bradford. Serving up Indian vegetarian street food with style and drinks to match.

The team who came up with this gem are Mayur Patel (Prashad) and Mark Husak (The Sparrow), who’ve teased us with their pop-ups at different venues and events. So much so that when they planted the seed of a permanent venture in Leeds city centre, I’m certain a cry of joy could be heard across Leeds, that’s what I like to imagine happened anyway! 

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Following a couple of preview evenings a continuous stream of teasers on social media quickly ensued, and with early reviews praising both food and venue to the hilt, things looked promising and my expectations were high. By the time of the official opening, word had spread like wildfire demonstrated by a street-long queue waiting to get in!! 

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The place is very laid back – walking through the entrance you’re soon surrounded by a jigsaw puzzle of recycled doors, cushions made from sacks once containing rice and dhal, chip board, naked brick walls and also comes with a dose of quirky minimalism combined with a slice of charm.

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The place is a bit tardis-like, as from the street I didn’t expect the amount of square footage it actually has, and comes with an inspired inside/outside space.

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The location could possibly be a stroke of genius; in the centre of town, but far enough from the hustle and bustle of Boar Lane. Maybe like the Northern Quarter, Bundobust’s presence, along with nearby neighbours Friends of Ham and Laynes Espresso will spark the resurgence of this end of town too!

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One thing I immediately noticed walking up to the bar is the signage, I LOVE it!!! This place sets its stall out immediately, with the phrase ‘no beef’ predominately positioned at the bar. 

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They seem to have struck a harmonious chord, with the philosophy of combining craft beers and Indian street food at the heart of Bundobust. Not far off a match made in heaven, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t drink a lot of the stuff!! With this in mind they have a grand selection of handpicked beverages, chosen to pair well with Indian food such as IPA’s and Pilsners. Also great news for those with a gluten intolerance (other half included) Bundobust stock Mongozo, this means they don’t need to miss out either. 

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Being the innovators that they are the team like to experiment, on the bar was a piece of apparatus I hadn’t seen before. Marko informed me it was a Hop Randall which infuses other flavours into beer, such as pineapple and apricot. Even though I’m not the greatest beer or ale drinker by any stretch of the imagination, I may have to sample this at some point!

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For those without a penchant for ale, their wine and cocktail list may tempt you, including the Bhang Lassi which I remember fondly from their Belgrave residential. Nestled amongst the choice of soft drinks is the Indian staple Mango Lassi for non-alcohol drinkers. One thing I was gutted about just because I only spotted it as I was leaving – lovely soothing and warm House Chai, having been introduced to this by a mate, I need to remember to get some next time. A fantastic addition to the drinks menu, these guys really have thought of virtually everything! 

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So what about the food? The food menu or ‘munch’ as they’ve named it is short and concise, 12 items at present, but it’s also well planned as it consists of items which are ideal depending on how hungry you are, whether it be a few snacks to have with their beers, or something more substantial. Marko suggested one small snack with a drink or two, e.g. the Okra fries, for something to accompany it either a samosa-based dish (Bundo Chaat and Bhel Puri) or Bhaji, and for a more filling dish the Dosa, Pethis or Idli Sambhar.

I’d been preparing myself all day for this three courses it was! First the Okra Fries (their memory still echoes from their guest residential at the Belgrave), the Bhaji and Massala Dosa, and to drink a Mango Lassi. The Lassi was perfect for what had been a reasonably warm day, sweet and thick enough to make it incredibly moreish. The addition of the fennel seed and aniseed just makes it come alive and gives it vibrancy.

Mango Lassi
Mango Lassi

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Turn over from ordering to table was pretty reasonable; good news for my rumbling belly.

The Okra Fries are a great snack, perfect for dipping into while sipping on of their specially selected beverages. They are exactly as described on the menu – crisp and spiced.

Okra fries
Okra fries

The bhaji were pretty much perfect – accurately spiced, fried perfectly so they arrived crisp. To complement the bhaji was a tangy sauce, which didn’t play second fiddle and definitely came through nicely. Gotta love fried stuff, in moderation of course!

Onion Gobi Bhaji Bhaji
Onion Gobi Bhaji Bhaji

I love a Massala Dosa, I remember my first at Prashad and this is a smaller version of that. With a crisp, wafer thin rice flour and lentil crepes, the perfect vehicle for the curry it accompanies. A well balanced, all rounder of a dish – lightly spiced curry, the potato and onion are evident and haven’t just disintegrated, the lentil soup brings a little oomph and the coconut chutney does what it’s supposed to and cools it down when required.

