Even though I’m not a huge drinker of beer or ale, I do have a penchant for fruit beers, so I quite happily enjoyed Kirkstall Brewery‘s finest Framboise!! My friend, who is an ardent fan of ale sampled a few different tipples, such as Kirkstall Brewery‘s Dissolution IPA andSiren Craft Brew‘s Soundwave IPA. From what I saw they certainly went down well!!
Of course there would have to be good food to lure me there as a given, this came in the form of pop-up The Grub and Grog Shop, by Made by Jim. On offer were Jim’s fantastic stews and sandwiches, I chose one of their sandwiches made with a Leeds Bread Co-op‘s ciabatta roll, filled with Pancetta, garlic sausage, crushed cannellini beans and rocket with a tomato sauce and sour cream dressing. Ooooh yummy, just perfect for me!! Whereas my friends went for the Roasted beetroot stew with chickpeas and tamarind. Both went down well and sold out not long after!!
On offer in terms of drinks were a wide range of between 20-30 beers and ales from some of the best small independent breweries in the UK, including Magic Rock, Kirkstall, The Kernel, Arbour, Fyne and more, and also some special imported ales from around the world. As you can tell the idea of the festival is to showcase some of the best independent craft beers and ales around, this they certainly did over the three days.
We had a really enjoyable, relaxed evening with good company, food and drink. You can’t ask for much more than that. Here’s to next year’s Brew-denell Beer & Ale Festival!!!
Well as 2013 draws to a close I can look back at a year where I’ve certainly eaten a lot of food, more so than ever before. I’m certain I would have been a few dress sizes bigger if it weren’t for doing a little running!!
The blog’s been going for 10 months now and there have been highs and lows. Mostly highs I must admit and I’m very thankful for that! I already knew that Leeds had lots of good things about it when it came to food and drink, but during the last 10 months I’ve realised it’s great and getting even better. Of all the local places I’ve eaten this year, the most memorable ones I think are probably the places I keep recommending time and time again. In particular I loved Shears Yard, a wonderful new addition to the restaurant scene in Leeds, serving beautiful food and ethically responsible to boot!! Other notable places to have won me over are RARE and Dough Boys pizza at Belgrave Music Hall!
Of course, not to mention Trinity Kitchen showcasing some of the best street food vans from all over the UK.
A vast array of Leeds markets this year have grown from strength to strength: Briggate World Feast, Farmers markets in Headingley, Horsforth, Oakwood, Chapel Allerton and Otley, the Briggate Farmers and Craft Market and also Kirkstall Deli Market, all showing off what Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire has to offer in terms of wonderful produce!
I’ve really enjoyed meeting lots of great people who are passionate about food, for example Mike Tattersall, producer ofIndie Icesand Sarah Mather fromNoisette Bakehouse/Madeleine Express. I’ve had many new food experiences this year, but one of the highlights which I hadn’t experienced before was a coffee cupping event, whichNorth Star Micro Roastersheld a few months ago.
New establishments which have opened in 2013 include:
Some of which; the last six, I really want to try out for the first time in 2014! I’m hoping the new year will see the food and drink landscape evolve even further in Leeds. New ventures such as MEATliquor and possibly Byron Hamburgers (council approval dependent) will be opening in the city centre, and I’m relishing the prospect of more establishments opening up in the Leeds area.
With everything that Leeds has going for it in terms of food and drink, for me what would really top it off is if Leeds had its own Michelin starred restaurant to really put the place on the culinary map. The one starred Box Tree in Ilkley is close, but not close enough! Who knows, maybe it’ll happen in 2014.
So, I’m not normally someone who makes New Year’s resolutions, but if I was it would be to ‘eat, drink and be merry, (but also to be determined to keep up with the running)!!’
