I am currently counting down the days to the OnRoundhay Festival on Saturday 17th September and I’m happy that it’s less than a month away now. Aside from the awesome combo of bands like Wolf Alice, Primal Scream and the mighty James, I am equally excited (OK, it’s food…I’m a lot more excited) about the John Lewis Food Village, which appears to offer a little bit of just about everything to the hungry festival goer. Leeds Indie Food are offering an embarrassment of riches, with Loiner legends Manjit’s Kitchen and Laynes Espresso, alongside a personal favourite of mine, The Madeleine Express, which is basically Noisette Bakehouse on wheels. If you haven’t tried one of Sarah’s cakes, you haven’t lived. The sea salt chocolate brownie is so delectable, you’d sell your granny to get another!
I’m not one to just stay with my tried and tested favourites though. After a lot of dancing and prancing to music, I will definitely be trying dishes from Clawhide, Bánh mì Booth, Yakumama and Piggie Smalls. It also appears to be the year of the ‘shack’ with The Mac Shac, Crabbieshack and Longhorn’s BBQ shack serving up tasty treats…I hope I actually have time to catch the music. There are even more food stalls to choose from…I’ll just have to fast for a week I suppose and then blog about my gluttony after, giving all my gastronomic choices the obligatory shout out. Phew, I feel stuffed already.
And to top that, we have just had the exciting announcement thatOlia Hercules, of Mamushka fame, is going to be part of the Chef line up, joining fellow gastronauts like Murray Wilson ofHorto, Greg Lewis ofPinturaand Simon Jewitt ofNorse, along with other accomplished chefs from far and wide. So much to see and only one day – I’ll make sure to wear my running shoes to get around everything I want to see.
The OnRoundhay Festival marks the long awaited opening of the Leeds’ branch of John Lewis and I, for one, cannot wait! Just another jewel in Leeds’ crown – make this honorary Northerner a bit dewy eyed. Who needs London when you’ve got Leeds?
Leeds Indie Food Festival had been in the planning for 8 months or so, with everything to come to fruition for 18 days of literally what was to become a feast for the senses full stop. With plenty for our eyes and ears to be satisfied through art, photography and film, our noses and mouths overwhelmed by food and drink brought together by six trailblazers of Leeds’ independent food and drink scene.
Where did I go on my Leeds Indie Food festival journey?
Well, from not being sure I’d still be in Leeds, with the old house move down south etc, it turned out that I’d be around, but only for snippets and would make do with a few week days scattered here and there and the finale at Leeds Feast, which I was determined not to miss!
A few times I found myself migrating there for breakfast and sweet treats!!! Noisette Bakehouse’s raspberry and pistachio bake with North Star coffee, Leeds Bread Co-op doughnut, Grub and Grog Shops crumpets with local wild flower honey all did the job at one point or another during the festival!
BangWok‘s return to Leeds nicely coincided with the festival, even though I couldn’t make their ‘Boozing and bar snacks’ event, I enjoyed a tasty pad thai lunch, which I reviewedhere.
&Totally Tutti Frutti – The Galleryat Munro House andFood&_exhibited photography by culinary artistsBompas and Parrfrom their Tutti Frutti project, partnered with letterpress and artwork of recipes from Food&.
The Edible Art Exhibition – the ingenious idea of The Tattooed Bakers, this London based duo Eddie Lebeau and Richard Amonwho call themselves ‘cake and food creatives’ aimed to recreate four well known works of art entirely out of cake!! Each piece was made to the exact dimensions of their originals and displayed in Leeds Gallery at Munro House. As well as their part in the Leeds Indie Food festival the exhibition was celebrating the upcoming British Art Show 8 (BAS8), which is to be held in Leeds in October. I wasn’t quick enough to grab a ticket for the cake cutting and eating event that evening, but did get chance to wander in admiration at how they were!! The event had a great buzz about it and had been anticipated as one of the highlights of the festival, it was a brilliant exhibition and hard to believe that each was made from cake or biscuit, especially Damien Hirst’s sheep which I remember seeing at the Tate years ago; the similarity, accuracy and attention to detail was uncanny!!!
The four bakes were versions of pieces by:
Damien Hirst’s ‘Away The Flock’ originally in British Art Show 4 (1995) – which substituted materials like glass, stainless steel, perplex, formaldehyde and of course lamb, for rainbow vanilla sponge, buttercream, icing and raspberry jelly!
Tracey Emin’s ‘No Chance’ shown BAS5 (2000) was traditional shortbread and icing rather than its original appliqué blanket!
