Hoxton North Espresso and Brew Bar, Harrogate

Recently I wrote a piece on North Star Micro Roasters Inaugural Cupping Eventwell soon after I was contacted by Hoxton North Espresso and Brew Bar who happen to be friends with North Star. They had seen my blog review and invited me to check out their new place. Trying to develop my tastes in coffee further and always loving Harrogate, I thought why not, so I combined it with meeting a mate and got the train from Headingley train station. I’d forgotten how easy it is to get the train from Leeds to Harrogate, normally I would just drive but this is quicker, less hassle and possibly cheaper, my return ticket was only £6-7 (half of a duo ticket with a friend).


Hoxton North Espresso and Brew Bar is an independent specialist coffee shop, located on Parliament Street serving espresso, filter based coffee and also whole or ground beans for use at home. The origin of the name comes from Hoxton, the district in the East End of London, situated in the heart of Shoreditch. Owners, husband and wife team Timothy and Victoria Bosworth, both originally from Yorkshire, have spent the last ten years in London where Shoreditch has become a hot spot for great food, bars and cafe culture. They wanted to bring that passion and lifestyle back to the North of England so opened this shop earlier in October.

Hoxton North is located in a Grade II listed building which dates back to the Edwardian 1920s, so the team had to maintain the original features, such as timber panelling, architraves and mirrors are from a previous shop that inhabited the space called Louis Cope. Louis Cope sold fashionable items, such as robes, lingerie, fur coats, bags and shoes to wealthy tourists and locals. As soon as I walked in I thought it looked gorgeous and I loved the feel of the space, how faithful they’ve been to its original details, and used these as well as their own design ideas with beautiful effect. 




They have designed the space in such a way, with the espresso and brew bar running through the middle of the shop, and want people to use it as a place where they can relax and chat, whether your a Harrogate local or one of the many tourists which visit the place.

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One of the first things I noticed on the counter was the wonderful selection of cakes and sweet treats they have to accompany your drink of choice. Vicky and Tim searched long and hard for top class bakeries which could supply them with the best cakes and pastries to match the quality of their coffees and teas. They seem to have hit the jackpot, from what we tasted anyway!!! Dumouchel, a bakery based in Garforth, Leeds makes the most AMAZING Brioche slice, I secretly didn’t want to divulge which bakery makes it and try to keep it too myself because it was absolutely delicious!!! Incredibly moist with the perfect balance of almond sweetness and sharpness from the raspberries, an inspired bake. We also tried their brownie and a chocolate mocha cake, both very good, even though I’m not much of a chocolate fan they were moist, gooey and had great subtle flavour, in particular the mocha cake from That Old Chestnut, a bakery from Mabgate, Leeds.

Chocolate brownies
Chocolate brownie
Date flapjack
Date flapjack
Huge Pain au raisin
Huge Pain au raisin!!
Brioche slice with raspberry and almond
Brioche slice with raspberry and almond

So what have they got on offer to drink, they specialise in artisan coffees and offer a range that changes according to seasonality. They use hand selected roasters from around the world and have picked out each roaster and farm that they feel is the best in its class or region. Some of their coffee comes from Workshop Coffee Company, who are based in Clerkenwell, London and Origin Coffee Roasters from Cornwall, while their tea comes from Brew Tea Company. That day on their menu they were serving the Origin (F30) Espresso Blends from El Salvador and Nicaragua, and  Workshops Cult of Done (V14) coffee – 100% Ethiopian. Vicky was more than happy to describe these to us and showed an obvious passion about these products.


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We drank our coffees and ate our cakes in their cute snug, which is hidden from normal view at the side of the shop. I loved it in there, it felt intimate, like you were slightly cut off from the rest of the shop. It can hold up to 6 guests and also be reserved for breakfast, lunch or drinks. Our coffees were great, my friend who is a lover of coffee even said it’s the best he’s had. I really enjoyed my latte, normally I find them a little bitter and always need sugar, but this didn’t at all and was wonderful as it was.