Chef Greg Lewis from the Award-winning Hummingbird Kitchen is back with a pop-up menu in Jake’s Bar & Still on Call Lane, Leeds. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Jake’s Bar, so long ago, it was still called Jake’s Bar & Grill!! I couldn’t really remember when the last time I had been to Jake’s for a drink, maybe 5 or 6 years at least! I’d read they’d had a re-furb at the beginning of the year and I really liked to look of it, it certainly wasn’t how I remembered.
After the success of a pop up venture at Seven Dials for London Cocktail Week, Greg Lewis is back to show us Leeds folk what he’s got to offer. From a quick peak at the menu it looked like they were trying to showcase lesser used and more unusual cuts of meat with a twist, hence the name Tongue ‘n’ Cheek.
I had an introductory voucher for 50% of food and popped in for a nosey with a mate on Thursday; their launch night. While ordering drinks from the bar we gave the menu a quick once over. It was full of interesting sounding dishes divided into ‘Peckish?’ – starters and snacks, to ‘Burgers and Subs’ like English veal burgers and North Yorkshire mutton burger and ‘Hank Marvin’ – big plates, such as Surf & Turf and Smoked Beef Short Rib.
After consulting with the waitress about portion sizes we decided to choose a selection of starters and a side of chips. Initially my friend had eyed up the Surf ‘n’ Turf, but unfortunately the waitress was the bearer of bad news and informed us they had none left! My friend was gutted and a little flummoxed, as she’d put all her eggs in one basket so to speak and then had to have a re-think. Oh yes, I know I bet you’re thinking that’s such a hardship, but she was momentarily a tad deflated. After gathering our thoughts we decided on cod cheeks, pork kebab, chef’s special crab and sweet and sour chicken with a side of chips.
The staff were friendly and enthusiastic, maybe a little too much at times, but on their first evening I’m sure they wanted to make a good impression, which on the whole they did.
We happily chatted away with music in the background, the right volume so you could have a conversation. The room in general is dimly lit but I did like that above each table there was focused lighting so you didn’t feel like you were just in a bar with dining tables there as an extra.
First up were the cod cheeks, served in a little metal basket, a bit of a gimmick, but it looked cute I suppose. It was accompanied by a small bowl of curry sauce and a few scraps scattered on the plate. The cod cheeks were delicious, the cheek is the perfect size for these bite-sized morsels, with meat that’s full of flavour and a gin batter that was as light and crisp as you’d want. We liked the chip chop curry, it had good flavour and had lots of sweated down onion, spices and sultanas in it, I personally would’ve liked a pile more scraps (and lot for cod cheeks too), but it was a snack that was loved from the first bite.
Next up – sweet ‘n’ sour chicken in a bag. Our lady had told us the idea of this snack was flavouring your own chicken with a mixture of seeds and a sweet and sour glaze, which we poured into the bag containing the chicken. After giving it a good shake Bob’s your uncle you get sweet ‘n’ sour chicken!! It was as simple as that. Good interactive stuff, but how did they taste? The chicken was incredibly tender and moist, perfectly cooked. The mixture of seeds and the glaze gave a lovely sticky texture and flavour to the chicken. Very moreish!!
The 3am kebab was lovely, full of spices and I loved the hummus, I would have liked more flat bread to mop up the hummus though. Also as we were sharing, it would have been nice to have some side plates to use during the meal, as on a number of occasions I clumsily dropped bits of food.
Now originally we’d ordered the Chef’s special crab ‘sticky buns’, but unfortunately when our man brought them over he accidentally dropped them!! They were the last ones too, so close! My friend did say they looked great, so maybe next time? He quickly apologised profusely and offered us any other dishes which we wanted in its place as a consolation. Fantastic customer service I thought!!
They brought us a couple of other small dishes – Macaroni cheese and scampi. The mac ‘n’ cheese was yummy and cheesy, with mushroom and tarragon (I think). It was delicious. While the scampi was nice, with a thin breadcrumbed crust; for me I didn’t enjoy them as much as the rest of the dishes.