Grayson Perry’s amusingly named ‘Mr S*** Sex’ from BAS5 (2000) was made with fruitcake, marzipan, rice paper, gold leaf and icing instead of ceramic, printed paper and acrylic paint.
Finally Sarah Lucas’s ‘Nud Cycladic 14’ BAS7 (2010) was a vegan lemon sponge with vegan vanilla buttercream filling, taking the place of some tights, fluff, wire and a breeze block!
By all accounts the event went down a storm, it wasn’t just a feast for the eyes, but also for the stomach too. I also feel it’s brought a side of the art world to people who weren’t that interested before, by bringing intrigue, excitement and making it easy to understand!
Bundobust – the Indian streetfood kings can do no wrong in my eyes and with 25% off for passport holders, it was a WIN WIN situation regardless of what you order because it’s all so good!!
The last weekend of the festival was brought to a satisfyingly glorious end with Leeds Feast, held at The Tetley.
Harrogate’s Nordic restaurant Norse, who are based in popular Scandinavian cafe haunt Baltzersens, were cooking up the most sophisticated street food I’ve ever tasted I think. All expertly prepared, cooked and plated up by Murray WIlson, it was definitely a special treat and a food highlight for me; fantastic to have them at the feast!
Next up was Yakumama, this twosome have become a bit of a favourite of mine over recent months and I ended up having a hard time settling for one thing – don’t you hate it when it’s too damn difficult to decide?! So, I ended up with an awesome combo of all the things I’ve been accustomed to them – food that’s full of flavour and different textures.
By this time, the other half had arrived from Surrey and wanted meat!! So a quick bump into Ben (Dough Boys/Patty Smith’s etc) he pointed us in the direction of Claw Hide, so off we went, these are based in the North East and had brought flat iron steak to the feast. We fancied the ‘surf & turf’ so I could get the prawns whilst he chowed down on the steak, with a nice garlicky herb salad on freshly made wood-fired flatbread it was really good!!! Both the cooked perfectly prawns and steak were succulent and juicy!!!
Next up a little snack from Bánh mì Booth, the other half fancied some dumpling action, so pork dumplings fitted the bill nicely and tasty they were too.
¡Arepa!¡Arepa!¡Arepa! were back in Leeds with their arepas. The meaty, yet smokey Sobrebarriga arepa was just as tasty as I remembered from Belgrave Feast!!
Finally on the first day I was intrigued by the ‘chicken roll’ that Rita’s were dishing up, I’d heard lots of great things about their Hackney outfit, and after a quick recommendation from Belgrave Music Hall‘s Ash, we made a bee-line for their van. A couple of minutes later I was handed a brown paper bag, OH. MY. GOD. the most glorious mahoosive chicken burger was hidden inside!!! You know when you have an innate feeling just by looking at something, that it’s going to taste incredible – well this did and then some! It may be THE BEST chicken burger I’ve ever had, the thigh meat was incredibly juicy and the crust, golden and crisp, it was sublime!!! The right amount of accompaniments too, not overdoing it on the Sriracha aioli or the salad.
In fact it was so good, the following day it was first thing I recommended to my friend, he was in love after the first bite, and loved it so much he got a second shortly after!!!!
Speaking of Day 2, I had to be a good girl on the Saturday and not eat myself silly as I was heading to The Reliance for a birthday dinner that evening. However, there was still a full day for folk to feast on the best street food around, and not only that, the sun was out and it looked like it would be a fitting finale to the festival.
I’d not had anything from another favourite of mine – Dorshi, as well as their dumplings they’d brought a few new tempters; kimchi udon noodles – I love kimchi so this sounded fantastic and also a new addition to the dumpling fold, filled with lamb, as always with these two – seasonal to boot!!
The noodles were punchy, fiery but not enough to blow your head off, when paired with the dumplings they married well together, Dorshi are so good with their flavours combinations, their dumplings stand proud individually against other strong flavours. It was great to see them back, even if it was for a fleeting amount time.
On what turned out to be a scorcher of a day, we’d really lucked out weather-wise, I didn’t want to imagine if there’d been a down pour?! I needed something to quench my thirst and headed to the beer and cocktail tent, I’m not really a beer drinker and wasn’t really fancying cider either, so went for a summery cocktail instead. They were selling a few different rum based cocktails, including a peach mojito, I went for Rum Punch made with Wray & Nephew rum, it was just what I needed on such a warm day, refreshing with a bit of rum in there to make it interesting!
