Tag Archives: cake

The Noonshine Cafe @ Outlaws Yacht Club, Leeds

Writing a food blog you may think I eat like this ALL the time, but in reality at work it’s a different story altogether. Now I can’t speak for other people, but at school I don’t eat properly at all, working through my break, tea and biscuits are my usual lunch. Don’t worry  I wouldn’t expect sympathy or anything like that, I make the most of my free time instead!!

So when I heard on the grapevine that Leeds food and drink folk Noisette Bakehouse, The Grub & Grog Shop and North Star were hosting The Noonshine Cafe every Friday at Outlaws Yacht Club, I thought to myself you lucky Leeds folk working in the city centre, you can get something that’s value for money and yummy to boot, all made by local independent businesses. Wanting to show my support, and hoping to get a good feed on their first day, I left school at an appropriate time after doing school stuff. I even ordered a sandwich in advance so I didn’t miss out, really sad I know, but I like to think of it as being organised! 

Outlaws have worked with North Star to create their own blend of coffee, while Noisette Bakes had a great selection of baked goods, in particular the sea salt caramel brownie, which is quickly becoming a favourite in many people’s tummies! Jim and Dan the team behind The Grub & Grog Shop had a tempting range of stews, sandwiches and salads. Oh I shouldn’t forget Leeds Bread Co-op who provided the bread for the stew and sandwiches.

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I was starving when I got there so quickly ordered the Beef Brisket sandwich, Mandarin Frangipan Tart and a North Star latte. 

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I’m not normally a fan of sandwiches, if only all sandwiches were tasty like this I could be converted! Fresh ciabatta bread from Leeds Co-op generously filled with great tasting brisket and I loved all the extras, in particular the horseradish which gave it a kick up the backside, the fresh stuff too this time. At their last event the Leeds Creative Family Tree event, Jim didn’t manage to get his hands on any so our food lacked a little punch), that certainly wasn’t the case here!! Peppery rocket and lovely pickled mooli gave it a sharpness, whilst also keeping it fresh. For my dessert my Mandarin Frangipan Tart went great with my North Star coffee. 

In terms of cost, it certainly was value for money – my ‘three course’ lunch of sandwich, coffee and cake set me back just £5!!

I think Noonshine is another fab example of collaboration between local independent businesses, and one where you can get a decent, bargainous lunch!! If you are Leeds city centre based, you won’t go far wrong getting lunch, coffee and cake from these guys!!

Outlaws Yacht Club
38 New York Street
Leeds
LS2 7DY
0113 234 6998
http://outlawsyachtclub.com
@grubandgrogshop
@NoisetteBakes
@NorthStarRoast
@LeedsBreadCoop
http://noisettebakehouse.com
http://www.northstarroast.com
http://leedsbread.coop

Afternoon Tea @ Dulcie Butterfly, Swillington, Leeds

For those of you who are regular readers of the blog, you’d know that I’ve been searching for the best Afternoon Tea in Leeds. So far, there have been highs and lows, mostly highs which is a good thing, but I’m still on the hunt! So after a short hiatus I’m back on the case and continuing my search with a tea room called Dulcie Butterfly.

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During the February half term school holidays, in between marking a boot full of books and catching up with old friends, I visited Dulcie Butterfly, a small tea room in Swillington. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, Swillington is a small leafy village on the edge of Leeds. 

With my regular dining partners having other commitments, good old Twitter came to the rescue and found me a partner in crime for the afternoon. This came in the welcome form of Lynn Hill, the lady who set up and runs the renowned Clandestine Cake Club, definitely a person who knows her stuff when it comes to baked goods! After a few correspondences we met at Dulcie Butterfly in a small residential area, not where I expected to find at all. 

From the outside it’s quite deceptive and only gives you a hint of the interior to this tea room. Once inside you are surrounded by lots of ornaments, keepsakes and interior decorations. It’s a complete treasure trove of trinkets, with many of them being purchased on Dulcie’s trips in Europe.

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I immediately found Dulcie very charming and full of life, with the interior maybe being a reflection of her personality. After being seated at our table which had lovely crockery all laid out, Dulcie offered us a pot of tea, what a good start. You can’t have afternoon tea without a good pot of tea, we were pleased to see it was Yorkshire Tea as well!! 

