Tag Archives: The Noise of Strangers

The Noise of Strangers Pop-Up @ Leeds Dock, Leeds

Oooh I love a good pop-up, especially the intrigue that surrounds it, The Noise of Strangers is one venture that’s been waiting in the wings for a long time. I first saw them on Twitter last year then the trail seemed to go cold – who were they, where had they gone, had it died a death, what was the deal??? Was it a game they were playing?

Suddenly The Noise of Strangers started to reach out and interact with followers, so at the earliest opportunity I signed myself and mate Lucy Reynolds up, fellow pop-up lover to join in the fun.

Whoever these guys were, they’d slowly enticed us into their web, drip feeding us with vague, sneaky peaks of the venue. Leading us on a bit of a wild goose chase, all good fun to be had. The location was finally released a couple of days before the event and it was in one of the empty buildings of what was Clarence Dock, now Leeds Dock. In the past the only thing that attracted me to visit was really The Royal Armouries or the fantastic restaurant The Bird which was housed at Alea Casino. Since The Bird closed I haven’t really give it a passing thought, until now.

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Final instructions were emailed to us and told us to venture down to Leeds Dock, near a popular pizza restaurant close to the Royal Armouries. We found a huge expanse and in the middle were two long tables with seating in the form of long benches. All set up and looking good so far. So when we were offered a glass of Prosecco with Elderflower, the only thing to reply back was  ‘oh yes please, thank you very much!’

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The Prosecco didn’t last long so we dove straight into sampling the False Bay Sauvignon Blanc they had to compliment our meal, reasonably priced as these events go at £13.50 I found it a nice, easy drinking white that was certainly hitting all the right notes and getting us in the mood for a yummy five-courser.

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Our pre-dinner drinks gave us chance to re-familiarise ourselves with the menu and it was just a list of the primary ingredients; this partly lended itself to the intrigue where they just provide the barest of details, bringing out the need to ask questions and find out more. 

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We were invited to sit down for dinner at 7pm and sat next to a slate platter of butter, where one was rolled in Parmesan and one was reformed with a sweet caramel flavour. With some yummy bread rolls our experience started well. 

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When the first course was brought the initial thing that impressed me was how beautiful everything looked, aesthetically lots of attention to detail had obviously been paid to the ingredients and dish as a whole. This first course was a lovely opener with flavours of the sea from the razor clam and salty samphire, extremely delicious crab underneath and the pickled cucumber and radish helped to cut through the richness in the dish. Everything was so delicate I did just sit there staring at it, but soon, within a few mouthfuls it was gone.

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For our second course three main components were listed – smoked duck, Pain d’épice and apple. I’ve only eaten smoked duck one, as part of the Kirkstall Bridge Inn‘s platters, a revelation it was too with real punchiness from the smoke, but still retaining it’s sweetness. This dish was a much more delicate affair, with very thinly sliced duck hidden underneath a crisp Pain d’épice, apple, chicory and edible flowers. I didn’t really know what to expect by the Pain d’épice and after a little research found it is a spiced bread, traditionally made with rye. I found it a little overwhelming for the dish, it’s sweetness took over a little more than I would have liked and masked the delicate flavour from the duck. All the other ingredients were lovely, but if the duck is the main ingredient then I feel it should have been more evident.

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Our third course was also beautifully presented, cubes of cured salmon, beetroot in different forms – meringue, golden, regular, purée, powder, a deep fried breaded goat cheese which just oozed out. Lots of contrasting flavours from beetroot which was earthy and vibrant, salty cheese and undeniable flavour of salmon. A really tasty dish, the walnut added a little but I found it was a bit lost amongst everything else.

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Course no: 4 – Lamb is an obvious meat of choice at this time of year, on offer was a rolled shoulder of lamb which was delicately lamby in flavour. It must have been cooked forever as it was so melt in the mouth, virtually no pressure was needed to chew. A generous swipe of pea purée, a couple of olives which provided an umami hit, but thankfully weren’t too powerful and a sprinkling of feta cheese for added saltiness. The gravy/jus whatever you want to call it was glossy and smooth and did what a great sauce should do and brought the whole dish together. The only thing I found a little odd was the plating up, we had a large dinner plate, with the food placed on one side of the plate, what about the other side!