Massala Dosa
Massala Dosa
Gone!
Gone!

After all the pop-ups and the hard work, everything has come to fruition and I for one am a HUGE fan. Looking at the response they’ve had it’s obvious I’m one of many!! Bundobust does pose a problem for me though, just the fact that I literally walk up Mill Hill, passed Bundobust every time I come into Leeds may prove lethal, 100% in a good way that is!!

I suppose the saying ‘good things come to those who wait’, would ring true here as the team have delivered big time. If you haven’t been yet, you should go.
The cost of my meal was £15.50. 

I’d definitely recommend Bundobust!!!

Food: Great Indian street food, perfect for sharing or for having all too yourself!!

Service: Staff are lovely and friendly, good at helping with menu choices and food waiting times were very reasonable.

Atmosphere: Good atmosphere, the place had a real buzz even when it was just half full (got there before the after work crowd arrived).

Bundobust
6 Mill Hill  
Leeds
LS1 5DQ
http://www.bundobust.com

 

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Street Feast VII @Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen, Leeds

The second weekend of each month always signals the return of Belgrave Street Feast! I’m sure regular readers know the drill by now, but just in case you don’t this is the deal; independent street food traders from Leeds and its surrounding areas come and feed the masses. There’s always a host of Belgrave regulars doing what they do best, such as Dough Boys, Patty Smith’s, Laynes Espresso, Fish&, Wilson’s Champions Pies. But what draws me back is the variety of new traders they entice each month.

With the other half in tow the aim was to share everything, mainly so I could have a taster of as much food as possible!!!

First course – returning to the Belgrave was Arepa!Arepa!Arepa! who took street feast by storm a few months ago with their brilliant Arepa. They may not be new to The Belgrave, but even the slightest hint that they were returning made them an absolute MUST for me. 

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huhuhu
Butifarra 

One of the best things about the Arepa is the difference in textures – crisp on the outside (courtesy of the hot plate) and soft on the inside, filled with tender pork, which had bags of flavour. It’s basically a delicious handful and even though it’s inevitable a mess is made whilst eating them, it’s well worth it!

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Complimentary lollies!!

Second course - Chaat Cart, we are very lucky in Leeds to have Manjit’s Kitchen, so for me this was always a bit of a comparison to see their take on it. I went for the Samosa Chaat; don’t get me wrong I liked it, but for me it was lacking a little something. I missed a little kick of heat, cool yoghurt and a sprinkling of crisp sev providing texture.

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Samosa Chaat
Samosa Chaat

The Moocher provided us with our third course, after a little research I found out they’re known for being keen foragers and this was reflected in the Ox heart dish which included wild garlic flower. But it was the beef and venison which sang out to us, opting for £3 portions as we were slowly filling up, good job too as they were generously portioned up!  

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Pulled venison
Black IPA beef brisket with celeriac croquette
Beef brisket and celeriac croquettes
Chipotle chilli pulled venison with slaw

It was basically a flatbread sandwich filled with tasty meat that fell apart with ease, and slaw added good crunch and helped cut through the richness in the meat. If I did have a niggle it would be the croquette, which could’ve done with being hot and crisp.

4th course – Fire and Salt BBQ the Taco took our fancy here and was assembled by opening a packet of Doritos, sliced lettuce and chopped tomato were dropped in, along with a squirt of their Jackalope BBQ sauce, then topped with four chunks of ox cheek. The meat was flavourful, but it wasn’t quite melt in the mouth, one of the chunks also had a lot of chewy fat still attached. I liked the tang from the BBQ sauce, whilst the lettuce and tomato did their usual job of keeping it fresh and light.

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BBQ Walking Taco
BBQ Walking Taco

The Caribbean Cafe were found on the roof terrace, these local traders are well known for their base in Kirkgate Market where they are dishing up flavours of the Caribbean. By this time we were pretty much done unfortunately, but I gotta say that the smell of jerk chicken on the hot plate was pretty tempting though!

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Noisette Bakehouse - I always have to leave with something to nibble on and as always the beautifully delightful bakes from Noisette Bakehouse caught my eye. Leaving with the almost legendary Sea salt caramel brownie and Sarah’s new Watermelon gin jellies!

