Tag Archives: ice-cream

Saturday Brunch, Auckland NZ, guest post by Joan Edwards

My husband and I were meeting a friend and her 4-year old son for a spot of brunch on Saturday morning and had arranged to go to The Tannery. The Tannery is a new collaboration between the ice-cream makers Kohu Road and the Coffee Roasters, Mt Atkinson.

The Tannery
The Tannery

We used to frequent the café at the Kohu Road creamery often and enjoyed their home-made pies, their Portuguese custard tarts and of course their ice-cream, so were disappointed when it closed down. But, fear not, It turned out that the space had been bought by the Mt Atkinson coffee owner who had a vision to create a space where you could watch the coffee being roasted and the ice-cream being made all on the same premises. The space has been renovated but continues to keep an airy warehouse feel with windows to both the creamery and the coffee roastery (roastery still under construction at time of visit). The café has always been popular with families and they will be pleased that The Tannery has kept the Kohu Road caravan which keeps the little ones amused while you eat.

Kohu Road Caravan
Kohu Road Caravan

The food offerings are simple – being limited to bagels and a small selection of baked sweet goods. However, on my first visit a few weeks ago, I was pleased to discover that they stock Best Ugly Bagels. Best Ugly Bagels are a relatively new venture from Al Brown (a NZ celebrity chef and restauranteur). They are a Montreal-style bagel as opposed to the more commonly available New York style and in my opinion, much tastier! They are hand-rolled, boiled and wood-fired in Auckland daily – and are much lighter and chewier than your standard bagel.

The Tannery offers five varieties of filled bagels, including a monthly special but they also allow you to build your own bagel with a number of fillings such as nutella, hummus, and peanut butter available. There are also 3 varieties of Best Ugly Bagel: sesame, poppy seed and cinnamon & raisin.

Food is ordered at the counter and delivered to your table. Sometimes the queue can be frustratingly long but this morning, although busy, our order of drinks and bagels was taken quickly. My husband also ordered himself a ‘cronut’ – a cross between a croissant and a custard doughnut as an entrée to go with his coffee. Delicious – but probably not too healthy!

We hadn’t been there long when we were treated to a flash-mob style percussion performance from people scattered throughout the café – there was a guy sat near me with a teaspoon and bottle, another behind me banging a plastic bin on the concrete floor, a girl at the other end of the café rhythmically tapping the sugar pot against the table and a couple of guys with broomsticks by the entrance. It sounds bizarre but it all came together to make a good noise. As we found out later, it was being filmed for TV3 and we were asked to sign waiver forms to give our permission for our images to be broadcast on NZ TV and apparently throughout the universe!

Our bagels arrived in good time: a New York (Gruyère, pastrami, hot mustard and cornichons) for my husband, King (Smoked salmon, capers, dills, red onion a cream cheese) for my friend and the monthly special (Blue cheese, pear, walnut and rocket) for me – all on poppy seed bagels.

King Bagel
King Bagel
New Yorks bagel
New York bagel
Blue cheese, pear, walnut and rocket bagel
Blue cheese, pear, walnut and rocket bagel

When they arrived, my husband asked if he could have some pepper. This seemed to confuse the waitress who claimed they did not have any! I am sure they must have some on the premises and it would be useful to have salt and pepper on the table. We let it go however, and enjoyed the bagels. They’re not as straight-from-the-oven type fresh as they are in the Best Ugly Bagel outlet in the city – but pretty good nonetheless.

In addition to the bagels, my friend’s son was treated to a cone with scoops of banana and raspberry ice-cream. Both me and my friend tried some of the banana icecream and agreed although it wouldn’t have been our choice of flavour – it was very good and extremely banana-ry! Not surprising as I am big fan of the Kohu Road ice-cream and they are always made generously with the best ingredients. My favourite is the dark chocolate which is made with 72% French cocoa solids. We often keep a tub in the freezer at home and you only need a small amount for a special treat after dinner.

Kohu ROad Ice-cream
Kohu Road Ice-cream

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Of course, the other main event at The Tannery apart from the ice-cream is the coffee: I am not a coffee drinker, but my husband has turned into a bit of a coffee snob since moving to NZ. Kiwis take their coffee seriously and I’m told the Mt Atkinson coffee did not disappoint – a rich blend with a good kick. So good, that he ordered another cup!

All in all, although we miss the old Kohu Road café, The Tannery is a good substitute and its location (walking distance from home) along with the welcome addition of Best Ugly Bagels means that we will continue to frequent this café for coffee and brunch.

Service: Service was quick due to no queue when we arrived. Coffee and bagels arrived quickly, but my friend’s ginger tea and her son’s hot chocolate took a bit of time to be served. We had finished eating the bagels by the time they arrived and no explanation was offered.

Food: Limited offerings but Best Ugly Bagels are always welcome. Coffee and ice-cream of high quality.