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We quickly settled into our surroundings, with our Yorkshire tea setting us up nicely for the pretty 2 tier cake stand Dulcie brought holding sandwiches, cakes and scones!

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First we tucked into the sandwiches – cheese and onion and ham and cheese, made with very soft bread and were generously filled. The tea was going down well and Dulcie happily gave us a fresh pot of tea when we were running out, a lovely touch.

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Next we worked our way onto the fruit scones which were filled with jam and cream. Crumbly without falling completely to bits in your hand, very delicious and well made. Lastly we had cake to finish off our lovely afternoon, a coffee cake and my absolute favourite; classic Victoria Sponge. Again regular readers may know how fond I am of this cake, so much so it was the top tier on our wedding cake! When done well, there’s much not to beat it and this was done really well. Compliments to the baker, who happens to be a food technology teacher friend from the local school.

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I personally enjoyed our afternoon very much indeed, the place maybe petite, but Dulcie’s personality makes up for this and is infectious, she obviously enjoys what she does and it shows. Each part of our tea was well made and tasted great. With plenty of Yorkshire tea to wash it down with, it’s certainly a lovely way to spend the afternoon with friends!

It may not be in the middle of Leeds, but it’s definitely worth a little jaunt out, I would be more than happy bringing my friends here!

Afternoon tea is £11 – £15 depending on date and time (after 2pm on Saturdays – £15) per person.

Disclaimer: I was invited by Dulcie to review the venue so my afternoon tea was complimentary, this was done of course, in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Dulcie Butterfly
16 Woodlands Drive
Swillington
Leeds 
LS26 8DW
07949891551
www.dulciebutterflyuk.com

Dulcie Butterfly on Urbanspoon

Mrs Atha’s – The North’s Coffee Community, pt IV

The start of my series on The North’s coffee community concentrated on Leeds’ three original independents, now I’d like to focus on more recently established coffee haunts.

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Mrs Atha’s opened in October 2012 by owners Jonathan and Warren. Found around the back of House of Fraser, Mrs Atha’s has quickly become one of the most quirky and interesting independent coffee shops to have opened in recent years. With such established shops almost with landmark status in Leeds coffee, Mrs Atha’s has had to find it own way into the hearts and minds of Leeds folk.

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They’ve completely transformed a space into a beautiful coffee shop, with a boutiquey ambience, reminiscent of a bohemian New York vibe that’s just perfect for relaxing in. The team at Mrs Atha’s want it to be somewhere you can eat, drink, socialise, read, plug in your Macbook and work if necessary. With dimmed lighting and even table lamps, Wifi and plug sockets a plenty it’s tailor made for this. With the combination of great coffee and food in the mix, it’s sounds pretty good – don’t you think?

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The interior is slightly bohemian, with a feel of the industrial about it. One large wall is left with exposed red brick and a statement RSJ beam handsomely frames the displayed art work, whereas the opposite wall counterbalances this with some sort of polished plaster (stucco). Complete with quirky, yet functional furniture, it’s definitely a place to spend a few hours in very relaxed surroundings. They are also blessed to have extra seating downstairs, which also houses their open kitchen.

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OK, so what about the coffee, well this is expertly sourced and selected by the team. With Scott who’s previously worked at La Bottega Milanese, and Matt the two main men when it comes to the coffee they have baristas with a tonne of knowledge, in some cases to the point of obsession with the drink. They use their own blend of coffee from roasters Has-Bean and often host guest coffees.

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The knowledge and attention to detail they have I found incredible. In my limited time learning more about the drink, I’d never met a full-on coffee geek till I met Matt, a self-confessed coffee connoisseur/aficionado. This is where it gets scientific! To get the perfect cup each time they have fine-tuned their coffee depending on the amount of TDS in each shot of coffee, that’s ‘total dissolved solids’ to you and me. Knowing exactly the precise parameters to work with so the % TDS fall within a certain range – resulting in a coffee that has undergone optimum extraction and possesses the perfect balance between bitterness and sweetness etc. I also learned the importance of water temperature and for this they have an Über boiler (LOVE the name). It delivers exact volumes of water at exact temperatures, giving the barista control over different parameters for each individual cup. They also recently bought a serious bit of kit – the EK-43 grinder which has the ability to grind beans into a whole array of finenesses, allowing coffee to have a greater level of clarity and definition. All VERY GEEKY!!

