World feast @ Briggate

The World Feast street food market on Briggate in Leeds city centre was on this weekend. We had a look around all the stalls and there was a good selection out today. Barbecue staples from the Reds team, Jerk chicken from the Carribean Man, Boreks at Musti’s Kitchen were some examples of what was on offer. Not all the usual proprietors were out on Briggate today though, I think some were involved in the Leeds Waterfront festival, e.g. Fish&. At the time I fancied a tasty crepe, so asked for a Mellow Yellow from The Crepe Escape. This is a crepe filled with lemon curd, which I’d never had before, but as I’m a big fan of lemon curd I thought why not!!

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Oh it was LOVELY…freshly made in front of our eyes it was thin, but not too thin so it didn’t collapse. It had the perfect ratio of crispness:doughiness, and for me a prerequisite of a great crepe is the crisp frilly edge, it certainly ticked this box. Filled with a good dollop of lemon curd which went slightly runny from the heat of the crepe. I really could have eaten another one straight away!!!

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Lemon curd crepe
Crepe with oozy lemon curd!!!

Such a tasty bargain for just £3!!!

Next up was I Spice, from Hebden Bridge had pakoras, onion bhaji and homemade chutneys on sale.

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A pot of mixed pakora was just £3.50, with onion bhaji, potato pakora and cauliflower pakora with yoghurt and their homemade hot Yorkshire root chutney. Everything was perfectly cooked, very flavoursome with the right amount of spice, the chutney was hot as expected so the cooling yoghurt was a very welcome addition.

A pot of mixed pakoras, yoghurt and Yorkshire Roxy Root Chutney
A pot of mixed pakoras, yoghurt and Yorkshire Roxy Root Chutney

Another reason why we went was because their products are gluten free, which is a must for my partner in crime! They were excellent value and the little delights really did not last very long at all. They have a regular stall at Kirkstall Deli Market at Kirkstall Abbey, held on the last weekend of every month and are also working with Handpicked Hall in the Grand Arcade to sell their products too.

Yes, don’t get me wrong I love going out for meals, but for street food this yummy at these bargainous prices, come on you’ve got to try them out, you’ll be pleased you did!!

The Crepe Escape
@Crepe_Escape
I Spice 
07722 630 733 
email: ispice@ispice.biz.

 

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Déjà view @ The Golden Bengal, Horsforth

Last Saturday I’d organised to go for a curry with two friends and a toddler. I’d normally go to my local favourite Amaans in Morley, but I wanted try somewhere else and also venture a little further out, rather than my usual or the city centre. Having lived in Kirkstall a number of years ago I knew Horsforth and Cookridge quite well, but hadn’t been to any of the restaurants in a very long time!!! I’d asked for some advice on Twitter and one of the places that kept being tweeted was The Golden Bengal, when I did a bit of research I then suddenly realised I’d been there about 12 years ago when it was called The Golden Gate. On arrival we were greeted very warmly and this really set the tone for our meal. When we sat at our table, I was definitely having a déjà view moment as I was sat in the same seat looking out onto Low Lane that I’d sat in before. The interior is much different to how I remember, much lighter with a more open feel to it.

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The menu as you can imagine is very extensive and with the usual starters and main dishes, they also have some interesting curries in their signature and fusion dishes. After looking through the extensive menu, we were also given some helpful info on the dishes we decided. Our pickle tray arrived with all the customary goodies – zingy lime pickle (a fellow diner really loved it), the onion relish good because the onioniness, if that’s even a word had been tempered down. You can’t go wrong with a decent mango chutney and a very yummy spiced yoghurt dip.

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Our starters arrived and looked great, I surprised myself for not ordering my usual prawn puree, prawn bhuna combo but opted for a Aloo Chaat on purée instead. A huge thing for me this!!! I was glad for once that I didn’t order my usual, the potato was soft with a hint of garlic and the sauce was mildly spiced. The puree was crisp and the ratio of puree to chaat was just right. The other starters also went down a storm and were polished off in a matter of minutes.

Aloo chaat on puree
Aloo chaat on puree
Saag Aloo
Saag Aloo
Shammi kebab
Shammi kebab

Our main courses were brought out and I was looking forward to my prawn bhuna to see it if had changed much from the meal years before. After the first mouthful it felt like I was transported back 12 years, it tasted exactly how I remembered it. Aptly at the end of the meal one of the sisters said that they had the old chef back in the kitchen working his magic. Prawns perfectly cooked and a great tasting sauce, not too much tomato so just right for me. One of the best bhunas I’ve had in a long time!!! Accompaniments of pilau rice and chapattis were just as they should be too. The butter chicken was spot on!! Very moreish, soft chicken with the wonderful creamy sauce. We also ordered a Byngon bhaji and a plain omelette for a toddler. The Byngon bhaji was a lightly spiced aubergine side dish in a mild masala sauce, it was very tasty indeed and a new one for me, but definitely something I’d order again.