Prices: Filled bagels are priced at $9.50. Take-away multipacks of 5 bagels also available for $14 – perfect for when you have friends around for brunch.

The Tannery
44B Portage Road
New Lynn
New Zealand
09 827 6608

http://mtatkinson.co.nz

http://www.kohuroad.co.nz

http://www.bestugly.co.nz

 
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Italian Sunday lunch @ Diva, Leeds

For a birthday lunch I was asked to recommend a choice of 3 restaurants to go to, the criteria for these choices: firstly it couldn’t be too far away, secondly great food of course and thirdly it had to be child-friendly. From three restaurants we decided Leeds based Italian favourite, family run Diva would be the choice for a good birthday lunch. Located just off the main street in the heart of Pudsey in a listed stone building Diva has built a very faithful following amongst Leeds folk, and were Oliver Award winners for Best Italian Restaurant 2013.

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What I expect from a good Italian restaurant is somewhere you feel relaxed and at home, run by people who are insanely passionate about home cooked food and love sharing it with people of all ages. It started off well as we were greeted very warmly by two gentlemen and ordered drinks in their cosy bar area. Being a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon we were asked if we’d like to sit and have our drinks outside, we took up the chance of sitting out while it lasted (it was the 1st day of Autumn and all and you never know how long it will last at the moment). When all the other guests arrived menus were brought out and drinks orders were taken quickly. Service from the team at Diva was very friendly and hospitable from the start, just what I was hoping for.

The menu at Diva has a lot of variety, full of quality Italian heartwarming and homely dishes, e.g. ribollita soup, aubergine parmigiana and lasagne alla toscana, the last two I can personally vouch for as they are spot on. On Sundays they offer a lunch menu, the Ala carte menu and a Bambinos menu for the little ones. From the minute you walk into the restaurant you get the sense that good service is very important here and they like to make sure that customers of all ages are catered for. Even though the option of dining outside was given to us, we decided to eat in the dining room instead so we could get the feel of the place. It was quite busy at the time so it created a nice atmosphere with a few other families having the same idea as us, and they obviously felt this was a good place to bring large families with children too. We’d already made our menu choices while drinking in the sun, so when we sat down at our table some lovely bottles of Italian wine were ordered and bread, olive oil and balsamic vinegar were brought over, just the start we wanted to get our mouths watering. Really yummy, lots of rosemary in the focaccia and with the rich olive oil I was seriously in danger of over facing myself even before the starters arrived, so I had to force myself to stop eating it!

IMG_4270 IMG_4269 IMG_4353The starters arrived not too long after and the first thing I was pleased about was that I had lots of toasted bread for my chicken liver pâté. I hate it when there isn’t enough and there’s loads of pâté left. It was very tasty, with a smooth texture rich in flavour, the accompanying shallot jam had a good balance of sticky, sweet and sourness to it. The other half had ordered dishes which were included in their gluten free section, the only trouble was that they put some bread with it, and when he checked with the kitchen they said it wasn’t actually gluten free bread. The rest of the starter of smoked duck was lovely but it was a shame it happened.

handmade chicken liver pate’ served with crostini & caramelized shallots
Handmade chicken liver pate served with crostini & caramelized shallots

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Tuscan risotto alla prata, sauteed wth fresh mediterranean seafood
Tuscan risotto alla prata, sauteed wth fresh mediterranean seafood
Smoked duck breast with homemade chutney
Smoked duck breast with homemade chutney
Arancini di riso italian rice fish croquettes
Arancini di riso – italian rice fish croquettes

For our main course I recommended the roast porchetta, it seemed a popular choice with three of us ordering it, roast chicken, the roast of the day pork loin and chicken and spicy sausage skewers. From my point of view I really enjoyed my porchetta, well cooked with moist pork and a lovely crackling on the outside. The Italian roast potatoes are always are winner and the gravy is fantastic and full flavoured. I know I’m a creature of habit when it comes to ordering food, but this is one dish I won’t be veering away from, it really is so yummy!! The same mistake with the other half’s starter happened with his main course, he’d ordered the chicken breast with pancetta, listed as gluten free but unfortunately they added some bread again. Apart from this blip all the main courses were very much enjoyed, even the spaghetti bolognese from the Bambino menu was inhaled.

Slowly roasted Porchetta (rare breed) suckling pig with roast potatoes
Slowly roasted Porchetta (rare breed) suckling pig with roast potatoes
Grilled chicken breast with crispy pancetta spicy tomato sauce & roast potatoes
Grilled chicken breast with crispy pancetta spicy tomato sauce & roast potatoes
Chicken, spicy sausage and Mediterranean vegetable skewers, with roast potatoes
Chicken, spicy sausage and Mediterranean vegetable skewers, with roast potatoes
Roast pork loin, stuffed with smoked cheese and spinach, roast potatoes
Roast pork loin, stuffed with smoked cheese and spinach, roast potatoes

Desserts were up next and they offer a short list of classics like tiramisu, panna cotta and ice cream. Unfortunately the other half couldn’t indulge in his favourite panna cotta as they’d run out, but I really enjoyed my tiramisu. There was the perfect ratio of ladyfingers, coffee, mascarpone and a nice dusting of cocoa powder on top. My thoughts were echoed by one of my fellow diners opposite me who gushed over it as much as I did.