Of course, I couldn’t have eaten from all the traders, I would’ve needed another day or so to manage that, but from the number of people through the gates and how packed the place was, it’s wasn’t surprising for traders to sell out!!
These are the other traders who were there: Noisette Bakehouse who sold out like hot cakes, brownies were flying off the shelf and as always Sarah came up trumps with her ingenious bakes, including a few Leeds feast specials!
So, even though I only managed a few things out of the 100+ events going on over the 18 days, it was an immensely enjoyable experience and I can’t wait for next year’s event. If this is what Leeds is treated to in its inaugural year, I can only imagine what will be conjured up for 2016!!!!
A couple of weekends ago my life revolved around the Hackney Half marathon, a couple of friends and I had entered the race and the day before was spent trying our best to prepare, basically eating as many carbs as possible!! All in the hopes of being able to trudge around (in my case) the streets in and around Hackney the best we could. Our plan; to spend Saturday carbing up at their home in Chelmsford, then travel to Hackney early Sunday morning for the race. It’s a good job our friends love eating out as much as I do and had a suggestion up their sleeve, a place called A Canteen. An independent family run business that started off as a cafe and moved into larger premises in February. On first impressions, this place wasn’t just a canteen, the space also housed a coffee shop/grocery, a bar and homeware/lifestyle shop! All of this under one roof!
It was soon obvious the place was a popular one, bustling with people, many tables were occupied and staff were bezzing around. Soon informed we could sit at a table, but there’d be a 25 minute wait for food, we took this into consideration, but were happy to wait as reports from their previous base had been good by all accounts.
Drinks were ordered including a Bloody Mary and a few coffees, all arriving in time for our food order to be taken. The place has a varied lunch day menu, whether it be their all-day breakfast, a selection of sandwiches, wraps, salads, bigger plates such as fish and chips, burgers, also pizzas.
For most of us carbing up was the priority so we went for sandwiches and baps, also some extras of roasted squash salad, sweet potato wedges and chips. The drinks were going down well, in particular the Bloody Mary which was very good with a good mix of sourness and spice and the coffee. Made using beans from local roastersTheCoffee Officina, it was excellent and also a lovely surprise!! I remember first enjoying their coffee at a cupping in Leeds’ own La Bottega Milanese a few months ago, liking it so much I brought a bag home.
The space became very full while we waited, virtually all tables became occupied and our waiting time was longer than expected, more than 35 minutes. When our food was brought across, it would’ve been nice for a ‘I’m sorry for the long wait’ sort of comment but nothing. Oh well.
Portion sizes were decent, but there was another wait for the other half’s food (which an apology was given for) – some hiccup because the chef hadn’t paid careful enough attention to his order; asking for a lamb burger with gluten free bread, preferring sliced bread to the focacciait should have been served, as it would’ve been laden with it. Also I found the idea of focaccia being used for a burger an odd choice, I may be wrong, but that’s just my opinion. After all that palaver, the lamb burger ended up being swapped for the Moroccan spiced lamb sandwich instead! When he finally got it, it fell apart as the sliced bread which was soft, a definite plus with gluten free bread broke apart easily when trying to hold/eat it. The lamb itself was well spiced and tasty enough.
Portion wise, I was really happy with mine and there was a similar view across the table. My pork bap came with lots of chips and the bap was filled generously with pulled pork shoulder, stuffing, apple sauce and tomato. On taste, the pork shoulder lacked a little flavour but was moist, it benefitted from the stuffing which did its best to add what was missing. The chips were great, crisp, golden and fluffy on the inside!! After eating it all, I was pretty full and definitely needed a break afterwards.
Overall, I really liked the concept and the cool space they’ve created. The food in general was good, tasty and filling, however there were a couple of niggles which need ironing out, possibly a consequence of how busy they are. The speed of service is an obvious area for improvement, with the potential for a large number of covers to be served at any one time, they found it difficult to keep up the pace. Yes, it was Saturday lunchtime and located in a prime spot, so high numbers would be expected, but to wait ages for food without even a hint of an apology was a bit of a shame, as well as the mess up with the order.
The place has definitely got a lot going for it and tonnes of potential, it’d be good to see how the place improves and develops over the next few months.
You may have heard of a ‘little’ festival that’s celebrating everything food and drink related and coming to our city? Something called Leeds Indie Food Festival that’s coming thick and fast in May?!?! If you’ve been anywhere remotely near the city the last few months, surely you’re aware of this event for all food and drink lovers.