The snug
The snug
My Brioche Slice with almond and raspberry from Doumouchel
Brioche Slice with almond and raspberry
YUmmy chocolate Brownie
Chocolate Brownie
Chocolate mocha cake from That Old Chestnut
Chocolate mocha cake 


Being a local, independent shop in the Harrogate community is important to Vicky and Tim, and in the future they would like to host different social events, including coffee tastings, brew bar sessions, pop-up events, book launches, poetry readings, live music sessions to bring the local community together.

I definitely recommend Hoxton North Espresso and Brew Bar, it’s a great place to relax, run by really lovely people. I for one will be visiting every time I’m in Harrogate. It’ll be perfect for going to after I’ve been to the Harrogate Turkish Baths. I can’t wait to visit both, hopefully very soon!!

Hoxton North Espresso and Brew Bar
52 Parliament Street 
North Yorkshire
Opening Hours: Tues – Fri: 8:30am – 5pm Sat: 09:30am – 5pm Sun: 10:00am – 4pm You can follow them on Twitter @hoxtonnorth or facebook. com/hoxtonnorth.

Brooklyn Brewery Pop-up, The Calls, leeds

In the world of craft beer and real ale I’ve recently realised that Leeds is a bit of a hot spot place to go, especially with the likes of Friends of Ham, Brewdog Bar and the new Belgrave Music Hall to name a few. Maybe it’s been happening for a while, especially with the likes of North Bar that’s been around for years and of course Whitelocks, being Leeds oldest pub, who’ve always championed the merits of craft beer and ale. I think I’ve been completely oblivious to it. So I’d read a little bit about one of the derelict buildings on The Calls being used for a Brooklyn Brewery pop-up, and when I was invited by Red’s True Barbecue to do a review, I took up the opportunity immediately. DSC_0717You may ask why the invitation was from Red’s, well Brooklyn Brewery and Red’s have collaborated on a number of events before, e.g. Dead Man’s Feast as part of the Leeds International Beer Festival and Grillstock Festival, so this was another great way of promoting what they are good at, but also in a very cool way! With Red’s being given the task of serving their unholy food, surely it could only be a win win situation??

James from Red’s very kindly showed us the venue, on the way in I noticed a small green letter ‘B’ to the left of the entrance – all very unassuming and easily missed.


To pay they are using a quirky token system, you buy them on entry at the reception desk which is also selling Brooklyn Brewery merchandise (£4.50 for one, £20 for five) and swap them at the bar for your choice of tipple.DSC_0730

Beer tokens!!
Beer tokens!!

I’m not sure what the building looked like before, but we were told they’ve put in a lot of money to make sure it was fit for purpose and get the right ambience and feel of the place. They wanted to have an open, warehouse feel, it’s very minimal inside with bare walls, splashed with old paint, Brooklyn Brewery logos can be seen in different guises – with the logo painted on the main wall or in fantastic neon signage. I loved the ‘B’ logos on textured fibreboard as part of the decor. The minimal style continues at the bar area where all the pumps have been installed onto a big metal corrugated sheet with a basic black display board listing the beverages on offer.



The idea of this pop-up is not be to all singing/all dancing look at me ‘we’re here!’, but to subtly do their own thing, in their own way and so people who already love craft beers or people who, like me don’t know much about this world can try some out and find out for themselves.