Prawn bhuna
Prawn bhuna
Lamb bhuna
Lamb bhuna
Butter chicken
Butter chicken
Byngon bhaji
Byngon bhaji
Plain omelette with chips and salad
Plain omelette with chips and salad

In terms of cost our total bill was £48 for a pickle tray, 3 starters, 4 main courses and lots of accompaniments and side dishes. The restaurant has a bring your own policy which makes it good value for money. Over the years the Golden Bengal had seen many changes, when I first ate here the father of the family, Mr Abdul Rashid ran the restaurant, but after his passing in 2010 his daughters took on the challenge of running the place. Their hard work has really paid off and it was great to be back after all these years. It’s a fab place for friends and families, the staff are very hospitable and really make an effort in welcoming you and making you feel at home. The food is just as good as I remembered it!!

The Golden Bengal
Low Lane
Horsforth
LS18 5NY
0113 2580751
http://www.thegoldenbengal.co.uk

New Leeds city centre kitchen/bar opening soon – Shears Yard

I read not long ago that one of Leeds’ original, independent cafe bars the Art’s Cafe were going to open a new kitchen bar called Shears Yard in The Calls, to be exact in Shears Yard on Wharf Street, which was once the home of Livebait. With the recent sad closure of Anthony’s it really goes to show we must support the independent establishments in Leeds!

Their aim will be for the kitchen to deliver a menu which is essentially seasonal and produce-led, using local suppliers to source their ingredients. The bar with it’s late licence will be offering a mix of cocktails, wine and craft beers, so will hopefully cater for all in terms of the eating and drinking experience.

I for one am very much looking forward this, their latest press release says they are opening in August 2013, so not very long at all! Lets hope Shears Yard can build on the reputation that the Arts Cafe has built over the last 19 years. Fingers crossed!!!

If you want to find out a bit more follow them on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ShearsYard

Italian Sunday lunch @ Zucco, Meanwood

Another jaunt to find good eateries outside of Leeds city centre brought me to Zucco on Meanwood Road, which has been open for a month or so.

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Following advisement from them, I booked a table for Sunday lunch, 12pm for 2 diners and a toddler in tow. The interior is very open, light and airy. Filled with lovely dark wooden tables and chairs, seating at the counter, simple black and white tiling and a wood panelled ceiling. Their menu is short but concise with starter-sized, sharing dishes using the freshest produce they can get that day. I liked how it’s all on the placemat and updated daily depending on the dishes available.

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Our man said 2 or 3 dishes per person would probably be enough, so we ordered a bottle of Prosecco and 7 dishes in all. Everything is cooked to order so we waited a little while, but were more than happy as the Prosecco was flowing nicely and even though we were the only diners in at the time, the atmosphere was still good with the buzz of the place in the background.

I was really impressed by the food, it was all very yummy. My favourites were the Fritto misto, I’m a sucker for deep fried stuff and this was especially good. Lovely crisp squid, little gems of whitebait and a sweet and juicy prawn. Cooked superbly. The baked melanzane (aubergine) was very much a winner in our eyes, lovely and soft, with a delicious tomato sauce and pecorino cheese providing a nice saltiness to the dish. The polpette (I assume from the title of the dish is his grandmother’s recipe) were very juicy and the spaghetti cooked al dente coated in lovely rich tomato sauce. The pizzetta with its thin base topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil you really can’t go wrong!! It’s good to see quality ingredients treated simply and cooked really well.

Fritto misto
Fritto misto
Prosciutto crudo and mixed pickle giardiniera
Prosciutto crudo and mixed pickle giardiniera
Baked melanzane with pecorino
Baked melanzane with pecorino
Nonna's polpette and spaghetti
Nonna’s polpette and spaghetti
Chargrilled zucchini and red pepper salad
Chargrilled zucchini and red pepper salad
Rosemary potatoes
Rosemary potatoes
Pizzetta buffalo mozzarella and tomato
Pizzetta buffalo mozzarella and tomato

The place did fill up a little while we were there with groups of friends and families with children. All with the same idea as us I suspect, wanting a relaxed Sunday lunch. This is exactly what we got, we didn’t feel rushed in the slightest and by the time we realised we’d been there for about 2 hours. It definitely felt like somewhere you could relax with a nice glass of wine, gradually eat your way through the menu while chatting and leisurely watching the world go by.

