Tag Archives: cheese

Cheese? Yes please!: Review of Homage 2 Fromage @ LAB bar – guest post by Lucy Reynolds 

Brie by ‘gum, Yorkshire loves its cheese! Not content with monthly cheese clubs, Leeds has decided to go all the whey (yep, a cheese pun – get used to it) and the wonderful pop up company Homage2Fromage has set up shop in the LAB bar, owned by the Jones Bar group who already successfully run Roxy Lanes Ballroom, Hirst’s Yard and Brooklyn. And it looks like they have another Gouda venture on their hands – you’d feta believe it (ok, I’ll stop…these puns are starting to grate….ahem…).

For a six month pop up, Homage2Fromage are serving the greedy mouths of Leeds the height of sophistication and variety in cheese, in stylish and relaxed surroundings. I popped in with my friend to check out their menu and we were definitely not cheesed off with the results (someone – please help me: I have a problem).

The restaurant offers an extensive menu that boasts small plates as well as larger dishes to share. The prices, especially for the small plates were extremely reasonable, and we opted for a Yorkshire halloumi slider with chorizo and a Yorkshire Rarebit.

Now both my friend and I are particularly greedy and I have to admit, whenever I see the phrase ‘small plate’ I think ‘Well I’ll need about three of them to be satisfied’. Wrong! My halloumi slider was normal burger size in a delicious brioche bun, packed with thin chorizo-bacon, salad, pickles and hummus. I cut it in half to share and was more than satisfied with the size. The salty, squeaky halloumi, piquant pickles and peppery chorizo was mouth-watering and enough for a filling lunch for one.

The Yorkshire Rarebit came with a great little story on the menu, and was huge! The sourdough was grilled to crispy perfection, with unique charcoal cheese inside and Yorkshire cask cheese on the outside. For a real cheese-hound, this would be an ideal lunch and again, wonderful value. Much more than just a small plate.

Full already, we decided to be even more greedy and plumped for a fondue. My friend and I were both cheese fondue virgins so were curious as to the taste, even though we were still pretty full from the ‘small’ plates. Our fondue arrived, with the necessary bread sticks, slices of sourdough, cornichons and sauteed vegetables, and looked the piece.

  

We were only missing the snow and poser skiers because we were transported to Switzerland in the guise of molten garlicky cheese. Full to the eye balls with cheese, we managed to work our way through the vegetables, pickles and sourdough, dipping into the fondue and groaning in fromage-induced delight, thanking sweet baby Cheesus (so sorry!). They also offer raclette, baked brie as well as plenty of other delicious sounding small plates, but we had definitely had our fill, and not wanting to fall deep into a cheese-based coma, we had to stop.

The staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about the cheese, able to offer insights into individual tastes and flavour combinations. I’m already planning my next visit. I get the feeling that this pop-up might not be popping down for a while – in fact a member of staff said that if the demand was high enough, they’d stay for longer. So what are you waiting for? Get down there and get your cheese on!  

Homage2Fromage

19 Merrion Way

Arena Quarter

Leeds

An after work platter and pint @ Kirkstall Bridge Inn, Leeds

The day in the life of being a school teacher for me starts at 6:30am when I arrive at school. It normally ends into the early hours of the next morning doing school work, as well as blogging. So on Monday after parents evening my best mate and I were in need of a catch up and went for a drink at the Kirkstall Bridge Inn, somewhere I’ve wanted to go for quite a while since they opened last year. When I lived in Kirkstall many years ago I used to frequent the West End Pub, so never went to the Kirkstall Bridge Inn in it’s former guise The Old Bridge inn. After being closed for a lengthy period of time, at least 2 years the place was transformed, my friend said it was a dingy place in its former life, but now there was no sign of that whatsoever. It had been refurbished so it had a very open, but still a cosy, homely feel. With its walls emblazoned with traditional logo mirrors from breweries, little nooks and intimate places you could have a quiet drink. Upstairs it has an amazing fireplace with a mantlepiece that had a hint of the art deco period. I could see myself spending many an evening there, if I only I lived back in Kirkstall or didn’t have school work up to my eyeballs all the time!!

Big apologies for the very poor photos, on a rare occasion I only had my iPhone to hand, so I’m not particularly impressed by my efforts here!! I will endeavour to try harder next time.

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After getting stuck in the usual Kirkstall Road after work traffic, I was so pleased to see a glass of Merlot on the table when I arrived. Also, the news of £5 platters was like music to the ears, it was the right antidote to a long  day at work.  

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Meat platter – Smoked chicken, prosciutto crudo, Spianata Piccante and served with olives, bread and butter

Ok, the bread and equally important the butter was soft, each of the meats were delicious in their own way. A pleasant surprise was the smoked chicken, my friend had initially wanted the smoked duck so when we found out they’d run out she opted for the next best thing, the smoked chicken. It was VERY good, thickly sliced and came with a smokiness that definitely had a presence, without overpowering the delicate meat. There was also a heat and spice on the platter where required, in particular in the form of the Spianata Piccante, advertised as a spicy sausage made with peppercorns. Oooh for me, it had a real lively kick, and was deliciously meaty! The Prosciutto Crudo, I love it when it is soooo soft it just tears without an ounce of effort and has that really  intense, concentrated taste to it…..this had all of those things! The Salame Milano was probably my least favourite of all the meats, through no fault of its own, just because it didn’t have the punchiness that the other three meats brought to the table. In it’s own right it was lovely though! I’m not the greatest fan of olives, yes don’t shoot me I’m just not, so my friend quite happily wolfed them down, evidence they were good then??

Stupidly, the only thing we could fault them on was not having a fork as well as a knife to use whilst eating the platter! 

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I also had some of their lovely Kirkstall Brewery Framboise, sorry no picture, I was so nice I completely forgot!! A definite must next time.

