Category Archives: vegetarian

Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana, Leeds

Social media is still my first port of call when it comes to finding out what’s new and worth trying out, so a quick twitter request threw up a couple of suggestions prior to my Leeds visit. There’s so many new places opening up it can be tricky filtering out the good from the bad. One that instantly appealed was Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana on Cardigan Road, thanks to blogger bigspoonlittlespoon.com for the recommendation! The place doesn’t have a website, but it’s Facebook page had lots of glowing reports and so my decision was made pretty swiftly.

Located on the lower part of Cardigan Road, for those in the know it’s just passed the Spar petrol station on the left, opposite the Harold’s (as I call them) and from the street looks like a roadside cafe that’s been pimped up with vivid yellow walls and Mexican skull wall art – I loved it straight away!


The place was definitely deceptive in terms of size, from the street it looked small, but its open kitchen and bar sat nicely alongside the dining space leaving enough room for plenty of tables. A comprehensive menu, very clearly laid out was on show with guacamole, salads, ceviche, street food, seafood sides, meat dishes, tacos and enchiladas – lots being gluten free, great for when the other half comes back for a visit too; if it was any good that is! Drinks-wise they offer beer, cocktails and soft drinks, including some traditional Mexican offerings, we went for the Agua de Jamaica; intrigued by a concoction of hibiscus flower, sugar and water. Sweet without being sickly, it was perfectly refreshing.

The place itself had only opened a few weeks earlier, after lots of eager diners kept asking when it was opening. A relaxed, warm welcome made us feel at home quickly and our food came out at a steady pace, we were in no rush and were happy to graze. From the four items we picked, there was lots to enjoy and commend – homemade thin, crisp tortilla chips served with salsas that tasted homemade too – the tomato one didn’t resemble a standard chunky salsa I’m more accustomed too, was full of freshness and heat where required. From the street food section the flautas was a highlight – a crispy rolled tortilla filled with mildly spiced chicken and topped with earthy black beans, a tomato salsa, sour cream and mild queso fresco which all worked so well together. The sopes rancheros was another tasty mouthful – the shredded beef in an adobe sauce had a delicate piquancy, more hearty black beans, all balanced out with avocado and queso fresco.

Agua de Jamaica
Tortillas w/ salsa
Flautas
Sopes rancheros
Queso Fundido

It’s probably obvious I really liked Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana, it’s open for lunch and dinner so get yourself down there!!! It’s an informal and relaxed affair, the food is so so good, there’s plenty for meat lovers, veggies, also lots of gluten free dishes and it’s all kind on the pocket!!

Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana 

204 Cardigan Road

Leeds

https://www.facebook.com/lupescantinamexicana/?rf=203829306636135

Advertisements

The Grub & Grog Shop, Leeds  

The Grub & Grog Shops new Autumn menu’s in full swing at Northern Monk Refectory and doesn’t disappoint. As always using seasonal, local and ethically sourced ingredients is at the forefront of all their food, with vegetables the cornerstone of their menu. However, meat and fish lovers never feel pushed to the wayside with specials using tried and tested local producers Swillington Farm and Tarbett’s Fishmongers doing the honours. 

Seriously tempted by pretty much the whole of the menu, not kidding either!! I got recommendations to help me narrow down my choice, both the specials were hitting all the right notes – pressed pork belly with black pudding and pear or red mullet with mushroom and juniper, but my decision of vegan option Harlequin squash was a surprising choice for me considering pork belly was there for the taking. After the first mouthful I gave myself a congratulatory slap on the back – I’d been rewarded with a sublime, carefully thought out and well executed plate of food, perfect for the start of Autumn!!! The marriage of ingredients just works with different tastes and textures each playing their part, a major piece of eye candy too; my photo really doesn’t do it justice! 

Harlequin squash, with spelt risotto and smoked tea broth

The Grub & Grog Shop

Northern Monk Refectory

Marshalls Mill

Holbeck

Leeds

LS11 9YJ

http://www.grubandgrog.co.uk

World Meat Free Day!!!

It’s World Meat Free Day – who knew, not me until half an hour ago!! I’m a little late posting this now, certainly for breakfast or lunch, however there’s plenty of time to think of dinner, and anyway what about tomorrow and every day after, it’s a handy list to use whenever I reckon. 

Leeds has lots of fantastic spots whether they are full on vegetarian, vegan or places that have a knack of creating menus which great meat free dishes. 

Here are some of Leeds’ best –

The Greedy Pig – their veggie breakfast has almost reached folklore status around Leeds, in particular their cornbread. Don’t get me wrong this duo are meat lovers, but when it comes to veg options they treat it just as seriously! Look out for their supper club The Swine That Dines and their next Roots to Shoots night.

The Grub & Grog Shop – with the use of local, organic local ingredients wherever possible, their menu is more weighted towards meat-free dishes. Go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and don’t expect anything less than really tasty food that’s reasonably priced and pretty easy on the eyes too.

Humpit – this Corn Exchange spot is famed for its falafel in pita and the humpit classic, a bargain too. Perfect for brunch or lunch!

Prashad – this Drighlington based Gujarati restaurant is popular for good reason, as a little trip out will reward you with top notch vegetarian Indian food! There’s a lot to love here, I love the dahi puri, chaat and massala dosa.

