Amazing Graze returned to Left Bank Leeds, for the second year running at the former St Margaret of Antioch Church last weekend. Wanting to bring street culture to the people of Leeds, the duo behind Manjit’s Kitchen – Michael and Manjit had drafted in great traders to feed the masses, and entertained all ages with art stalls, workshops and performances during the day, and for those wanting to stay into the evening the legendary Stir it Up, local musicians and DJs.
I was itching to get there Saturday morning, dragging the other half along when we were both ravenous for a spot of lunch! The traders on show were ones they’d met along the way since starting their street food adventure, who also happen to serve great food reflecting cuisines around the world.
Our lunch started at Fish& with their twist on fish and chips. Being a creature of habit the other half got a Sharing Box with all three fish batters. A good way to start our Amazing Graze Saturday!
That was just for starters! Our next course was a burger, it just had to be really after hearing Original Fry Up Material were back in Leeds. They’d won the hearts of many and then some during their residency at Trinity Kitchen.
My aim was to try and graze (pardon the pun), to work my way through as many stalls as possible. Yeah, it’s a lot of food but it was worth a try!! I’d been banging on repeatedly how AMAZING OFM‘s burgers were, so I shared a Cheesy burger with the other half. He absolutely LOVES burgers and knows a good one when he tastes one. After being asked what he thought, he quickly admitted they were indeed fantastic and I hadn’t been exaggerating the whole time! For me a great burger needs a soft bun that doesn’t fall apart even at the last bite, a patty made of top quality meat, well seasoned and cooked pink, so it oozes meat juice. Fresh salad, preferably lettuce which is sliced, perfectly melted cheese and just enough sauce to come through, but not detract from other flavours. Well here you have it, have a gander at this!!!
It’d obviously made a lasting impression on the other half, as before we left he got his hands on one of their Bacon Chilli Cheese burgers, which he thought this was EVEN better than the Cheesy burger!!!
Next up was a little something from the organisers of Amazing Graze – Manjit’s Kitchen, who were as usual dishing up their wonderful vegetarian Indian street food.
Since their first appearance on the Leeds street food scene, they’ve built such a loyal following it’s no surprise to see them holding an event with such wonderful traders! Manjit’s well equipped to hold her own against these guys though and I ordered a Samosa Chaat which I’ve eaten many a time, basically because it never fails!! With its multilayering textures, flavours and the pockets of heat you get from chilli, its great at just £4!!
Later I tried some Bhel Puri and Aubergine fritters which both hit the right spots, in particular the Bhel Puri which was full of fresh flavours and great combinations of textures.
Relative newcomers to the street food scene The Grub & Grog Shop were serving up their ‘grub’ with tasty sandwiches, stews and salads, also their own homemade rose lemonade with grapefruit and honey ‘grog’.
I was lucky enough to baggsy the last Flemish beef stew, sharing it with a friend. A few years ago, my best mate and I explored Ghent for the day where I ate the regional dish Carbonade Flamande, which this is loosely based on. I distinctly remember on that occasion in Ghent I found it incredibly intense and rich, so I must admit I was glad this version was less intense as it was certainly the better for it. There was tender beef in a lovely rich gravy, flavoured with beer, the vegetables were soft but still had a touch of bite left.
Other Leeds favourites included Madeleine Bakehouse with their beautifully delicious bakes and sweet treats.
Also newcomer to the street food scene Bánh mì Booth with their Vietnamese Bánh mì sandwich and noodles.
I recently reviewed them at the Kirkstall Bridge Inn which you can read here, but sampled some dumplings here and thought they were good, they had a crisp wrapper exterior filled with well flavoured pork. Very nice! Some No Name veg fritters I found disappointing, they were lovely and crisp, but for me lacked flavour and were a little bland. I did like the satay sauce that accompanied them though and could even be made more peanutty.
Leeds’ own The Greedy Pig showcased their ‘Nose to Tail’ menu, I was very gutted I didn’t manage to get my hands on any. I heard the dishes were pretty special, in particular the Tongue Tacos!!
I tried some of Las Paelleras’ Andalucian Shrimp fritters with aioli dipping sauce. They were crisp and golden, the prawns were well cooked and juicy and I did get a hint of spring onion running through them. The aioli sauces were great and went well with the fritters. My only picky criticism is the fritters were a tad greasy.
Manchester’s Diamonds Dogs with their humongous hotdogs. I have no chance of managing one of these beasts as they are so generous in size, especially once I’ve already started eating other yummy things. Next time I really need to plan ahead and not eat a thing beforehand!
Last but by no means least, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium with her ‘ice-cream for grown-ups’.
I hadn’t realised they were outside until I was leaving so was pretty full by then and had to miss out. On what I’d seen on social media with photos of delectable sweet treats with a difference, I MUST rectify this next time !!
All in all Amazing Graze was a wonderful event for people wanting a relaxing time, eating your way through a number of different delicious cuisines. It’s another example of fantastic collaboration between independents, roll on this time next year!!!
Left Bank Leeds