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Watermelon Gin Jelly and Sea Salt Caramel Brownie

There are a couple of other traders who I should mention too, unfortunately I didn’t get chance to see them; Bare Plume and Flavours Found (who are also trading at Trinity Kitchen with Shake Maroc & Roll).

Next month it’s Beacons Festival I think, so I may see you there!

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
1-1a Cross Belgrave Street
Leeds
LS2 8JP
0113 2346160

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Friday night bowling, burgers, subs and laughs @ Roxy Lanes, Leeds

A couple of Friday’s ago, the evening literally played itself out like a tale of two sittings!! It all began with a ‘quick’ curry after work in Wakefield, the intention was to have a starter or two, I really tried to stick to this, but inevitably it ended up becoming a full on curry, oops! A pretty decent one it was too. Then there was the small matter of a quick stop to see the latest Academy Alumni 2014, dressed in all their finery at the Year 11 Prom, it’s always a fantastic occasion seeing the students you teach looking all grown up and celebrating their 5 years becoming young adults. Unfortunately, it could only be a short visit as I’d unwittingly double booked myself and arranged to meet the girls for a catch-up. The plan was to meet at Roxy lanes for a bowling sesh, but stupidly in my haste forgot a much needed pair of socks, so after a quick detour (in the wrong direction) I finally got to our meeting place of Roxy Lanes in Leeds city centre.
Family, work and life in general had made this occasion a very long over-due catch up with my mates, and the older we get the more spread out these occasions become, so it was one I was really looking forward to. Yeah it was a Friday night, and I must admit that an evening of bowling, drinks and a burger wouldn’t normally be my evening of choice for a catch-up, but it made a refreshing change! 

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The location of Roxy Lanes is probably not the most obvious of choices, its entrance is a little unnoticeable being around the corner from Tesco, just off Park Row!

Once inside and up a set of stairs, you arrive into the venue to see an air of the semi-industrial, there’s neon and a street art vibe with four lanes for bowling. Lined up with bowling balls that resemble giant pool balls, we took great delight in having a go with the mahoosive ’15′ white ball which lit up in lots of different colours. I’m such a weakling I could hardly pick it up, let alone launch it down the lane and get a strike. Hey, nevermind it was all part of the fun!!

As we were probably a little giddy and excited, we weren’t observant enough to read the notices advertising their deals, we paid for 1 game (£8 each). Only later did we find out about said deals – drink & bowl – £10, mini eat, drink & bowl – £15 and mega eat, drink & bowl £20. Definitely worth another visit just to make the most of these deal I reckon.

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The plan for me was always to try out Roxy’s menu, and even though I’d had a full curry just a few hours earlier I still wanted to give it a shot! The team at Roxy have got a diner style menu with burgers, pizzas, and what they called grilled subs, more that a grilled panini and ale a selection of starters that would be great for sharing!

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After managing to squeeze in a quick game of bowling, we sat down for a feed. Roxy Lanes has pizza, burgers, grilled subs and a range of starters ideal for sharing. Three of us choose burgers and I went for a grilled meatball sub, all accompanied by cracked black pepper chips. 

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The staff were friendly and very helpful and waiting times for ordering and the food being brought to the table wasn’t overly long. On first appearances the portion sizes looked good and overall we were pretty pleased with our food.  My grilled sub was tasty enough, more like a panini but tasty all the sane! 

The impression we all got was that Roxy Lanes is the place you may go to at the start of the evening, where you can all meet, have a good laugh bowling, a few drinks and a bite to eat to line the stomachs, then head further into town to see what the rest of the evening has in store.
The price for our food (4 people) was £35.80.
I'd recommend Roxy Lanes!

Food: A reasonable choice of food, definitely worth using the deals if you are bowling and want to make an evening out of it!

Service: Pleasant service, decent waiting times.

Atmosphere: Good atmosphere, the place probably benefits from the lively action taking place on the bowling lanes. 

Roxy Lanes

1st Floor
The Podium
Bond St
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 5BQ
0113 322 1781
http://www.roxylanes.co.uk/main-page/4584618104 

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Trinity Kitchen round-up, July!

