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?
Living down south means missing out on new openings and playing catch-up on visits back, this was the case with Sheaf St. Cafeteria and their collaboration with Laynes Espresso. Opened in early August and located in a much neglected part of the city centre, the Victorian building where Duke Studios now resides has been rejuvenated into an uber-cool space ideal for work and play, whatever takes your fancy.
If you’ve been to Belgrave Music Hall for Layne’s Sunday Brunch, you’ll probably be familiar with the veggie menu, including avocado on toast, shakshuka, pancakes and braised beans. Of course, where there’s Laynes expect first-rate coffee, here they’ve diverted from their regular roasters Square Mile to using coffee from Workshop instead.
It’s common for the humble egg to be a breakfast/brunch favourite, never more so in our household where it’s a definite staple and I love them cooked in any form! Since starting their Sunday brunch service, Laynes’ shakshuka has been a popular choice on the menu, hardly surprising to see it here then. Baked egg dishes are yummy because they’re so comforting, eggs work perfectly with other tastes and flavours – the warming background of spice and chilli heat, oozy eggs enveloped in an aromatic pepper/tomato sauce, all mopped up with a chunk of buttered sourdough – you can’t go wrong!! It’s also for satisfying both veggie or carnivore, add a little Merguez or chorizo or now a think about it a hit of Nduja in there and jobs a good ‘un!
This version had lots going for it – a gloriously runny yolk, lots of peppers and red onion still with a touch of bite in a thick tomato sauce. If I’m picky I’d say it could’ve done with more spice and chilli heat, but that’s totally my preference. My day still started off pretty well nevertheless!
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.
Leeds Indie Food Festivalis about to start in a matter of weeks, I can’t believe it’s coming round so quickly, it’s really exciting! Recently I posted about which events were on my must go to list, if time and money were no object, one of those was Gorse: A Dinner Experience for Curious Gastronomes. Who are Gorse? Well, they are a two-man team – Geoffroy and Richard, a French/Scottish duo who have conjured up a six course tasting menu based around vegetables. Now even though I’m a full on meat-loving carnivore, as regular readers may’ve cottoned onto, the last few years I’ve grown more of a fondness of meat-free food and was more than intrigued when one of the events during the festival was solely based around vegetables. What particularly caught my eye was that the whole experience was to showcase produce from around Yorkshire and collaboration, both being at the heart of the festival’s ethos.
Hosted by Mrs Atha’s, we were treated to the dishes as a preview to their 10 night pop-up in May.
Here are some photos of the evening:
I won’t describe each one in detail as I’d rather you find out for yourselves, but what I will say is that it was delicious, combining lots of interesting tastes and textures flowing through the savoury and the sweet. As mentioned earlier, Gorse is one of the events in the Leeds Indie Food festival, I’d recommend going, even for the most hardened carnivore it’s well worth it!! If you want anymore information on getting tickets click on the link here!!
For years, Casa Espresso has built up a reputation for supplying San Remo coffee machines and coffee blends across the local area. Starting with some very humble beginnings, Nino Di Rienzo was brought up in an Italian family where food and drink went hand in hand with everything! His father was a master pizza maker who’d run a pizzeria for many years, where Nino worked with him.
The whole coffee thing started years ago, when Nino’s father fixed a coffee machine after lots of tinkering and started to learn the ropes. Eventually going back to Naples to the San Remo factory to learn how to service their professional machines, eventually becoming their main suppliers in the North. Meanwhile, there was a lot of bad coffeebeing made and knowing it could be down so much better Casa Espresso was born, with the aim of bringing the best machines and coffee to the area. Since then the business has built a reputation for their professionalism, knowledge and excellent customer service.
Recently they wanted to expand the service they provide and started batch roasting their own beans, making them possibly Bradford’s first micro roasters. Using Falcon Coffee, Harrogate speciality coffee importers they currently have a selection of single origin beans; an Ethiopian, Nicaraguan and a Rwandan, all of which are extremely good, the Rwandan is particularly special!! Expertly roasted by Jonny Drake, who’s been working wonders with the machine, they’re on the books at a number of local cafes and coffee shops in and around the local area.
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.