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Not being a beer/ale drinker, apart from the odd Belgian fruit beer which I do have a penchant for, I think the last time I drank a pint of beer was probably on a hockey tour, while cheering on my husband’s team in Bridlington many years ago. Even I realised that the choice of beers weren’t the standard ones you would regularly see, you couldn’t see a pale ale, which might normally be considered as a safe bet. Brooklyn Brewery wanted customers to try out their diverse range and basically show them off a little. On arrival at the bar we were greeted by a friendly young man who helped us choose from the list and explained the range to us. I opted for something light and the barman recommended three for me to try out – the Scorcher, Pennant and Cuvee La Boite. After a quick taste of each, all of which were very good I decided on the Scorcher. The Scorcher (#366) is described by Brooklyn Brewery as a ‘hoppy pale ale that’s dry, minerally and fruity on the palate, snappy in the center, and bursting with the citrusy, piney notes that make our new pal 366 so special. It’s got as much hop character as an IPA, but at only 4.5%, Scorcher #366 is eminently sessionable, so you can hang out with it all summer. Scorcher #366 loves lobster, shrimp, and crayfish, but will snarf your nachos and fish tacos without the slightest hesitation. Scorcher #366 prefers charcoal but doesn’t hate on propane. Scorcher #366 is not a snob. Scorcher #366 will have another burger and a hot dog.’ Even for a person who hasn’t drunk beer for years, I have to admit I liked it, it was good!!!

The Brooklyn Scorcher
The Brooklyn Scorcher

In terms of the beers on offer they have on tap: Pennant, Brown Ale, Weisse and Blast! (Perennials), Black Chocolate Stout (Seasonal) and finally Scorcher, Silver Anniversary lager, Cuvee La Boîte (Brewmaster’s Reserve). They also have a selection of large bottles too, with our tokens we purchased the Sorachi Ace, which I was told was very good indeed!!

Teaming up with Reds is a match made in heaven, with their kitchen complete with woodburner smoker and chopped logs a plenty ready to go! I’ve not eaten at Red’s for a few months, not through not wanting too, but I just haven’t had time or the chance. Their menu changes every couple of days and have been feeding people with Red’s staples like their pulled pork, ribs and brisket amongst others.




We both chose the pulled pork sandwich which was really tasty, we’d both been looking forward to this all day and I don’t know why, but I always have a big smile on my face when I get anything from Reds, I think it’s because I’m always really excited about how good it’s gonna be. Well the pork was delicious as anticipated, with enough apple sauce to help cut through the richness of the pork and a lovely crunchy, sharp slaw to give added texture to the tender pork. The glazed bun was lovely and soft and the potato salad was also really good, perfectly cooked potato, creamy with a little whole grain mustard making it just very yummy!! Portion size is NEVER an issue when it comes to Red’s so we were very satisfied, but also very full!!!

North Carolina pulled pork in a glazed bun all covered in apple sauce, slaw and Unholy BBQ sauce with a side of potato salad
North Carolina pulled pork in a glazed bun all covered in apple sauce, slaw and Unholy BBQ sauce with a side of potato salad

I really liked the relaxed feel to the place, its stripped back nature is tailor made for laid back, fun times with friends where you can have a good beer with yummy food. The clientele were a mixed, diverse group of people, more hipster than not, what I sort of expected really. It’s not trying to be something it isn’t. This pop-up is only going to be around for a very short time, Brooklyn Brewery will be gone and the building will be empty by the end of November, so we really need to be making the most of this. Go on, do it!!!


Open Wednesday – Friday, 5pm-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am & Sunday 5pm-10pm.

follow #BrooklynPopUp on Twitter.

The Brooklyn Brewery Pop-Up
22-24 The Calls


Plume restaurant, Matakana, NZ by Joan Edwards

We were in possession of ‘Grabone’ vouchers: Deluxe lunch or dinner with a glass of wine for two for $85 at Plume – one of the winery restaurants in Matakana, a 60 min drive north of Auckland. Along with Waiheke and Kumeu, Matakana is one of the boutique wine-producing areas around Auckland abundant with excellent winery restaurants. A glorious sunny Saturday in Auckland seemed to be the ideal time to take a drive up North and have lunch and we had arranged to go with our friends and their adorable 3-month old baby girl. Embarrassingly, the parents managed to arrive well ahead of schedule while we were running a few minutes late having had nothing to get ready apart from ourselves that morning. I had mistimed the amount of time it takes to drive to Matakana (for future reference: 1hr 5 mins door to door – after speeding over the SH1 toll road).