I NEVER had any inclination whatsoever that coffee was so scientific. Being a so-called science teacher in my normal, boring life I found this really interesting and it made me want to find out more, so I even spent time looking it up!!  I don’t think I’ll turn into a coffee geek just yet, but it was a little addictive researching it!

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With Warren’s interest in interiors, it’s no surprise that Mrs Atha’s are a big supporter of local artists and always have work displayed for sale. Some may think the space is a little pretentious, but as an ardent art/museum/exhibition lover I really liked the aesthetic it provides the space with. 

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On the food side they showcase local producers, such as That Old Chestnut with a selection of Vegan cakes and their bread comes from Bondgate Bakery. The have a very supportive network, including family friends who bake much loved cakes for Mrs Atha’s, and they are so good that they have built up of following of visitors who come not necessarily for the type of cake, but because it’s made by this particular person. A great testament to the baker I think!
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A good selection of loose leaf teas are also available, which they are proud to know their exact provenance, drunk from one of their gorgeous vintage tea cups, and a slice of cake…ahhhh lovely!
They have plans to drive Mrs Atha’s forward in the future – last year they had a pop-up restaurant which went down really well. So they’d like to build on this with more of an emphasis on dining, not just cakes and sandwiches which they already do. I hear they already serve cracking breakfasts and lunches, I really need to try out these for myself ASAP!
Other possible plans include holding events/courses to educate about the nuances and technical side to making a great cup. With Scott and Matt’s knowledge and passion I’m sure these courses will be very popular.
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I’ve been a number of times and I must admit the coffee is pretty great. Whatever they do with the whole science/coffee geekery it certainly works! The people at Mrs Atha’s are lovely, friendly and interesting. Always wearing a fab selection of hats and more than willing to educate and inform the customer, which I really like. 

Mrs Atha’s

Central Road
Leeds
LS1 6DE
http://mrsathasleeds.com/
Opening Hours: Monday-Tuesday 9am-6pm, Wednesday 8am-6pm, Thursday-Saturday 9am-10pm, Sunday 10am-5pm.

Confusing Afternoon Tea @ The Tetley Bar & Kitchen, Leeds

The Tetley Gallery has a Bar & Kitchen serving Yorkshire inspired dishes. Being open all day, for brunch, lunch, tea and dinner, they have a menu that covers all parts of the day. 

I’d gone to sample their afternoon tea in order to continue my search for the best in Leeds. Our table had specifically been booked for afternoon tea at 4:30pm, for 2 people. I think that’s pretty straight forward don’t you think?

We arrived around 4:10pm  and when I said I’d reserved a table for afternoon tea the bar man was a little abrupt and just said ‘ok, but we stop serving it at 5pm’. So we thought that’s fine, we’d be sitting down straight away and it would be all good.

It was coming to the end of a long week, the last week of school before Christmas, wine was certainly on the cards and much deserved. I ordered a bottle of Argentinian Malbec, now I’m no wine expert at all, but I thought this was quite robust in flavour and lovely. Great to warm us up a little on a cold, rainy, grey day!!

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The seating area is organised into an area with lovely comfy chairs and sofas near the reception and bar, then a dining room which leads off this. We sat down at a table with comfy chairs and settled in and relaxed with our yummy Malbec.  

From their menu we could see that The Tetley’s afternoon tea came with a good selection of items – a decent choice of sandwiches, cakes, pastries and a scone with accompaniments, all served with a pot of tea. What you would normally expect really. All for £9.50, which is comparable with other places I’ve been to so far in Leeds. 

Time was passing, but nobody had come up to our table to ask about us having afternoon tea, so we were a little confused. By the time it got to 4:50pm, getting ever closer to 5pm (the cut off time), we were both getting a little worried. Had they forgotten about us? So just as I was about to ask someone, I could see some of their team looking over at us and a waitress walked across. She informed us that we’d need to move into the main dining room, as they would be serving it in there. I found it a little bizarre no one had actually told us we should go in there in the first place, so we therefore assumed we could sit anywhere. We moved from a comfy seating area to a dining room which was nice, but didn’t possess the comfy feel we were after. Don’t get me wrong it’s a lovely room, but it just didn’t feel right. We wanted to just sit somewhere really comfortable. It was never made clear to us where we would be having tea, and I feel this lack of communication put the experience on the back foot from the start. 