Overall we had an enjoyable evening at Jake’s, the food on the whole was yummy. I’d love to make the most of the introductory 50% offer and try some of the larger dishes next time. It’s only available till the 2nd Dec from Pink Gorilla.
The total bill for food was just £10.20 (after the 50% discount), with one of the extra dishes being free of charge as an apology I think. An absolute bargain.
Food: interesting menu, plenty for carnivores, a bit limited for non-meat eaters.
Service: friendly, enthusiastic and quick.
Atmosphere: good atmosphere, may have been because it was the launch night but it had a good mix of diners and drinkers.
Jakes Bar29 Call LaneLeedsLS1 7BT
In the world of craft beer and real ale I’ve recently realised that Leeds is a bit of a hot spot place to go, especially with the likes of Friends of Ham, Brewdog Bar and the new Belgrave Music Hall to name a few. Maybe it’s been happening for a while, especially with the likes of North Bar that’s been around for years and of course Whitelocks, being Leeds oldest pub, who’ve always championed the merits of craft beer and ale. I think I’ve been completely oblivious to it. So I’d read a little bit about one of the derelict buildings on The Calls being used for a Brooklyn Brewery pop-up, and when I was invited by Red’s True Barbecue to do a review, I took up the opportunity immediately. You may ask why the invitation was from Red’s, well Brooklyn Brewery and Red’s have collaborated on a number of events before, e.g. Dead Man’s Feast as part of the Leeds International Beer Festival and Grillstock Festival, so this was another great way of promoting what they are good at, but also in a very cool way! With Red’s being given the task of serving their unholy food, surely it could only be a win win situation??
James from Red’s very kindly showed us the venue, on the way in I noticed a small green letter ‘B’ to the left of the entrance – all very unassuming and easily missed.
To pay they are using a quirky token system, you buy them on entry at the reception desk which is also selling Brooklyn Brewery merchandise (£4.50 for one, £20 for five) and swap them at the bar for your choice of tipple.
I’m not sure what the building looked like before, but we were told they’ve put in a lot of money to make sure it was fit for purpose and get the right ambience and feel of the place. They wanted to have an open, warehouse feel, it’s very minimal inside with bare walls, splashed with old paint, Brooklyn Brewery logos can be seen in different guises – with the logo painted on the main wall or in fantastic neon signage. I loved the ‘B’ logos on textured fibreboard as part of the decor. The minimal style continues at the bar area where all the pumps have been installed onto a big metal corrugated sheet with a basic black display board listing the beverages on offer.
The idea of this pop-up is not be to all singing/all dancing look at me ‘we’re here!’, but to subtly do their own thing, in their own way and so people who already love craft beers or people who, like me don’t know much about this world can try some out and find out for themselves.
Not being a beer/ale drinker, apart from the odd Belgian fruit beer which I do have a penchant for, I think the last time I drank a pint of beer was probably on a hockey tour, while cheering on my husband’s team in Bridlington many years ago. Even I realised that the choice of beers weren’t the standard ones you would regularly see, you couldn’t see a pale ale, which might normally be considered as a safe bet. Brooklyn Brewery wanted customers to try out their diverse range and basically show them off a little. On arrival at the bar we were greeted by a friendly young man who helped us choose from the list and explained the range to us. I opted for something light and the barman recommended three for me to try out – the Scorcher, Pennant and Cuvee La Boite. After a quick taste of each, all of which were very good I decided on the Scorcher. The Scorcher (#366) is described by Brooklyn Brewery as a ‘hoppy pale ale that’s dry, minerally and fruity on the palate, snappy in the center, and bursting with the citrusy, piney notes that make our new pal 366 so special. It’s got as much hop character as an IPA, but at only 4.5%, Scorcher #366 is eminently sessionable, so you can hang out with it all summer. Scorcher #366 loves lobster, shrimp, and crayfish, but will snarf your nachos and fish tacos without the slightest hesitation. Scorcher #366 prefers charcoal but doesn’t hate on propane. Scorcher #366 is not a snob. Scorcher #366 will have another burger and a hot dog.’ Even for a person who hasn’t drunk beer for years, I have to admit I liked it, it was good!!!