The newest rotation of Trinity Kitchen traders has happened once again, and it’s doesn’t seem that long since the last time. With the warmer months slowing kicking in, traders have to work harder than ever to entice customers to come into Trinity Kitchen and want them coming back for more. After a couple of visits in their 1st week  I think they’ve got a great bunch of traders in this month. Here’s my round-up taken over two sessions of stuffing my face with basically great street food!

1: Banh Mi Booth – I first tried some of Leeds based Emily Boothroyd’s food at her pop-up at Kirkstall Bridge Inn, and even though I liked it there were definitely areas for development. I’m glad to say she’s been working on her product, especially the bread which was a lot better, crisp on the outside and soft in the centre, the pork also had improved flavour too. A big draw for me is also Gloria, the van, which I think must be one of the best looking vans Trinity has seen to date!

Gloria!
Gloria!

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Char Sui Pork Banh Mi

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Satay Chicken Banh Mi

2: Flavours Found - Lancashire based Flavours Found have brought a little of North Africa to Trinity Kitchen, with their take on flavours of Morocco.  Inspired after a trip there, recipes were learnt and brought back providing the impetus for this venture.

Shake Maroc & Roll

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I tried the Maroc the Kasbah and Chicken Bastilla, both were very enjoyable, the Chicken Bastilla benefitted from being deep fried to order, as its crisp filo pastry encased moist, well flavoured chicken, with plenty of herbs running through it. I can imagine these being popular and given the chance would have ordered many more.

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The Maroc the Kasbah wrap was large and definitely worth the £4.50, watching it being made was a bit of a performance, the man’s definitely a bit of a showman! I did find it a little hard to eat though, as it was filled with beef mince which didn’t always want to stay in the wrap. Maybe beef strips would’ve been better, but then for £4.50 I shouldn’t complain and be so picky. One to definitely return to and try out the rest of the menu!

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Maroc the Kasbah Wrap

3: Indie IcesI’m not ashamed to say it, but I’ve raved on about Mike Tattersall and his Indie Ices for ages, I just love the concept and the product. He’d brought Asha along to Trinity to bring a touch of Indian sparkle to Trinity! With mango lassi, ice cream and waffles on the go it makes the perfect street food for summer. The waffles and blueberry ice cream I had were great, lovely crisp, warm waffles with a delicious homemade ice-cream, topped with a  rose syrup.  

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4: The Cauldron, these guys from the West Country have returned  to Trinity after their first stint last year, I wasn’t lucky enough to try any of their award winning food then, so made a bee-line for them early doors.

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I tried a huge wrap which they kindly filled half and half with pork belly on one side and beef on the other. Using cooking techniques like slow cooking certainly made the meat, as you would expect extremely tender and flavourful. The additional ingredients, such as black pudding were on the money, adding bursts of rich savouriness, whilst freshness was not neglected with the mint yoghurt dressing and fresh slaw and salad. They also make homemade drinks too, e.g. elderflower cordial and pink lemonade, I went for elderflower cordial which was light, refreshing and delicious. I’m looking forward to seeing what specials they come up with over the next few weeks.

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Elderflower cordial
Elderflower cordial

5: Cook It Up – These ladies have brought the humble crumpet to Leeds with a difference, bringing inventive toppings as well as the usual butter and jam to the table. Selling them from the quirky vintage caravan, being a creature of habit went for the sweet crumpets, one with lemon curd and the other with strawberry jam. 

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All the crumpets, lemon curd and jam are homemade, I like them simple and unfussy so this was ideal for me. I liked the taste of the crumpet, but it was a little more doughy and heavier than I was expecting. I’ve only eaten ready made crumpets from the supermarket, never a homemade one so I can only compare it to them. The lemon curd and strawberry jam were both delicious. After speaking to others who’ve tried the savoury toppings they seemed to have gone down very well, making me think I may need to go back and try them again.

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Trinity Kitchen
Albion Street
Leeds
LS1 5AT
0113 3942415

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Simple burgers are back @ Byron Burgers, Leeds

Simple burgers are back with the opening of Byron Burgers!! Orginally from London, Byron Burgers have the philosophy of serving up a more humble hamburger. This was music to the ears as I’m a bit fed up of seeing menus trying to be inventive and going over-board with a multitude of toppings, I prefer burgers which aren’t too fussy, because a great burger doesn’t need it I think.

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A number of months ago when I heard there was another influx of burger joints opening in Leeds, with the likes of Meat Liquor and Byron, amongst others I sighed a heavy sigh. We have so many in Leeds right now and I’m still unsure whether we have enough space and stomach for them all. So, whatever my thoughts and opinions on this, the other half and I went to see if the food was any good, simple as that.

