Sushi Waka revisit

A few weeks ago I’d dined at the recently opened Sushi Waka, and after a mixed review my intention was to revisit, but this time to try out the sushi. I know the idea of sushi may not be to everyone’s taste, and for whatever reason there’s sometimes this preconceived notion that it’s just about raw fish, but it’s so much more than that with enough variety for different preferences. 

I’d arranged to meet a friend for lunch, she’d been under the weather and in dire need of something healthy and nutritious. So being a good girl that day I ordered some soothing green tea, instead of wine which would normally be my tipple, with some edamame to graze on while the sushi was being made.

Japanese food is a cuisine I’ve been a fan of for years, this love only developed more after visiting the country five years ago. Eating sushi at one of the restaurants in the world famous Tsukiji fish market was one of the trips many highlights. The skill these chefs have I remember marvelling at, transfixed by the combination of precision and delicacy whilst working. Being sat at a table we weren’t given the pleasure of watching the sushi chef do his stuff this time, but that doesn’t mean the level of anticipation was any less.

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At Sushi Waka the sushi menu is divided into sashimi, nigiri, sushi rolls in different forms such as futomaki. Then for those wanting a selection, platters may provide a good option taking away the hard decision of choosing. The ever popular Bento box also takes its spot on the menu too; always a good choice if you like miso soup and salad in the mix. 

Edamame were brought over a short time after ordering, all steaming hot and covered in finely milled sea salt. The a short while later along came salmon sashimi, unagi nigiri, tuna hosomaki (thin sushi roll) and king prawn tempura futomaki (thick sushi roll), and the regular accompaniments of soy, daikon, wasabi and pickled ginger.

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The sashimi was characteristically meaty, yet had a melt in the mouth quality about it, the nigiri were great, with vinegared rice loosely moulded by hand and topped with generous slices of eel, they were delicious and I must admit are a favourite of mine. After those delights the highlight was probably the futomaki, filled with crisp tempura king prawn, avocado, cucumber and fish roe were a joy with different textures and tastes. If I was to compare this to other sushi I’ve eaten before, one thing I’d say would be that the precision of some of the rolls wasn’t as immaculate as others I’ve had, with some being made and served a little untidily.

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On the whole it was a highly enjoyable lunch, and I was also pleased to see improved service too, with a better level of communication and little things like having our green tea being regularly refilled a lovely touch. So, if you fancy sushi, this could be the spot we need in Leeds. Try it out! Sushi Waka still had their opening 20% discount for booked tables, so instead of coughing up £26.30 it cost us £21.10, without service. A great option for a healthy meal. 

Sushi Waka

26 New Briggate
Leeds
0113 246 9692

Sushi Waka on Urbanspoon

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New Year food on the cheap!

The coming of the New Year shouldn’t stop us eating out, even though pockets may be a little emptier, there’s still great food to be eaten and enjoyed at a reasonable price. At this time of year, that’s music to my ears, yours too?

Around about the same time last year, I wrote a similar post including some favourites which have now sadly closed (I write with a tear in my eye), including Thai Aroy Dee and El Topo…sad face!

Of course, there are chain restaurants which have menus that can offer choice in terms of price, but Leeds is lucky enough to have many fantastic independents that also feel our pain in terms of having lighter pockets, but also the need for tasty food.

So, where can we get a great feed on a budget?

Nom Deli – great Banh Mi and summer rolls.

Fuji Hiro – Japanese staples, like gyoza, ramen and soba and udon noodles.

Humpit – hummus, falafel and freshly made lemonade.

The Grub and Grog Shop at Northern Monk Refectory – gorgeous breakfast baps, crumpets, homely sandwiches and stews.

Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen – Dough Boys pizza, Patty Smith’s burgers and fries! Dirty burger, dirty burger!!!

Cafe Moor – go here for Shawarma, Borek, Tagines and more.

My Thai – Thai food served by a lovable team!

Bird & Beast – delicious rotisserie chicken with 50% off food (January).

Trinity Kitchen – this month you’ll find street food traders Busan BBQ, Nelly’s Barn, Mama’s Jerk Station, You Doughnut and The Real Junk Food Project.

Shears Yard – fancy a treat for dinner? Well it’s cheaper at half the price this month, as they’ve brought back their 50% off January offer.

I’m sure there are plenty more fantastic Leeds independents which could join the list. If I’ve missed any off, let me know and I’ll add them on!

Fancy combining a tasty feed with other great things to do in Leeds. If so, you should read Amy Elizabeth’s post on Cheap & Free Things to Do in Leeds for loads of ideas. 

Lunch at Bills

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Surrey spending Christmas Day with the other half’s family. Staying a few miles away in Woking, we fancied lunch somewhere on Boxing Day, but found slim pickings in terms of independent restaurants open that day, making it a little tricky with limited options. After a wander around the town centre we noticed one of the Bill’s restaurants. I’d seen them pop up a number of cities of the UK and had heard promising things of their food. So why not?

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I wasn’t overly hungry for a change, so no starter (this time) and a quick once over at the menu pointed me towards the fish finger sandwich!!! Oh I love fish fingers, they remind me of being a child and they’re right up there with the best of sandwiches I reckon. The other half being a little more predictable was seduced by the idea of the burger.

Service was polite and friendly, certainly no evident signs of hungover staff to be seen, with drinks orders being taken quickly. As it was Boxing Day the place was quite busy, but our waiting time wasn’t overly long which is always a good thing!