I really want to come back and write a proper review, as I was only there for a short time and to be honest, was still very much in teacher mode so I’m sure haven’t given it the justice it deserves! Even though, I know that if you are in the Kirkstall area, it’s definitely a place to have a lovely after work drink and a decent spot of yummy food! 

Next time I want to sample their pop-ups with the likes of Bundobust and other street food sellers on their books, it really would be foolish of me not too! I’ve read they do a mean Sunday lunch too!!

Kirkstall Bridge Inn
12 Bridge Road
Kirkstall
Leeds
LS5 3BW
0113 278 4044
http://www.kirkstallbridge.co.uk

A Carnivore’s delight @ Friends of Ham!!

Been looking forward to a friday night catch up with the best mate…Karaoke and yummy food is always a good mix!!! Friends of Ham was on the agenda and can be found on Station Road, near another Leeds favourite Layne’s Espresso. I love the signage that hangs outside and it speaks for itself I think.

Cool signage!!!
Cool signage!!!

This place has become deservedly very popular with city workers, dwellers and foodies, I was hoping it wasn’t too busy when we arrived. Their philosophy is to serve great craft beers and wines with top quality charcuterie, the great thing about the people here is everything on their menu has been selected on purpose because of the quality and flavour of the produce. What’s also really good is they regularly change the products on offer and are also on the look out for trying new things.

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Their menu is broken down into charcuterie, which include the fabulous Iberica Bellota, considered the finest of Iberico hams, Tuscan salamis and Salchichón De Vic, salami-style pork sausage from Catalunya. Cheeses to suit non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike with delights such as Yellison Goat’s cheese from Skipton, N Yorks and a Cornish Yarg, Wild Garlic Leaf or Nettles, a moist cheese from the Duchy of Cornwall’s estate. For snacks they offer olives, pickled chills and snacking salami to name just a few. They also have specials, e.g. the Spanish board and sherry flights too for those who fancy a little tipple to go with their Iberico ham.

We managed to sit downstairs which is a quirky mix of comfy sofas, long wooden chunky tables, stools, benches and farmhouse-style dining chairs. I didn’t want us to lose our seats so I used their free Wifi to peruse their menu online.

Downstairs with the shuffle board game for entertainment
Downstairs with the shuffle board game for entertainment

We eyed up the Leeds Charcuterie board, with extra Jabugo Ibérico (Spanish pata negra) and their wine special Borsao Rosado, a fruity rose from Campo de Borja in Spain. Not normally a rose drinker but I thought with the hams ranging from mild to more robust in flavour this would do nicely.

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Borsao Rosado with fab wine cooler

It didn’t take long for the platters of meat to arrive, oh my to a carnivore they looked beautiful!!! Love it when the ham is sliced thinly and layed out so it can be admired in all of its glory, waiting to be devoured!! Our man explained the order of the hams on the boards and we got started!

Leeds charcuterie board - Coppa, Fennel Salami, Chilli and Black Pepper Salami with bread and cornichons
Leeds charcuterie board – Coppa, Fennel Salami, Chilli and Black Pepper Salami with bread and cornichons
Jabugo Ibérico - Spanish Pata Negra ham
Jabugo Ibérico
– Spanish Pata Negra ham

The Chilli and Black Pepper salami was first, it tasted fab and I loved the peppery heat! Next was a very delicate Fennel Salami with a nice hint of fennel, and finally the Coppa had a lovely mild meaty flavour. Nothing against these 3 yummy delights but our last treat was our favourite, the Jabugo Ibérico, I had to order this extra to the charcuterie board after falling in love with it on a recent visit to Portugal. It comes from Black Iberian pigs where they roam outside, eating acorns. The flavour was amazing, bursting with its natural oils and melt in the mouth layers of fat. We both were trying not to eat really quickly and look like we were scavengers it was so tasty!! Perfectly sliced too which is an absolute must!! The accompaniment of bread and cornichons were good, in particular the cornichons were lovely, slightly crunchy and with just the right acidity.

In matters other than the food there’s always a great atmosphere here. Even on a Friday evening it’s not too loud, so you can put the world to rights if you choose too. The total bill was £33 for 2 people! A great price for high quality produce in a little gem of a place. If you haven’t been yet you’re really missing out!!

I’d give it a 9/10 on all fronts.

4 New Station Street
Leeds
LS1 5DL
0113 242 0275
www.friendsofham.com

Crepe Affaire @ Trinity Leeds

I needed a quick snack before an evening at the theatre tonight and really fancied a crepe. I’d walked passed the Crepe Affaire cafe in Trinity Leeds the other day and thought I’d try it out.

imageWalking into the place it had a really nice atmosphere and the service was quick but friendly. On the menu they have savoury crepes, e.g. thai chicken or new york deli, sweet crepes, e.g. caramel apple, waffles and even breakfast crepes.

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After the quick nosey at their menu and being the boring eater that I am, I went for a classic ham and cheese crepe with a latte.

My coffee was brought over in 5 minutes and a few minutes after that my crepe arrived, both served with a smile!! I was pleasantly surprised, my coffee was lovely and was crepe was really yummy, just what I needed to last me into the evening.

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I can make decent pancakes on Shrove Tuesday by the dozen, but these crepes were lovely and thin, with just the right amount of ham and cheese to not make it too filling. The cheese was mild and the ham slightly salty as good ham should be, the perfect savoury crepe!!

The fab customer service continued when I was asked if everything was ok with my order, and also if I wanted to try any of their sweet crepes.

A quick tasty snack for just £7.10, you can’t really go wrong!!! I’ll be back for a sweet crepe next time!!!

Crepe Affaire
Trinity Leeds
339 Albion Street
Leeds
LS 5AT
0113 247 1588