Bundobust – the love-child of Bradford pub the Sparrow and above mentioned Prashad, this place needs no talking up! It’s a serious challenge settling on a few dishes here, but if i’m pushed my faves would be the egg bhurji, massala dosa, bundo chaat, veg rice dry fry and okra fries….told you I couldn’t stick to a few!  Oh, don’t forget the mango lassi to go with it!

Tharavadu – this award-winning Keralan restaurant has friendly knowledgeable staff and serves beautifully spiced dishes.

Sandinista – not normally talked about for its food, but their kitchen serves up a decent selection of meat free tapas style dishes, ideal for sharing and reasonably priced.

The Reliance – I’ve never been disappointed with The Reliance, you’ll get dishes created with ingredients treated simply and cooked well. Their meat-free dishes are made with just as much care and attention as everything else here.

Friends of Ham – yes I now, who’d have thought it?! Obviously their wide choice of meat isn’t an option, but they do offer a nice selection of meat-free salads and some vegetarian cheeses too.

Ephesus – this Turkish restaurant based in Rodley may have a menu full of meat based dishes, however I could graze on the hot and cold mezze alone, that along with their flatbread and I’d leave more than happy. In addition, there are another handful of veggie options such as their vegetarian pide and roasted veg with rice.

Zucco – one of Leeds’ best at the moment – food here is pretty awesome across the board. Their near legendary deep fried zucchini is a must.

Mill Kitchen – this lovely cafe found in Farsley uses local sustainable ingredients as much as possible to produce a good selection of freshly made veg and vegan options. The menu’s full of choices be it breakfast or lunch, also open Friday and Saturday evenings.

Cielo Blanco – this Mexican spot in Trinity Leeds has a much expanded menu compared to its Neon Cactus sibling, with options across the board; from their tacos, quesadillas to their burritos and sides.

Bilbao Bar – whether you go for the tapas or their pintxos (Saturday), there’s always enough to get your teeth into. Their tortilla alone is worth a visit, in my opinion it’s the best in the city.

Where would recommend for great meat-free food?

Meat Free Week – where to dine out? 

Every week there seems to be ‘week’ for one thing or another, recently it was Pie Week, today is the start of Meat Free Week! The primary aim is to get people thinking about meat intake and its impacts, not just on health and well being, but also all meat products, whether animals or processed products and finally environmental issues. There’s shed loads of great meat free recipes on the internet for those of you nifty cooks out there, but if you fancy eating out Leeds possesses some fantastic spots producing delicious meat-free dishes. Fancy taking up the challenge? It starts today 23rd – 29th March! 

Here are three of my favourites: 

  1. Prashad – award winning Gujarati restaurant originally based in Bradford. Initially finding fame from their work with Gordon Ramsey, Prashad have built on this and then some moving to a new premises in Drighlington. Great for me, as it’s very near my house, but don’t let the out of town location deter you, it’s well worth a little jaunt, and even being an ardent meat lover I don’t miss it when I eat here. Their Masala Dosa’s are a sight for sore eyes, trust me it’s in a good way! 
  2. The Grub & Grog Shop at Northern Monk Refectory – one of the current breed of hot spots to eat in the city. Jim and Dan, the team behind this venture have wowed us with their food and drinks for quite a while now, since opening up a permanent base in town have a received amazing reviews and these are all well deserved!! Their menu is thoughtful, seasonal, using as much locally sourced produce as possible to create a menu that is mostly vegan or vegetarian. Anyone can eat well with no problems whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner….oooh think homemade crumpets, kohlrabi fritters and finally homemade spelt pasta with Shiitake mushrooms, greens and chilli. 
  3. Bundobust – in a similar vein to The Grub & Grog Shop, Bundobust have been examples of independent trailblazers over the last year. Seducing people with their Gujarati street food and ales to match, on a personal note their food’s been hard to resist!! There’s a lot to love on the menu, my faves – bhaji bhaji, egg bhurji, veg rice dry fry (there are others too, but the list would go on for a bit!!). 

Well there’s three to get you started, I’d love to know the places you rate serving fantastic meat-free food!! 

http://www.prashad.co.uk

http://www.grubandgrog.co.uk

http://www.bundobust.com

Part of the challenge of Meat Free Week is to raise money for good causes, including Beating Bowel Cancer, Compassion in World Farming and World Land Trust and Meat Free Week, if you want to get involved and take up the challenge click on the link below.

https://uk.meatfreeweek.org

Featured image logo courtesy of Meat Free Week.

Noisette Bakehouse Opening!

The last year or so I’ve been following the progress of Sarah Mather’s Noisette Bakehouse and 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. 

image

image

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!

image

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!!

image

image

image

image
Madeleines!!!

image

image

Blueberry and pecan Friands
Blueberry and pecan Friands

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image
Smoked paprika cornbread

image

image

image

image

image

image
Morning cakes

image

image

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.

image

image

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.

image

image

The Bakehouse is open on weekends –

Saturdays 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Sundays 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Noisette Bakehouse

157 Roberttown Lane

WF15 7LE

http://noisettebakehouse.com