I had booked the table the day before, initially asking for the 12:30 time slot. However, I had been told that the 12:30 time slot was unavailable but they were able to confirm for 12:45. This 15 min time difference seemed a little petty especially since the well-organised new parents told us they had actually arrived at 12:30 and were greeted (‘Nice to see you again…’ it wasn’t the first time they had taken advantage of the regular Grabone offers) and promptly shown to a table.


The table was outside on Plume’s patio – overlooking the Runner Duck Estate vineyard: perfect on this sunny October day. We were efficiently informed of the vouchers conditions – any main and a dessert from the menu with a choice of the Runner Duck red (a Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend) or white (Pinot Gris) wine. We ordered two of each type of wine between the four of us, along with our choice of main and dessert (a condition of the voucher was this had to be chosen at the same time).

Plume describes its restaurant as ‘fusing the flavours of global kitchens with New Zealand’s own traditional heritage’. I’m not quite sure what this means, but the menu has some tendency towards Asian-style dishes.

We then sat back and enjoyed the company, the wine, the vineyard views and the sunny weather while waiting for our choices to be prepared. The pinot gris was good: light and crisp with delicate fruit flavours, while my husband, not being a big fan of Cabernet Merlot blends finished his glass and ordered the Runner Duck ‘Passion’, a full-bodied Syrah for his next glass.

The mains arrived about an hour later and we were all getting pretty hungry by this point. The new dad had ordered the pork belly – his regular order at Plume and he is a big fan. Not surprising as it looked fantastic – served with rice and wok-tossed vegetables on a banana leaf. He described it simply as ‘stunning’. The new mum had ordered chicken breast – advertised to come with Brussel sprouts but as they were currently out of season, they had been replaced with green beans, and served with mushroom and porcini cream sauce and truffle mash. After dealing with her disappointment at being told there would be no Brussel sprouts when ordering, everything else was good although she thought the truffle element to the mash was not very apparent.

Char sui pork belly with rice and tossed vegetables
Free range chicken with mushroom and porcini cream sauce, truffle mash, green beans and bacon crumbs

The tempura was nicely presented in a Chinese style takeaway box with a pipette of soy sauce and a bamboo steamer containing noodles. It also came with a single Atlantic grilled scallop and wasabi mayonnaise. The tempura consisted of sweet potato and spiced salt tiger prawns. The saltiness was definitely apparent in the tiger prawns, so much so, that I wasn’t sure there was any spice. The wasabi mayonnaise could have also done with more wasabi. The single scallop was grilled to perfection and delicious.

Tempura – sweet potato, spiced salt tiger prawns, Atlantic grilled scallop and wasabi mayonnaise

The husband’s pork belly food envy wasn’t satisfied by the arrival of his roasted briouat of duck breast served with cannellini beans cassoulet, potato gratin and orange sweet and sour sauce. The duck, although tasty enough, didn’t have crispy enough skin for his tastes. However, it was saved by the excellent sweet and sour sauce and the tasty bean cassoulet.

Roasted briouat of duck leg confit, cannellini beans cassoulet, potato gratin, orange sweet and sour sauce

The deserts were churros for the girls – always decadently delicious and served with rich Mexican chocolate sauce. The boys had chocolate fondant (served with an excellent blood orange sorbet and pieces of praline) and a sticky date pudding served with butterscotch sauce (containing unadvertised pecans, unfortunately for the recipient with a mild nut allergy).

Sticky date pudding, butterscotch sauce and poached tamarillos
Chocolate fondant, blood orange sorbet and praline
Churros coated in Barbados and cinnamon sugar, Mexican hot chocolate sauce

Service: Friendly and knowledgeable. Water glasses were kept constantly topped up and orders taken efficiently. Food service was a little slow but not really a complaint since we were able to spend 2.5 glorious hours enjoying the sunshine and vineyard views, and at no point were we made to feel rushed. However, this made the request to delay my booking by 15mins seem a little unnecessary.