In terms of the beers on offer they have on tap: Pennant, Brown Ale, Weisse and Blast! (Perennials), Black Chocolate Stout (Seasonal) and finally Scorcher, Silver Anniversary lager, Cuvee La Boîte (Brewmaster’s Reserve). They also have a selection of large bottles too, with our tokens we purchased the Sorachi Ace, which I was told was very good indeed!!
Teaming up with Reds is a match made in heaven, with their kitchen complete with woodburner smoker and chopped logs a plenty ready to go! I’ve not eaten at Red’s for a few months, not through not wanting too, but I just haven’t had time or the chance. Their menu changes every couple of days and have been feeding people with Red’s staples like their pulled pork, ribs and brisket amongst others.
We both chose the pulled pork sandwich which was really tasty, we’d both been looking forward to this all day and I don’t know why, but I always have a big smile on my face when I get anything from Reds, I think it’s because I’m always really excited about how good it’s gonna be. Well the pork was delicious as anticipated, with enough apple sauce to help cut through the richness of the pork and a lovely crunchy, sharp slaw to give added texture to the tender pork. The glazed bun was lovely and soft and the potato salad was also really good, perfectly cooked potato, creamy with a little whole grain mustard making it just very yummy!! Portion size is NEVER an issue when it comes to Red’s so we were very satisfied, but also very full!!!
I really liked the relaxed feel to the place, its stripped back nature is tailor made for laid back, fun times with friends where you can have a good beer with yummy food. The clientele were a mixed, diverse group of people, more hipster than not, what I sort of expected really. It’s not trying to be something it isn’t. This pop-up is only going to be around for a very short time, Brooklyn Brewery will be gone and the building will be empty by the end of November, so we really need to be making the most of this. Go on, do it!!!
Open Wednesday – Friday, 5pm-12am, Saturday 12pm-12am & Sunday 5pm-10pm.
School craziness is currently in full swing so it’s been difficult to fit any fun things in this week. But I’d invited a friend to join me at Headingley based pop-up restaurant Strano a number of weeks ago so I had been looking forward to this for ages. I’d read about the mysteriously named Strano on Twitter and after seeing photos of their Italian inspired dishes, I immediately wanted to know more about the latest in a new breed of pop-up restaurants in Leeds. The photos showing their culinary inventiveness certainly lured me in as I bought tickets for the event as soon as I could. After some research I found that Strano means strange in Italian, and this intrigued me even further to what their menu would be. They’d chosen a venue for the pop-up which was once home to Stif Cycles next to Jam Hairdressers on Otley Road.
We were warmly welcomed into the bar area which stocked wines and beers specifically selected for the experience. Part of their ethos is to the let the ingredients speak for themselves, and for the accompanying drinks not necessarily to match every single intricate flavour combination, but work well with the dishes and experience as a whole. I’ve had multi-course tasting menus with flights of wine to match before, they certainly have their place but this made a really nice change. They had a short, concise list of wines and a list of unfiltered and unpasteurised ales on offer. We chose a fantastic bottle of Vigneto San Lorenzo which was packed full of fruit, rich and warming, while still very easy drinking. A great choice for a Friday night after a long week at work.
We were joined by an eclectic mix of like minded people and when I saw Gip and John Dammone, owners of legendary Leeds restaurant Salvo’s, I had a feeling that we were in for a memorable evening. The menu consisted of seven provocatively titled dishes and just reading their names made my mouth water.
What we did notice was a mobile phone rest was provided for each person, and a little note encouraging diners to use Twitter and Facebook to post photos and comments throughout the meal. Using social media to its full advantage – a definite sign of the times!!! A lively atmosphere soon developed and you could feel that every diner had a heightened sense of anticipation to what the evening would bring.