In other matters, Zucco is a very child-friendly place and its menu is well suited for children. They’ll also do their best to cater for gluten free with prior notice, which is brilliant!! The service is friendly, unfussy and helpful. In terms of cost it was £60 (with tip) for 2 adults and a toddler with wine, pretty good considering the standard of the service and food. I really enjoy a Sunday roast, but I must admit I enjoyed this just as much!!

Zucco
603 Meanwood Road
Leeds
LS6 4AY
0113 2249679
http://zucco.co.uk

A Carnivore’s delight @ Friends of Ham!!

Been looking forward to a friday night catch up with the best mate…Karaoke and yummy food is always a good mix!!! Friends of Ham was on the agenda and can be found on Station Road, near another Leeds favourite Layne’s Espresso. I love the signage that hangs outside and it speaks for itself I think.

Cool signage!!!
Cool signage!!!

This place has become deservedly very popular with city workers, dwellers and foodies, I was hoping it wasn’t too busy when we arrived. Their philosophy is to serve great craft beers and wines with top quality charcuterie, the great thing about the people here is everything on their menu has been selected on purpose because of the quality and flavour of the produce. What’s also really good is they regularly change the products on offer and are also on the look out for trying new things.

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Their menu is broken down into charcuterie, which include the fabulous Iberica Bellota, considered the finest of Iberico hams, Tuscan salamis and Salchichón De Vic, salami-style pork sausage from Catalunya. Cheeses to suit non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike with delights such as Yellison Goat’s cheese from Skipton, N Yorks and a Cornish Yarg, Wild Garlic Leaf or Nettles, a moist cheese from the Duchy of Cornwall’s estate. For snacks they offer olives, pickled chills and snacking salami to name just a few. They also have specials, e.g. the Spanish board and sherry flights too for those who fancy a little tipple to go with their Iberico ham.

We managed to sit downstairs which is a quirky mix of comfy sofas, long wooden chunky tables, stools, benches and farmhouse-style dining chairs. I didn’t want us to lose our seats so I used their free Wifi to peruse their menu online.

Downstairs with the shuffle board game for entertainment
Downstairs with the shuffle board game for entertainment

We eyed up the Leeds Charcuterie board, with extra Jabugo Ibérico (Spanish pata negra) and their wine special Borsao Rosado, a fruity rose from Campo de Borja in Spain. Not normally a rose drinker but I thought with the hams ranging from mild to more robust in flavour this would do nicely.

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Borsao Rosado with fab wine cooler

It didn’t take long for the platters of meat to arrive, oh my to a carnivore they looked beautiful!!! Love it when the ham is sliced thinly and layed out so it can be admired in all of its glory, waiting to be devoured!! Our man explained the order of the hams on the boards and we got started!

Leeds charcuterie board - Coppa, Fennel Salami, Chilli and Black Pepper Salami with bread and cornichons
Leeds charcuterie board – Coppa, Fennel Salami, Chilli and Black Pepper Salami with bread and cornichons
Jabugo Ibérico - Spanish Pata Negra ham
Jabugo Ibérico
– Spanish Pata Negra ham

The Chilli and Black Pepper salami was first, it tasted fab and I loved the peppery heat! Next was a very delicate Fennel Salami with a nice hint of fennel, and finally the Coppa had a lovely mild meaty flavour. Nothing against these 3 yummy delights but our last treat was our favourite, the Jabugo Ibérico, I had to order this extra to the charcuterie board after falling in love with it on a recent visit to Portugal. It comes from Black Iberian pigs where they roam outside, eating acorns. The flavour was amazing, bursting with its natural oils and melt in the mouth layers of fat. We both were trying not to eat really quickly and look like we were scavengers it was so tasty!! Perfectly sliced too which is an absolute must!! The accompaniment of bread and cornichons were good, in particular the cornichons were lovely, slightly crunchy and with just the right acidity.

In matters other than the food there’s always a great atmosphere here. Even on a Friday evening it’s not too loud, so you can put the world to rights if you choose too. The total bill was £33 for 2 people! A great price for high quality produce in a little gem of a place. If you haven’t been yet you’re really missing out!!

I’d give it a 9/10 on all fronts.

4 New Station Street
Leeds
LS1 5DL
0113 242 0275
www.friendsofham.com