For a while the re-fit for Byron was hidden behind a facade, which when unveiled revealed itself with a modern industrial feel. Lots of vents and pipe work on show, bare walls and the space was bright and open plan. Burgers are prepared and dished up in their open kitchen, surrounded by a marble topped wooden counter it looked great.

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They have a no-frills menu, and I mean it in a completely positive way, keeping it simple and wanting to make the ingredients speak for themselves. As much as that’s a total cliché, its true here. Their burgers are made with Scottish beef, which the server quickly stated from the off that they’d be cooked medium, absolutely fine by us, as that’s the way we like them! For those not wanting a carb heavy meal there’s also the Skinny and a selection of salads to tempt you. To keep the menu interesting they have a special which they change regularly, this months was called the World Cup inspired Ronaldo. 

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After a few minutes of toing and froing we settled on a Byron and Chilli burger with french fries. It wasn’t really busy, so service from staff was quick in terms of ordering and from the kitchen.

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The burgers looked really good; not ridiculously big, everything was in proportion and nothing fell out when you took a bite!

Byron burger

The burger was cooked accurately and was medium as promised, good to see a burger joint delivering in this department. The patty was juicy, had bags of flavour and was well seasoned. I liked the fact that the toppings were kept simple and well considered, such as cheese that was completely melted, no horrible solid bits overhanging the patty, which I do not like. A soft bread bun that mirrors the diameter of the patty, thinly sliced tomato and red onion, crisp lettuce, a decent covering of Byron sauce and finally bacon that was beautifully crisp! Oh, yes I forgot about the fries – crisp, golden and was portioned up well. 

Fries

The other half’s chilli burger was VERY well received; perfect patty, perfectly melted cheese and chopped green chilli providing heat that was definitely noticeable, but not enough to make you breathe fire.

Chilli burger
Chilli burger

However much I wasn’t sure about the place, and whether there are too many burger joints in the city centre, in terms of the food it was great! The other half, whose a bit of a burger connoisseur said they are amongst some of the best he’s had, that’s pretty good going I reckon. 

The total cost for 2 burgers with fries and 2 soft drinks was £29.20, not including a tip. Yeah, it’s not cheap, but it’s definitely amongst the best we’ve had in Leeds. 

I’d recommend Byron Burgers!
Food: Tasty and well cooked. Nice, simple menu that thankfully isn’t pretentious!!
Service: Friendly staff and quick service.
Atmosphere: Even though it wasn’t really busy, there was a nice buzz in the restaurant. I always like an open kitchen, it adds to the feel and character of the place. 
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Byron Burgers
9a Lands Lane
Leeds
LS1 6AW
http://www.byronhamburgers.com

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Tamper: Sellers Wheel – The North’s Coffee Community pt IX, Sheffield

I’m back on the trail hunting out the best independent, artisan coffee purveyors for my series on The North’s Coffee Community, this time in Sheffield with Tamper: Sellers Wheel. Located on Arundel Street near Sheffield Hallam University, Sellers Wheel was opened in August 2013 by Tamper owner Jonathan Perry and Ben Smith of The Hop Box.

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The original Tamper: Westfield Terrace is a place for coffee enthusiasts, with an intimate feel between barista and coffee drinker, while Sellers Wheel has a slightly different vibe. It’s a cafe with a greater emphasis on serving wonderful coffee, but also good food and thoughtfully selected craft beers/ales, which is where Ben’s expertise comes into play.  They’d like Sellers Wheel to be more like a brewery cafe, similar to what you may find in Jonathan’s previous home New Zealand.

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This Grade II listed building was originally a silversmiths workshop based around a courtyard. The place has been stripped back, exposing the original brickwork and comes with a relaxed, semi-industrial feel.

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On entrance into Sellers Wheel I instantly got the feeling that even though this place has good square footage, with a large dining area, the coffee is still very much a big deal here, with their grinders and La Marzocca machine taking centre stage on the counter. Serving coffee to take out and sit-in, they have a concise menu of variations on a theme of espresso, all expertly made. For those wanting something a little cleaner they offer pour overs and Aeropress. There’s even a beautiful cold-brew drip tower on show; slowly dripping feeding away for hours on end (8 hours I think), resulting in a clean beverage that possesses low acidity and is well-balanced – an indication that these guys are serious about their coffee.