Food: Good choice of mains – all well presented. Some of the advertised flavours (other than the salt) could have been a bit more pronounced. No complaints with the pork belly! Plume also serve a selection of small bites and a vineyard platter for sharing.

Prices: We were on a special voucher deal which is good value but, ordinarily, mains are in the $29-$40 range (the pork belly being the cheapest and the duck breast the most expensive) and deserts all at $16.

Wine: Didn’t disappoint, but wine always tastes good in the sunshine at the winery.


Plume, the vineyard restaurant
49a Sharp Road
New Zealand
Phone 09 422 7915


Pho Restaurant @ Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds

Trinity Kitchen has opened and I’d been very kindly invited by Libby Edwards, Head of Marketing from Pho Restaurant to come and meet Stephen and Jules who’d set up the venture. After a trip to Vietnam 10 years ago they fell in love with the food and saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the UK market, opening London’s first Vietnamese street food restaurant in 2005. Since then, they’ve open Pho in a number of different locations in the South, but this is the first in the North of England. Hopefully this will be the spring board for more restaurants in the future up North.

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I’ve only eaten Vietnamese food a few times, a few years ago when Tampopo had a base in Leeds, but most recently in Berlin, where I had a fantastic meal at a great restaurant called Chén Chè Teehaus near Rosenthaler Strasse, so I had an idea of the type of food they might serve here. The Pho team have a real enthusiasm for the food and it really showed, Libby explained their menu and after a chat about my likes and dislikes she selected a range of items for me to try out. After only eating biscuits all day, I was once again looking forward to a good feed. And anyway, I have an excellent excuse (if ever I needed one before), I need to be carb loading for the little matter of running the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday!!!!

From ordering the food to collecting it took a matter of minutes, it all looked really fresh, healthy and tasty. One of the best things about the layout of this street food restaurant is that you can see your food being prepared and cooked as you wait for it. I thought I’d tuck into the hot dishes first – my Mực chiên giòn (squid) and Phở tôm – traditional Vietnamese noodle soup (which Pho specialise in) with prawns.

Mực chiên giòn - tender fried baby squid with a salt, pepper & lime dip and Gỏi cuốn - fresh rice paper summer rolls with herbs, chicken vermicelli & pickle
Mực chiên giòn – tender fried baby squid with a salt, pepper & lime dip and
Gỏi cuốn – fresh rice paper summer rolls with herbs, chicken vermicelli & pickle
Phở tôm: with tiger prawns, a side plate of fresh herbs and a Cranberry and orange juice
Phở tôm: with tiger prawns, a side plate of fresh herbs and a Cranberry and orange juice

Now if you’ve read my blog before, you may already know how much of a squid fan I am. I absolutely love the stuff and this reaffirmed my love for it. Tender and soft, no sign of chewiness, crisp tentacles and with its light, crisp coating had a good mix of textures. Libby said that the dip that accompanies it (a mixture of salt, pepper, chilli, sugar and lime dip) really brings it alive. So listening to the advice from someone in the know, I duly followed her advice and went for it. Oh, she was so right, the dip was fantastic, smacking the senses with sweet, salty, sour and heat all in one hit and were an excellent addition to the squid. image

My bowl of steaming hot Vietnamese noodles was light, with a really fresh flavoured stock, the prawns had that barely opaque appearance showing they were perfectly cooked, juicy and plump. I am also a MASSIVE fan of rice noodles and have worked my way through many plates of the stuff, so I know that on their own they have a neutral flavour, making them an excellent vehicle for taking on other flavours. This is where the accompanying herbs play their part – red chilli, fresh mint, thai basil and coriander all add another dimension to the dish as a whole. When drinking the soup stock you really get a hit of all of these and I personally couldn’t get enough of it. My chicken summer rolls (sorry no picture as I accidentally deleted it, oops) were light, the chicken was juicy and moist and all its partners in crime, the pickle and herbs kept it a very fresh snack with lots of texture from the crisp veg. With the dips of hoisin, peanut and fish sauce, there was plenty to keep it interesting and tasty.