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After a little break the desserts were brought over in delicate little glass bowls, what came was the perfect combination of strawberries in either fresh, jelly and freeze-dried forms, balsamic, black pepper sugar and whipped cream. It was deliciously light with lots of flavour; sweet, sour and peppery heat – a yummy palate cleanser!

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I’d half forgotten that North Star were providing the coffee for the event, but as always was fantastic to see them showing off their hard work! With a couple of Chemex flasks ready for their Rwandan coffee that we would have as the climax to our experience. 

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Coffee was served black and they’d brought a lovely Rwandan Gashonga to try out. The Chemex had done a lovely job keeping the coffee clear, syrupy and with a distinct taste of fruit from cherry, blackcurrant and damson. Kept black and with no bitterness whatsoever, so hopefully even people with the craving for adding sugar to their coffee wouldn’t get the urge. In my haste to drink it I completely forgot to take a photo first, sorry. Finally the macarons were a perfect companion to our coffees, light, unctuous and gooey in the centre. Yummy.

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The evening had been a collaboration of many; including Joe Hepworth of Hepworth’s Deli,  North Star Micro Roasters and Leeds Pop-Ups and Latitude Wine, apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone. On all accounts I’d had a really lovely evening, not just because of the food, but when it comes to events like this, it’s people who really love food and the experience as a whole who come, so we were lucky to sit next to two other diners who seemed to enjoy the evening as much as us. 

Our five course dinner was £35 each, not including wine.

Did you attend the event, what did you reckon? Do you love a good pop-up too?

The Noise of Strangers

Future Foodie Delights in Leeds

I love planning ahead, whether it’s places I want to explore, exhibitions I want to see, holiday destinations that need researching and most definitely foodie destinations. Leeds has been on a food and drink roll, but it’s still developing and with the summer months not too far away, there’s still a number of things brewing in the food and drink pipe line.

Trinity Kitchen continues to do it’s thing in terms of serving food to the Leeds masses, with it’s ever changing street food from around the world. There’s the obvious big hitters such as the Belgrave which seems to be the place to go by all accounts at the moment since opening last year, and also Brandon Street Night Market with their monthly street food bonanza. The restaurant scene has also been bolstered by the likes of Shears Yard, Zucco, The Hungry Bear and RARE amongst others over the last year. 

With a number of new openings and events happening in the next few months, what else can we look forward to?