Tiramisu
Tiramisu

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Chocolate ice cream
Chocolate ice cream
Morello cherry ice cream
Morello cherry ice cream

The desserts were a very good way to end what had been a lovely Sunday lunch. We were all satisfyingly full by the end of it and left very happy indeed.

Diva offers a reasonable early bird menu with starters at £5/6 and main courses at £10. The Sunday
lunch menu is even better value with starters between £4/5 and main courses £7-9 with a good choice between pizza, risotto, pasta and dishes like slow roasted porchetta. If you fancy it they have a cocktail lounge where you can relax, open to non-diners as well. If you are in Leeds city centre you can still get a eat some of the dishes at Diva as they have their fantastic Enoteca LIVINItaly at Granary Wharf. This also houses their on-site deli where produce like Italian meats and homemade sauces can be purchased.

Food: Excellent, well cooked, great choices from Italian classics to something a bit more adventurous. Just need to be extra careful with advertising gluten free dishes and then adding extras which aren’t gluten free.

Service: Staff are very hospitable, warm and friendly.

Atmosphere: Lovely setting to have a meal, cosy atmosphere with Italian music
in the background.

Diva
Unit 8-10
Booth’s Yard
Pudsey
Leeds
LS27 7AD
0113 2555 810
http://www.divaitaliana.co.uk

Diva Italiana on Urbanspoon

Town Hall Tavern

Town Hall Tavern in Leeds city centre was the venue for lunch on a sunny Saturday with two worse for wear fellow diners. I thought it would be an ideal place as it usually serves great food, drinks with good service, the whole package really at a reasonable price.IMG_2730

They have a new spring menu divided into starters, small pick and mix dishes, signature dishes, pub classics, steaks and chops, vegetarian and sandwiches. My fellow diners wanted to stick to what would not upset their delicate bodies so stuck to the classics and chose homemade burger and dripping cooking chips and omelette with smoked haddock and chips, while I opted for a selection of starters and pick and mix dishes – crab cake, langoustine, pigs cheek scotch egg and chips.

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For drinks a glass of dry white wine, Bloody Mary and a diet coke. Service was as I come to expect here, friendly and chatty when needed (but still efficient), nice and relaxed exactly what the doctor ordered!!

Bloody Mary, white wine and coke
Bloody Mary, white wine and coke

Our food arrived and looked great, brought over with a smile too which is always nice.

Homemade burger with cheese, crispy bacon, crispy onion rings and dripping cooked chips.
Homemade burger with cheese, crispy bacon, crispy onion rings and dripping cooked chips.
Pig's cheek scotch egg with pickled onions and HP brown sauce.
Pig’s cheek scotch egg with pickled onions and HP brown sauce.
Crispy langoustine tails and crab cake with tomato and shallot dressing.
Crispy langoustine tails and crab cake with tomato and shallot dressing.
Free-range omelette with natural smoked haddock.
Free-range omelette with natural smoked haddock.

All tasted great, the omelette lovely and soft with rich free-range eggs and smoked haddock which was delicate and not too overpowering. The burger delivered in terms of flavour, with crispy bacon and lovely melted cheese, the beef burger moist and juicy. The all important bun was soft and just the right size for the burger, often burger buns overhang and are a bit of a waste. I had two boards of little delights, lots of fried goodies but all with their own distinct flavours. The scotch egg had a soft yolk with lovely slightly salty meat from the pig’s cheek, the breadcrumbs lovely and crisp. The langoustine were very moreish and I could have easily wolfed down a bowl full of the little gems. My crab cake had fantastic flavour from the crab meat and the tomato and shallot dressing helped to cut through the richness of the crab.

I’d seen on their Facebook page earlier that day a photo of their yummy desserts, so after a recommendation from our waitress I chose a trio of their ice-creams.

A trio of ice creams -vanilla, toffee apple, orange and cardamon.
A trio of ice creams -vanilla, toffee apple, orange and cardamon.

They were really creamy, all were excellent but my favourite was definitely the orange and cardamom. Underneath each scoop was a bed of what seemed like crushed sugary biscuit which gave a nice bit of crunch and an extra sugary hit.

The bill for food was £34.90 and including drinks the total bill came to £46.15 for 3 people, tip not included. On this occasion I was more than happy to include a tip as the service and food was fantastic. Having eaten here on many occasions for different reasons, whether it be a leisurely lunch, a speedy pre-theatre dinner or even for a Christmas meal with a large group of friends, I think it would be safe to say that I’m still a huge fan of this place.

Town Hall Tavern
17 Westgate
Leeds
LS1 2RA
0113 244 0765