All in all it was a healthy, filling meal with quick service. Lots of choice for carnivores and non-meat eaters alike. Next time I’d love to try the wok fried noodles Phở xào with chicken & prawn.

In terms of prices the sides, starters and salads range from £3.95 – £6.45, whereas noodles or rice dishes are between £5.75 – £8.25. They also have a Pho to go menu too.

Even though I’d been invited to Pho and did not pay for my meal this time, the next time I visit I will be more than happy to pay for it!! I definitely recommend it.

Food: Fresh flavour, well cooked.

Service: Brisk, staff friendly (even though it must have been a very long and busy first day).

Pho TK1
Trinity Kitchen
Trinity Leeds
Albion Street


Trinity Kitchen is OPEN @ Trinity Leeds

Trinity Kitchen is finally open to the public after months of anticipation, so I went down on the opening evening to see what all the fuss was about. I must say since Trinity Leeds opened earlier this year, I have had some mixed feelings about the place. It has good and bad points and if I’m honest, I wasn’t really sure what to make of Trinity Kitchen from early reports that I’d read. Bringing street food off the street indoors and setting them up in a food hall, sort of defeats the object, especially since Leeds already has a burgeoning street food scene with the Briggate World Feast etc. But I was really wanting to be impressed and feel that when I left it had all been worth it.

Trinity Kitchen has seven permanent restaurants, bars and cafes, all new to Leeds – Vietnamese Pho restaurant, 360 Champagne and Cocktails Bar, Chips + Fish, Notes CafePizzaLuxe and Tortilla, while a monthly rotation of street food vendors starting with Leeds based award winning Manjit’s Kitchen and The Marvellous Tea Company serving tea and cake from their vintage styled garden shed, Gurmetti selling traditional Italian foccacia and wraps from their three-wheel Piaggio van, London based Big Apple Hot Dogs and Katie & Kim (British Street Food 2013 winners) serving cuisines from all over the world will keep the Trinity Kitchen interesting.

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On arrival to the place I was loving what they had done with the space. Keeping things quite industrial with lots of bare brick walls and concrete columns, pipework and wiring on show. Lots of neon signage, bright colours from street art emblazoned on some of the walls, while other parts made use of the huge windows which look out onto Albion Street. It had a real first day buzz and a fab atmosphere. With the street food vendor carts being transported off the street into the building the place looked fantastic!!



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So what about the food then!!! I’d read on Twitter about how good the custard tarts were from Katie & Kim (British Street Food 2013 winners), I’d fallen in love with the traditional Portuguese custard tart Pastel de nata while on holiday in Lisbon, so I thought that would be a good place to start. It was REALLY yummy, nice crumbly pastry and filled with a gorgeous custard which certainly brought back fond memories of a fantastic holiday. I then had a yummy meal at London based Pho Restaurant (review to come) and even though I was now pretty full, I managed to fit in a dessert with a VERY moreish toffee apple cake from Leeds based The Marvellous Tea Dance Company.

Massive Meringues!!!
Massive Meringues!!!
Pastel de nata
Pastel de nata
Toffee apple cake
Toffee apple cake

DSC_0685At the beginning of this I said I wasn’t sure what to make of Trinity Kitchen and that I was hoping to have my mind changed for the better, I must say I was impressed with what they’ve achieved. Yes it was the first day and there was a great buzz and atmosphere about the place, but I have a feeling this is going to continue and grow and grow. From what I saw, people were loving the food and really enjoying the atmosphere as I was. With the monthly change in the street food vendors being brought in, including some from Leeds, e.g. Fish& things can only get better from what was already a great start!

If you are like me and a bit of a pessimist about the whole thing, give it a try. You might just find you like it a lot and leave with a very full belly!!


Trinity Kitchen
27 Albion St
West Yorkshire