  • Thai Aroy Dee – a massive sigh of relief was had when I read this much loved restaurant was relocating to The Grand Arcade. It would have been an absolute travesty to lose such an amazing restaurant with the Victoria Gate redevelopment! The outpouring of love seen on social media ultimately means that it’s going to great seeing them up and running with not only their regular customers, but hopefully new ones. It’ll also be a fantastic thing for bringing people into The Grand Arcade too! 
  • Bundobust – Soon these guys will be opening on Mill Hill, after being a winner with all and sundry at different establishments and events around Leeds, such as Kirkstall Bridge Inn and at Belgrave. For those of you who haven’t sampled their wares Bundobust is a joint venture between award-winning Prasha(vegetarian restaurant in Drighlington) and Bradford’s The Sparrow. If their food and drinks follows in a similar vein to the efforts at their recent residency at The Belgrave (review here) it’ll be an amazing addition to the Leeds street food scene. One I’m am already relishing the thought of.
  • The Man Behind The Curtain – a new opening by chef Michael O’Hare in Flannels on Vicar lane. I’d been told how good The Blind Swine had been, unfortunately it had shut up shop before I could try it out. This is one I cannot wait to go to, with chef Michael O’Hare already having a reputation in York’s fine dining scene, I won’t be surprised if it’s a sure fire hit.
  • 2 Oxford Place – the first 100% gluten free restaurant certainly around these parts! Are there any elsewhere? With a gluten intolerant husband it will be fantastic if they can pull it off. They are even doing Sunday Roasts – let’s hope for yummy GF Yorkshire Puddings and gravy! Also if they can make decent bread, they could be onto a winner in my eyes.
  • With the prospect of heavyweights Meat Liquor and Byron Hamburgers moving into Leeds, at Trinity and Land’s Lane respectively, they’ll be making their best efforts to fight their way to the hearts of burger lovers. It’s going to be an interesting one, especially with the amount of competition from other establishments already in the city centre. Maybe a Battle of the Burgers is in order, I’ll be happy to adjudicate!! 
  • Bulgogi Grill will be bringing a new and exciting concept to Leeds with Korean BBQ and is part of the redevelopment to the Merrion Centre’s Arena Quarter. I’ve experienced something similar in Japan,  cooking marinated meats and vegetables on mini BBQ’s; an experience which was interactive, fun and memorable. Their opening is expected sometime in August.
  • La Bottega Milanese is in the process of opening another coffee shop in Bond Court, at the back of HSBC where the Pétanque pitch is. I’m eager to see the finished product and I’m sure Alex will be aiming for something that’s aesthetically beautiful, whilst being highly functional, and with the same great coffee and food as La Bottega in The Light. I really hope this will create more of a community environment in this part of town, instead of just being a bit of a walk-through. 
  • Leeds Food and Drink Festival (23rd May – 8th June) is always a major highlight of the food and drink calendar and is a must for any one interested in produce, artisans and food from restaurants and street food vendors in our local area. I was gutted to be away last year, but am definitely looking forward to this years, which promises to be even better than the last. Working in conjunction with Leeds Food & Drink Festival will be The Pink Shed, the pop-up private dining room at Trinity Leeds on 23rd May. With a number of restaurants of Leeds signing up this will be a great experience. Another cracking event as part of the festival will be Le Grand DeParty’ which will celebrate the 2014 Grand Depart with lots of french food and drink.
  • Beacons  festival (7th -10th August) – with a list of food vendors as along as your arm, there’ll be plenty to tackle and get your teeth into over the four day music and arts extravaganza in Skipton. With Ben Davy, the mastermind behind Dough Boys and Patty Smith’s at the helm, festival goers are going to be in for a big belly filling treat! Here’s a taster – the idea of Madeleine Express, Cafe Moor and of course Dough Boys will get your mouth watering. For a more extensive list have a nosey at the website.

There’s certainly a lot to look forward to, I’ll hopefully see you there!

What have I missed out, any other fantastic local food and drinks events coming up I should include in my list?

Post update: oh silly me I forgot to add an event that I’m actually attending, how silly am I?

  • The Noise of Strangers are a Leeds based group hosting their first pop-up in May. I’ve been keeping a close eye on these guys for months, eagerly awaiting news of their first outing. Their philosophy is to use seasonal ingredients and deliver a menu in an unusual setting. It all takes place in asecret location on 21/22 May, where guests, including myself will hopefully be treated to a wonderful five course dinner. I’ve been wracking my brain and looking at their photographic clues to try and work out where it could be, but I’m nowhere near to a solution yet.
  • Cafe Culture – For those of you coffee lovers out there, the Corn Exchange are hosting a Cafe Culture event, I’m gutted I won’t be here for this as this would have been right up my street, unfortunately I’ll be in Edinburgh with the task of running the Edinburgh Half Marathon. On 24th May, the event will try to bring a little taste of Parisienne cafe culture to Leeds, as unbeknownst to me the Corn Exchange has a link to the Halle au Blé (wheat, corn and grain hall) in the French capital. Just one of many fab collaborations of local independent businesses showing all that is good in coffee; such as Laynes Espresso, North Star Micro Roasters, Casa Espresso and Grumpy Mule. There’ll also be lots of family friendly activities and entertainment going on too. 
  • Strano’s, the pop-up brought from Gip and John Dammone and chef Johnny Lyons will be celebrating the anniversary since the the Strano journey started which culminated in their first Strano’s pop-up which I attended last October. They’ll be hosting a celebratory meal with their highlights dishes from the pop-events on 20/21 June at it’s new home of the Enoteca in Salvo’s.
  • The Beasty Boys – a Peruvian inspired Supper Club at the Carnegie Pavilion in Headingley. They are a  Leeds based duo specialising in one of the current food trends of ‘Nose to Tail’ dining. The event is donating 100% profits to raising money for Put Them First, a UK charity which aims to improve the lives of children in Peru. With tickets priced at £25 for 6 courses (16 dishes) per person! It also BYOB so sounds like it could be a bargain!