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Their single origin coffee of choice comes from London based roasters Ozone. This paired with their La Marzocca machine works well with their beans producing a great shot of espresso.

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I loved the look of the stripped back main cafe area, its rustic wooden benches and seating reminding me of old school chairs; it really suited the space and just seemed to fit.

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To accompany the coffee are an enticing array of baked goods which come from a variety of different sources, such as Wellbeck Bakehouse from Worksop, Sheffield based #brownies and their very own kitchen bakes the carrot cake and Anzac biscuits.

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Sellers Wheel with its extra space is well equipped to host events; such as their monthly supper club – Tamper Late, the last one celebrated Yorkshire produce from local suppliers. It’s also allowed them to demonstrate their culinary talents with food and coffee matching, using different brewing techniques to showcase their favourite single origin coffee in the best way.  Tamper Wind down – allows the perfect opportunity to chill out after work with wine, craft beer and cocktails every Friday. Lastly, Tamper Workshoptheir monthly coffee workshop where they hold cupping sessions and try out new coffees.

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In addition to their main dining room they are fortunate to have what they call the Board Room, available for hire, whether it be for meetings or larger groups who need a bit of space for relaxing, catching up with lunch/dinner from their main menu.

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I couldn’t visit without trying out their menu, they have an extensive breakfast/brunch menu ranging in price from £3.50 – £9. Both being fans of Eggs Benedict, I added extra smoked salmon to mine, whilst the other half went for bacon. I found the service friendly and warm, there’s a lovely relaxed feel to the space and I’d find it very easy to spend a lot of time in there. If only Sellers Wheel was in Leeds!!

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Even though the place had really filled up quite quickly, service from the kitchen was pretty lively and brisk, fantastic as we were both pretty ravenous. I must say that when the plates arrived they looked very pretty indeed, but it’s not all about the aesthetics is it?!

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My dish had the flavours to match its good looks and is one of the best Eggs Benedict’s I’ve had in a while! Perfectly, and I mean perfectly poached eggs, with gloriously runny, golden yolks accompanying the hollandaise to sauce the dish. The hollandaise was deliciously smooth, but not too rich and clawing as it can be sometimes. The addition of a hash brown was a pleasant surprise, lovely and crisp adding extra texture and flavour. Plenty of metallic spinach and a vibrant red pepper sauce made it a fantastic mid-morning meal. I say ‘meal’ because it was a decent size.

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Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon

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At £8.50, possibly a bit more pricey than your bog standard Eggs Benedict, but this wasn’t bog-standard, ours had additional extras – spinach, pepper sauce, hash brown, micro herbs and salmon making it well worth the price. Zero complaints on the opposite side of the table, during my usual need to take tonnes of photos before eating, (it’s a wonder that I actually eat), he’d already wolfed down nearly half of his, especially commenting on the crisp, salty bacon in a big way! A great way to set yourself up for the day ahead! 

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Eggs Benedict with extra bacon

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A lovely cafe which I think is a bit of an all-rounder, somewhere that has great coffee, food, drinks, is pleasing on the eye and an ideal place to spend time any time of the day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea and dinner! In the future Tamper may start holding training courses for barista, possibly masterclasses, whatever avenue they choose to follow I’m sure it’ll match the high standard they’ve already set themselves!

Do you know of any fantastic independent coffee establishments that I’ve not visited yet in the area? I’d love to know if you have any recommendations!

Tamper Sellers Wheel
Arundel St
Sheffield
South Yorkshire
S1 2N
0114 2757970
http://tampercoffee.co.uk

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Bird & Beast Chicken dinner, Leeds

Bird and Beast is a new restaurant that will hopefully liven up the Central Arcade, set up by chef Simon Shaw who runs well respected El Gato Negro in Ripponden.

As they were promoting their opening with a voucher for 50% off food, the other half and I went a few weeks ago with voucher in hand. It would’ve been rude not to!!  Chicken is something I order very rarely, preferring other forms of meaty options, so I was intrigued to see their take on it. 

Their ethos is pretty straightforward; to serve the humble chicken by using locally sourced free-range birds, treating them simply and using the rotisserie to build flavour. Why chicken? The idea was born from difficulty in finding somewhere that served great chicken when dining out. Great idea!!!