It starts on the 7th May, yes that’s just over four weeks away!! During the two and half week festival a staggering number of events have been crammed in, so much so it’s hard to filter them down to a manageable amount!! I’m gutted because there are so many that I’m not in Leeds for that would be straight on my list.
Don’t get me wrong I’d love to go to every single event, but however much I wish it just simply isn’t possible! However, if money and time were no object these would be on my must go to list:
&Totally Tutti Frutti (7-24th May), FREE
The Noonshine Cafe (7-24th May)
Gorse: A Dinner for Curious Gastronomes (7-9th & 21st – 23rd May)
Think About Food: British Seasonal Eating (9th May)
Meat School North with Cannon & Cannon: the other bits (11th May)
An Evening with the House of Fu-Schnikens (13th May)
Five Course food and wine pairing dinner at The Reliance (14th May), SOLD OUT!
Boozing and Bar Snacks, Thai style at Bang Wok (14th May)
The Wild Eat Pop-up with Olia Hercules (14-16th May)
Mama Girls Polish Milk Bar (16th May)
The Man Behind The Curtain x Laynes Espresso (17th May)
Northern Coffee Guide Book Launch at Leeds Feast (23rd May), FREE
Leeds Feast (22nd/23rd May)
Bundobust presents: the Last Supper at Leeds Feast (23rd May), SOLD OUT!
The last year or so I’ve been following the progress of Sarah Mather’sNoisette Bakehouseand her Madeleine Express whilst they’ve been wooing the Leeds faithful with her award winning bakes. My first memories all came about after searching for gluten free goodies and low and behold they came to the rescue, culminating in meeting Sarah in November 2013 at Brigatte World Feast. Since then I’ve seen her and Madeleine trade at Kirkstall Abbey, Trinity Kitchen, Noonshine at Outlaws, Amazing Graze and other worthy events around Leeds. Her bakes are one of the main attractions when visiting Belgrave Music Hall‘s monthly Street Feast and Laynes Espresso (apart from the coffee of course), with a tour de force spread just perfect to have with your dose of caffeine. Sarah’s also showcased her skills and bakes at the Taste Of London Festival and wowed the judges to win YBF‘s prize for baking and had her desserts on the menu at Tate Modern!!
The business which started off with Sarah’s Citroen H Van Madeleine taking her home baked goods on the road, it’s proved such a huge success they wanted a base to not only bake, but also sell their wares. So, after months of painstakingly developing their Bakehouse space in Robberttown Village, maybe 10 miles from Leeds city centre, their labour of love which was once a former hairdressers was now finally ready to open to the public.
A date of the 1st February was finally set and on a bitterly cold, crisp winter’s morning Noisette Bakehouse opened its doors to the world. I had a feeling it would be a busy one so planned to arrive just as the doors opened, luckily living a few miles away meant it didn’t take very long. As expected there was a warm welcome from a display of eye-poppingly beautiful baked goods and a rapturous hug from the intoxicating smell of buttery, sugary goodness!!! Sarah’s inspiration spans far and wide, using traditional baking techniques, she combines her creativity and innovative recipes with seasonal produce to conjure up everything a sweet tooth may desire!
I’ll apologise from the start as I couldn’t help myself and took far too many photos, but they were hard to resist and I found it virtually impossible. Sorry they just don’t do them justice!!
Locals from Roberttown Village and its neighbours popped in and walked away very happily with the choices, in particular one-time blogger Northern Writes who left with a bit of everything!!! Also Krag, one of the duo that is North Star Micro Roasters who also walked away with a number of goodies in tow.
You’ll see all-time favourites such as *the* Salt Caramel Brownie, Popcorn Cookie Pop and of course Vanilla Madeleines, but as always some newbies on the menu – a Smoked Paprika Cornbread and Cheese & Rye Scones, maybe (probably) others too!
The Noisette Bakehouse team still have plans for the shop space now that the bake space is sorted, maybe a place where customers can enjoy locally roasted North Star coffee whilst leisurely grazing on their pick of the freshest bakes from the oven. Who knows? I’ll be waiting with bated breath to see the next chapter in their journey.
The Bakehouse is open on weekends –
Saturdays 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Sundays 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Hi, I'm Diane and welcome to my blog. I'm currently hopping between Leeds and the South finding the best and the worst in food and drink whilst on my travels. You'll find reviews and recommendations, sometimes the odd thing about running, travel and my life in general.