I feel like I’m being really harsh, and I don’t want to be!! The main dining room is lovely, but it wasn’t where we envisioned partaking in this afternoon past time, we both wanted to be back with the cosy, comfy chairs. We ran with it, but soon our time there got a little stranger, a young lady came over and wanted to make it clear that for afternoon tea there would be just one of each item advertised. Were they expecting us to share everything, even though this was afternoon tea for TWO people??? The mind boggled, this wasn’t difficult to understand: afternoon two for TWO means TWO of everything.

My friend had pointed that out maybe we were literally just getting one of each item to share between us. The same lady was back a few minutes later and then wanted to check that we understood that the single of pot of tea would be for two people, and we would have to share it, if we wanted any more tea, we would have to pay extra. The strange got even stranger!!

Our tea did arrive and it was indeed a pot for ONE, nice tea as it was, we were a little miffed at the whole getting one of each thing, when there is TWO people! So we waited, it took a little while for it to arrive and I had this preconceived, maybe romantic idea that it would come on the usual three tiers, and that I could see myself working my way through each tier, devouring each little bit.

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As you see there was no three tier cake stand in sight, but a wooden platter, with ONE of everything!! I don’t ever remember ordering afternoon tea for one to be shared between two people. It all clicked into place – all the strange, awkwardly asked questions. I did feel a little sorry for the lady who’d been serving us, having to ask such odd questions, but it all made sense now.

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Everything looked pretty all laid out, but before it had arrived my friend had made a joke about having to cut sandwiches in half, not really thinking she’d be doing it! So we divvied out the finger sandwiches which were nice, each had a good filling, the thick sliced bread was ok, but could have been a little softer.

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The scone was smallish, but was served warm and was supposed to come with butter, jam and clotted cream. The jam and cream were evident, but there was no butter, I don’t think butter is particularly traditional with scones, but nevertheless it wasn’t there. It was however, a nice scone – it had a crumbly texture, but it didn’t fall to pieces and the clotted cream and jam were good. There was plenty of jam to go round for another scone, so it was a shame we had to share one between us. 

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The Parkin was nice – moist with the characteristic taste of ginger, while the Yorkshire curd tart has a lovely short pastry case, tasty enough filling with a few currants dotted around. The macarons were good, a little inconsistent with some being lovely and chewy, while others were crumbly, the individual flavours were good though. 

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All in all, each item was very nice – the whole confusion about why we only got afternoon tea for one baffles me. When we finished we had to wait quite a while before our table was cleared, even though two larger groups had arrived for dinner, it was very clear we had finished. There seemed to be lots of standing around and chatting from staff, which wasn’t particularly impressive. After years working as a waitress at a busy restaurant during university, I know myself that you’ve got to be alert at all times and make yourself visible. 

We were so confused about the whole thing that when we asked for the bill, the waiter was asked to check if what we received was supposed to be for one or two people, just in case they were going to charge us for two. He came back with the bill in hand and said it had been for ONE!!!  

A bizarre experience the whole thing was really.

Apologies, I really don’t like being negative and try to be positive, but  I feel that as well as good food, good service is also paramount to giving people a memorable experience. The Tetley has been open just three weeks and maybe still settling into things in the Bar & Kitchen, so I’m sure service will improve. I would still like to come back again for lunch or dinner in the future. 

Food: Each part was lovely, more would have been better as we were still hungry.

Service: Lack of communication, more understanding needed of what afternoon tea entails, if a table is booked for two people, that automatically means there should be two of everything!! Service was polite, but quite slow at times. 

Atmosphere: Was quiet as we ate alone in a large dining room, we’d rather have been in the comfy chair area where there was more of a leisurely atmosphere.

The Tetley
The Tetley
Hunslet Road
Leeds
LS10 1JQ
0113 320 2423
http://thetetley.org/bar-kitchen/