My oh my, am I excited about this launch! On the 7th July (press launch) and the 11th July (public launch), Leeds will get to experience the already well established and acclaimed 53 Degrees North, which had risen to attention in the grounds of the Dean Clough building in Halifax, along with the experimental tastes and textures of Ricci’s Tapas and Cicchetti, courtesy of restauranteur Michael Ricci. With the offer of soft shell crab, goats cheese churros and a DJ set from Tom Findlay of Groove Armada, it looks like Leeds will experience what Halifax has held so dear for all this time.
Whilst Ricci’s Tapas and Cicchetti will offer the diner a gourmet range of tasty delights, it sounds like 53 Degrees North will offer the same quality in beverages, with eclectic cocktails, sophisticated mixology and the only place in the UK to offer Estrella Galicia 1906 Reserva Especial on draught. My tastebuds and alcoholic tendencies are tingling at the thought. Blog to come soon…after I’ve slept off the effects of the amazing cocktails.
On the 22nd August, Belgrave Music Hall will be hosting a Wray & Nephew takeover as they bring Jamaica Rum Tings celebration of Jamaican culture to the city’s Northern Quarter. Sounds like it’ll be a great event – it is supposed to be summer after all!! The event will be doing its best to mimic the country’s well known relaxed party vibe with music from DJ’s Toddla T and Daddy G (Massive Attack) playing exclusive Reggae sets with support from MC Serocee, Manchester Sound System Dub Smuggler, London’s Rompa’s & Shepdog and Leeds’ own Reggae Roots & Bass!
There’ll be plenty on offer in terms of liquid refreshments, Wray & Nephew will be bringing along Overproof Rum for their thirst quenching Reggae Rum Punch and there’ll be a Jerk BBQ to satisfy hungry stomachs.
As part of the celebration there’ll be fun and games with Wray’s Drinks Trolley Free Pour Challenge – watching guests try pour a perfect 25ml measure, also a Reggae Rum Punch Relay Race, where teams try and make a Reggae Rum Punch faster than the Jamaican 4x100m relay team’s world record; of course there’s prizes for winners courtesy of Wray & Nephew.
Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum presents: Jamaica Rum Tings – Carnival Warm-Up Party Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds Saturday 22nd August 2015 Rooftop/bar entry 12pm-2am, Gig, 7pm-2am
Advanced ticket prices excluding booking fee: £4 Early Bird, £5 General, £15 Group of 4.
Tickets guarantee entry before 7pm and are available from RA, Ticketweb & Skiddle. Tickets cost more on the door.
With the whole leaving Leeds and moving down south thing going on, I planned a mini food tour to visit some of my favourites in and around the city. The massive choice I had at my disposal made whittling choices down a difficult one, but don’t me wrong, it’s a ‘hardship’ I was happy to take on!! An all day feed calls for a little restraint and careful pacing, especially when you eat as much as I do, the last thing I wanted was to be full to bursting after lunch!
So Friday I dragged a friend round with me to kill two birds with one stone; firstly it gave me a great excuse (not that I really need one) to go visit my faves, secondly I could introduce her to a few spots I constantly talk about.
For breakfast it was a toss up between The Grub and Grog Shop at Northern Monk Refectory and The Greedy Pig; the Pig’s full English is my go-to breakfast (over their pancakes which are also top notch) when I visit, but knowing what the day entailed pushed me towards something smaller. I’d been banging on to the point of exhaustion to my friend about Grub and Grog, so put my money where my mouth was. Their breakfast menu definitely spoils with every dish – my homemade crumpets were made even better by beautiful fermented wild honey and they soon won over my friend with buckwheat blinis with all the trimmings and North Star coffee. I think they’ve won a new fan and she’s vowed to be back.
My love for Leeds independent coffee scene has been well documented on the blog, so it was inevitable there’d be a mid-morning caffeine stop, the last few years has seen the rise of independents above the many chains scattered across the city and with local roasters, such as North Star and Maude it continues to grow from strength to strength. Of the big four (Laynes Espresso, La Bottega Milanese, Mrs Atha’s and Opposite) Laynes is my absolute fave and I’m gonna miss ordering my regular; a piccolo and relaxing even for a short time in the tranquility of the shop, all whilst people watching; whether it be the beautifully attired baristas do their thing or Leeds folk go about their daily business outside.
Lunch called for great food in relaxed surroundings, so for me The Reliance fitted the bill! This indie’s been a fave since the early days of my life in Leeds, some 14 years ago and we’ve celebrated many events here – birthdays, Christmases and reunions, it’s always drawn me back basically because they do a great job full stop! Its laid back, relaxed atmosphere and friendly service puts you at ease, they understand the use of local, seasonal ingredients and produce great dishes. It doesn’t cost the earth either!
It surprised us both that we’d unwittingly gone for a veggie lunch and absolutely beautiful it was too – chargrilled courgettes with fettle cheese, chilli and mint, alongside some greens with a knock out hazelnut butter laced with a touch of chilli. I could’ve eaten a double portion of my herb tabbouleh with aubergine, brought it to life with pomegranate seeds – it was pretty damn awesome! An obligatory side of fries was no surprise choice as far as I was concerned, as they’re always good.