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Located on the upper level of the arcade, it has two entrances – one from Central Road (near Hifi and Mrs Atha’s) and from inside the arcade. We walked in from the Briggate side, noticing the place fairly empty in terms of businesses, and in turn a little low on footfall.

Approaching the restaurant it has a full glass wall showing the dining room, cleverly bringing in light, I’m assuming that element would be much needed considering it’s located at the end of the arcade. 

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With its open kitchen the place has a relaxed feel, the rotisserie having pride of place in full view of the dining room. We were offered a choice of tables to sit at, we chose to sit along the side of the room to get a better aspect, but in hindsight we should’ve sat at the counter to get en eyeful of chickens cooking on the rotisserie and watch them being carved up. I’ll leave that for next time!

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From the menu it’s obvious to see that it’s ALL about the humble chicken,  it can be ordered quartered, half or whole (£5-15.50). Non-meat-eaters could easily be excluded from this place, but with a selection of summer salads (£6.96 – £8.95) as a main course or for sharing this is their way of fulfilling the brief. Changing the salads on a regular basis to keep it seasonal was a nice touch. Other side orders to accompany your meal like fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw are available too (£2.75 – £3.25).

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They proudly state that the chickens are free-range and sourced locally from well known Sykes House Farm, in the Yorkshire Wolds. The birds are treated with care, double marinated before being cooked in an oven to keep the bird as moist as possible. A final flourish on the spit using cherry wood chips and charcoal provides the birds with a smoky flavour.

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The other half is a huge fan of roast chicken, especially the breast, no pun intended, whilst I’m a thigh, wings and drumstick kinda girl! Similarly like the crackling on pork belly, I also love chicken skin, I know a lot of people who always leave it, like they would crisp fish skin, but what a waste! I LOVE it!

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Half portion of chicken

It was yummy and crisp and possessed tonnes of flavour from lemon and herbs. I dove in for the wing, it lasted a couple of minutes, altogether delicious, juicy and moist! A definite use your hands moment! The same with the drumstick. Good to see the chicken breast was also moist and the portion size was enough for two people. But as I’m not the quickest of eaters, the other half will testify to that, my chicken breast did go a little dry, so sauces were definitely needed.

Sounds silly but we didn’t actually know any sauces were available as no-one even mentioned them. We only realised when a diner brought some over to their table that they had loads of different types. At the time of our visit it was still early days as a fully functioning restaurant so that can be forgiven, till next time! What surprised me was seeing that ALL the sauces were bought in, no homemade sauces on offer. Fair enough with Heinz and Tabasco etc, but it seemed odd having things like Nandos sauces in the mix, I’m hoping in time they’ll be coming up with their own range. 

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Even though they doesn’t serve starters as such, our sides of fries, sweet potato wedges and corn on the cob was plenty for two. We enjoyed the sweet potato wedges the most, the fries were nice, but think they’d been cooked a little bit before being plated up as they weren’t as crisp as expected and tasted a little flat. The corn on the cob was alright, had a little charring on the side, but was served barely warm, don’t know if this was how they intended it to be, I would have preferred them to be hotter.

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Corn on the cob, fries and sweet potato wedges

With 50% off food, our total bill for two people came to £17 including a tip. 

If I was to visit again I think I’d want to try their Sunday Roast, where beast meets bird with Rib of beef and Belly pork on the menu!

I’d recommend Bird & Beast!

Food: a small, concise menu with a clear aim. Chicken, being the star of the show is allowed to be just that and was tasty. Shame you can’t just order the wings and drums etc, just saying that because they are my favourite bits. Portion sizes and prices are reasonable too.

Service: ordering food took a little while as staff were still finding their feet. Turnover in the kitchen was fairly swift. Staff were overall friendly and helpful, but need to remember to tell diners about the sauces though! 

Atmosphere: lovely, great looking space. Music in the background is the right volume so you can have a conversation even when it’s full. 

It was a number of weeks since we visited Bird & Beast, so I’m hoping any little niggles of mine have had chance to get ironed out.

Bird & Beast
Central Arcade
Central Road
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 6DX
0113 245 3348

A Leeds based food blog written by a girl from Wales who enjoys good food and wine.

JACK MONROE:

COOK. CAMPAIGNER. COLUMNIST. MOTHER. AUTHOR. GIRLFRIEND. IMP.

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