The skin on fries were tasty,  lightly golden and crisp, but I do wish they’d get rid of the silly containers/baskets they often use. Just put them on the plate! The sandwich was more than enough to satisfy my appetite, the fish fingers were made with chunky pieces of cod and were predictably meaty. Covered in breadcrumbs and paired with rocket and tomato ketchup, I was happy. The only bit that let it down a little was the bread, it was supposed to be toasted, but it was barely-there if you know what I mean. I would’ve preferred it not toasted at all or more noticeably toasted to get the toasty crunch when you take a bite.

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I can’t comment much on the burger, it seemed to be doing the job. Now that I look at my photo the bun is too big for the burger though, the picky diner that I am. Anyway, the other half enjoyed it and that’s what counts, I suppose. 

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Lunch cost us £27.28, including soft drinks and service charge. A little more than I was expecting, but hey ho, it was Christmas. 

Food: a good lunch was had, nothing special but did the job.

Service: decent enough, polite and efficient.

Atmosphere: a fairly busy environment, especially being sat near the area. Music not too loud so you can easily hold a conversation with others. A decent place to take families and large groups.  

Leeds is yet to have a Bill’s restaurant, so I wonder if and when it will get one of its own?

Bill’s

27 Commercial Way

Wolsey Place Centre

Woking, GU21 6XR

Bill's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

My intentions for 2015

This is not so much a food post, but just a general one. I started writing about my intentions for the year, but have snaffled a similar idea to the lovely Amy Elizabeth’s post, just because it looked so much better!! I hope you don’t mind. 

2014 was a year of change for me, it started off with becoming increasingly tired of juggling crazy teaching hours, work load, blogging and life in general, to becoming a part-timer and not being able to blog as much. In my personal life, there has been much change too, with many people who I am very close to that I miss every day, mainly because of life getting in the way and distance. Scattered throughout, there were many amazing things which happened as well, so Iife definitely could’ve been much worse, but there’s always room for improvement.

I’m not one to make resolutions normally, because I’m rubbish at sticking to them plain and simple! However, I must say that I do have the best intentions at the start of a new year to improve though, hopefully I’ll remember not to beat myself up about it if I dont succeed at them all.

At home, eat less junk and cook more.

Run the Berlin marathon, without injuries this time.

Take time to catch up with friends more often, near and far!!

Improve my photography.

Travel more and explore new places.

Listen to advice and take more onboard.

Not to worry too much about blogging all the time, be more choosy and write better. 

Do you have any new year’s resolutions or good intentions to set yourself this year? 

2014 Food Review

2015 beckons and what a year Leeds has had, it’s seen the city and the rest of the county really come to the fore in the UK’s cultural landscape.
On the food front I’ve loved seeing and experiencing a number of wonderful things happen over the last twelve months, here’s a review with a selection of favourites its definitely not a definitive list

  • Belgrave Feast – a bit of a monthly highlight in my food calendar, Ben Davy and the team at The Belgrave seem to deliver exactly what Leeds food folk crave and keep our tastebuds tingling and coming back for more!! I’m looking forward to getting my hands on more delights, like arepa, pork belly gua bao and samosa chaat.
  • Pop-ups: Bundobust and Stuzzi (Belgrave) Banh Mi Booth and Holy Pierogi (Kirkstall Bridge), Strano (Salvos).
  • Being a part of the power of the people, joining many to raise money for the Manjit’s Kitchen crowd funder campaign earlier this year.
  • British Street Food Awards – it was great to see Leeds being put right up there with other big-hitter cities, like London and thought of as the ideal place to hold such an event! What topped it off was seeing Fu-Schnikens win the overall Best Street Food Award!
  • Bundobust – a game changer in many food fans eyes with their heady concoction of Indian street food and craft ales, satisfying the hunger and thirst of many. Ah, love those Okra Fries, Bundo Chaat….!!! 
  • 2 Oxford Place: the first 100% gluten free restaurant in the city, from all reports it’s been a major success and well worth it’s place in the city’s food scene. Somewhere I’ve still not visited, think I’ll need to rectify this at some point!
  • Leeds Indie Bikes: a project which promoted independent business around the city was to become a catalyst for Leeds Indie Food. This trailblazer of a team, six independent food warriors are bringing something much needed to the city!! Bring on May 2015!!
  • Tharavadu – this Keralan restaurant has been wowing virtually every diner they’ve welcomed since opening and I’m not surprised, as the food is mouth-wateringly fantastic!
  • The Grub & Grog Shop – I love it that Jim and Dan, the two-man team behind this outfit have a permanent home for their deliciously, heartwarming and homely food! Find them in Northern Monk Brewery Refectory next to Marshall’s Mill, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 
  • Plaudits for Leeds independents, such as The Reliance, who won over Marina O’Laughlin for just being themselves and Friends of Ham winning Observer Food Monthly award for best place to drink!
  • Stuzzi – love this team; oodles of passion, knowledge and dead lovely people. Cracking Italian food and drink, the people of Harrogate are very lucky!
  • Last but certainly not least – Patty Smith’s burger! THE best burger this city has to offer I reckon. Leeds has many competitors which all vie to be the people’s favourite, but for me and for many others you won’t get much better than these. My go-to burger is the Dirty Burger, aptly named because of its oozy nature and the inevitability of getting it everywhere, however hard you try!

I know there are many more fantastic things that have happened this year that aren’t on my list, the list is certainly not a definitive one and could go and on. Apologies for things which I have forgotten and left off!!

Do you have any favourite and memorable events you have experienced in 2014? What are they?