Dinner wasn’t booked till after 7pm, so we had a few leisurely hours to kill – what better way than spending them with cocktails and a mini feed to keep us going?! I wanted to pop into Roland’s for one of their fancy cocktails, but we’d got there before opening time, damn shame, so went back up the street to Neon Cactus for a caipirinha and a lagerita. For the mini feed I suggested Red Chilli, even though their originally from the other side of the Pennines it was the ideal place as I’d developed a hankering for dumplings. Of course one portion of dumplings is never enough, so we also shared salt and pepper chicken wings and sesame pan fried dumplings because lets face it, it had to be done! Of the few Chinese restaurants my parents have tried in Leeds, even they liked it so that can only be a good thing, especially with their exacting standards.
For dinner my first choice was to revisit Zucco, this Meanwood Italian has established itself amongst the best restaurants in the city. I’m so glad I booked as it got busy quickly and for good reason too – glorious food and friendly service. We settled for two plates each, I predictably went for dishes I’d enjoyed before – beef pappardelle and zucchini, my friend thought her choices in particular the smoked haddock and scallops were beautifully cooked. It was probably a good thing we weren’t really sharing as perhaps that dish didn’t really lend itself to it unlike the others. Regardless, the dishes were cooked faultlessly and it was another place my friend would definitely be keeping in mind for the future.
Originally the plan was to make Bundobust my last stop for a spot of old school supper and join in their 1st birthday celebrations, but however tempting the idea was I just couldn’t manage anything else!!
If you had a day to eat your way through Leeds or anywhere else that matter, where would you go?
Whatever the weather a few cocktails are always a great way of spending a few hours I reckon, but especially in the summer even though it can’t seem to make its mind up at the moment! Cabana in Trinity may be better known for Brazilian influenced food, but they’ve also got a range of cocktails to quench the thirst. We all know that cocktails can cost a pretty penny, so to get more for your money they’re offering 2 for 1 on cocktails between 12 – 7pm and 10pm – close. I was invited last week to try out some complimentary drinks and snacks and here’s my round up of the ones we tried:
Batida cocktails made with cachaça and condensed milk they were very smooth and creamy, reminding me of an Indian Lassi. From a pair of mango and passionfruit Batida, my favourite was definitely the mango as I found the passionfruit version too sharp.
I really liked the Ipanema iced tea, it was definitely a bit of a favourite amongst us especially because it had lots of zingy ginger!
The spicy malagueta kick caipirinha split the vote between us, I really liked it packed with raspberries and a smack of heat from the chilli giving a punch of background heat.
The tortilla chips with decent guacamole had enough chilli to liven it up a touch. From the nibbles selection of toasted corn nuts, chilli coconut chips, plantain chips and malagueta pork scratchings, my fave were definitely the last two!! We couldn’t really get our heads around the chilli coconut chips – they looked a bit like finger nails which was off putting, maybe eating them our eyes closed would’ve done the trick?!
The frozen strawberry caipirinha was like a grown up slush puppy with lots of fruit and of course some cachaça!
Blueberry and acai caipirinha was nice and fruity, refreshing and not too sour.
So it could be another option for people in town who’d like a few cocktails; their summery, refreshing, taste good and are 2 for 1!
What’s happened to the weather? All of a sudden it’s turned a bit miserable again, from what seemed like a glorious summer with lots of sunshine and warmth it’s now turned into showers and a down turn in temperatures. Well anyway, even though the weather may not be up to much, there are a couple of pop-ups on at the moment which Leeds folk may be interested in.
Here are a couple of spots I was asked to have a nosey at and try out for free:
Rum Shack’s a pop-up run by three Leeds bartenders with a wealth of experience, with a beach bar feel selling rum based cocktails. If you went to Leeds Feast, you may’ve noticed them and enjoyed a thirst quenching reggae rum punch off them. If that’s your kind of thing then it’s easily found in the Northern Quarter, as it’s in-between the Belgrave Music Hall, Blind Tyger and Sandinista so you can’t miss it! Every few weeks they’ll be changing their cocktail menu, it’s a bit of fun and great way of using the space. I can imagine it could be a good way to start off the night -enjoy some rum punch, a piña colada or whatever they’ve got on their menu that sounds appealing, then nip into the Belgrave for a slice of Dough Boys pizza or Patty Smith’s for one of their legendary burgers and then wherever the evening takes you.
Ice Bar – found upstairs in Bierkeller off the Headrow, the whole Ice Bar experience is something I’ve had before, but on a far more impressive scale in LapLand’s Ice Hotel. This is quite a small affair and for a fiver you get 25 minutes in the bar and whilst your sipping on either wine, Coor’s Light (the sponsors) or a small selection of spirits and mixers, you may want to have a game on the mini curling or take some selfies next to the polar bear ice sculpture if that floats your boat.
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.