Soon the dishes were brought out table by table, here they are in order:
1st course –
What a start, visually it looked fantastic and our man very kindly explained each part (slowly so I could scribble as fast as I could!) Some of the components were assembled on a clay arm, I didn’t really know what to go for first.
Each single entity was delicious, my particular favourites were the mushroom velouté, liquid salad and the no bread crostini. The velouté was rich and velvety, full of intense mushroom flavour, the best posh mushroom soup I have ever had EVER!!! The chicken was really yummy with a gorgeous sweetness and cooked till perfectly moist in the middle, and with the added crunch from its breadcrumbed crust I really couldn’t get enough of it. The salami was looser in structure compared to other salami I’ve eaten, and was yummy with a meaty richness, while the no bread crostini had an über thin base (I couldn’t put my finger on what it was made of and was too busy eating and forgot to ask!), Topped with salty crispy bacon, basil and an unusual snow it was savoury, salty and iron-rich.
2nd course –
Subtle with flavour from black garlic, a fermented garlic which yields a sweeter taste to standard garlic bulbs. The thinnest pizza dough filled with typically wonderful mozzarella cheese which just oozed out and stretched as you took a bite.
3rd Course –
Small discs of Sardinian pasta, with a mussel shell made of edible potato skin, crumbs and topped with a fennel sheet and foam. A stunning plate of food, the mussels perfectly soft and worked perfectly with the aniseed from the fennel. The breadcrumbs had a lovely sweetness and crunch. The potato skin ‘mussel shell’ was a brilliant vehicle to hold all the components together for each fabulous mouthful.
4th course –
The arrabbiata full of tomato and chilli heat had been distilled into a hot broth, the crab was so sweet and intense. The flavours worked in harmony and the dish was very well balanced, all ingredients could be picked out with ease. The crab was also made into spaghetti which was perfectly al dente and had a delicate flavour while arrabbiata broth also had little caper gems floating around which added a salty kick, all in all absolutely delicious and I really really wanted more!!
5th course –
The potato had been cooked in an edible japanese clay, cocoa nibs provided an interesting hit of bitterness, the turnip and purple cauliflower puree were both excellent and had fantastic flavour which could immediately be identified. A perfectly cooked bass with its crisp skin which is a MUST was on show!! The thinnest slice of crisp onion ring you could possibly ask for and something called onion bronze, I have no idea how the latter was done but it was excellent!!
6th course –
The sow neck was incredibly moist, tender and had a gentle sweetness, the juicy prawn had crisp tempura batter and to balance to sweetness there was a lovely bit of acidity from the sage and passionfruit sauce. The crackling was awesome – thick, crunchy, chewy in places, salty and rich. I ate it last so I could munch on it and just get the concentrated crackling taste instead of combining other flavours and textures with it.
7th course –
A take on the italian classic tiramisu which we could finish off making ourselves, the portion size was huge, enough for 4 people, mind you we were certainly not complaining!
It came with a piping bag full of creamy marsala and mascarpone which diners could pipe on themselves. A great interactive and fun dessert. The bowl contained sheets of coffee, a delicious marsala jelly, dark chocolate sheets, coffee glass and a wonderful sponge. It was a fitting end to what had been an amazing meal.
What a great evening, it ended with a few words from Gip Dammone and an introduction to John Lyons, the chef behind the fabulous menu. Gip then happily chatted to each table and told us they are hoping to come up with many more culinary evenings, which will hopefully continue to push the boundaries with more sensational food.
Our tickets for the event cost £35 per person for seven courses, drinks cost extra. Definitely worth it and I’d recommend it to anyone who simply loves food!
The tickets for their next series of pop-ups in November are already on sale now. We enjoyed the evening so much that I’ve already bought the tickets!!!
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.