Tag Archives: The Reliance

My 2014 Favourites!

The time of year has come where we make lists of our favourite things, for me as a so-called food blogger, it’s time for me to look back at some of the memorable eating experiences I’ve had. So with that in mind I’ve scoured the last year and picked out my favourites.

These aren’t in any particular order by the way:

1. The Man Behind The Curtain – whether Leeds’ food and drink scene is heading towards a Michelin star is debatable, the execution of the food and the service here are second to none and deserves to have praise heaped on it. The food is innovative, aesthetically beautiful and exquisite to boot.

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Part of the degustation menu

2. NOM Deli: one of the things I enjoy about food blogging is meeting people. I’m not the most out-going person, but this has brought me out of my shell more, and talking to like-minded individuals who base their work around the love of food is very inspiring. So when meeting the team from NOM Deli that’s what happened, they love the food from their native homeland and are serving their take on Banh Mi, bun and pho in Leeds city centre. I remember vividly trying the Banh Mi at Kirkstall Deli Market and being completely blown away by it! I’m definitely hoping to visit them again, to try out their Friday evening menu in the new year! Fancy reading about my experience at NOM, click here.

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Banh Mi with BBQ pork

3. Stuzzi – this is another one of those wonderful combinations of brilliant food produced by the most passionate of people! I know I’ve recently written about this team, but what the hell because I adore their Italian food and their infectious love for their cuisine! Both of my Stuzzi experiences at the Belgrave Music Hall residency and at their new home in Harrogate have been memorable. To read about my Stuzzi encounters click here.

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Stuzzichini sharing box

4. Tartine Bakery, San Francisco – this summer I spent seven days exploring the city to the fullest. If I was to choose one from the many amazing eats we had on that trip, for me it would have to be the afternoon we spent in the Mission District, firstly joining the back of an already long queue that hugged the building, then admiring and drooling over their beautiful bakes from afar. Having eyes on stalks to grab a table as soon as one came free then slowly devouring the prettiest tarts ever!!! The fresh fruit tart and lemon cream tart were both an absolute delight – so light and dreamy. A absolute must visit!! To read my experience of patisserie heaven in San Francisco, click here.

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Lemon cream tart

5. The Reliance – this isn’t necessarily based on one of my most recent reviews, our annual Christmas lunch, but also from eating here many times over the years. It’s a firm favourite in my eyes delivering on many levels and all important ones for me; great food served at reasonable prices, lovely staff all found in a relaxed space. Our Christmas lunch a few weeks ago just reaffirmed this for me! To read about my last couple of visits click here.

Meatball sandwich
Meatball sandwich
Confit duck
Confit duck

6. Le Langhe – this Italian restaurant in York won me over with it’s perfect pasta, so much so that we ordered seconds! Simplicity in its ingredients, yielding tasty results, I could eat a bowl of that silky pasta all over again as I type, it was so good!! Click here to have a read of my visit.

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Game ragu

7. Belgrave Feast – Oh I’ve eaten, and I’ve eaten well over the last year, enjoying amazing street food at Belgrave’s monthly feast!! I’ve gone on ALOT about the Belgrave in 2014 making it a difficult one to whittle down, so I thought which would I always go to time after time, without question I would have to pick out Arepa!Arepa!Arepaand Fu-Schnikens!! Both are extremely comforting, more-ish and damn tasty! 

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SobreBarriga Arepa
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Gua Bao with sticky ox cheek

Where have you had some memorable meals and why?

http://www.themanbehindthecurtain.co.uk

http://www.nomdeli.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stuzzi/356068864465742

http://www.tartinebakery.com

http://www.the-reliance.co.uk

http://www.lelanghe.co.uk

http://www.belgravemusichall.com

http://arepaarepaarepa.blogspot.co.uk

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The Reliance Christmas lunch

A couple of weeks ago I posted about our annual tradition amongst our Leeds friends, to celebrate the festive period with a Christmas meal somewhere in the city. The Reliance was our venue of choice, coming out top in a great list of independents.

With a reputation of producing well-cooked food, served in simple and unfussy surroundings, it’s all about the quality of the food and also the service here! It’s no secret that I love the place, it’s been a venue we’ve frequented on and off for over a decade, so I couldn’t think of a better place to enjoy this annual event with our friends!

With a 1pm table booked and three courses coming our way, the other half and I arrived a little early to see a few of our old friends already there. The staff had reserved the private dining room for us, which I was so happy about! It looked lovely with sprigs of holly decorating the table, and customary Christmas crackers just waiting to be pulled. It was probably a stroke of genius unbeknownst to them that we ate in a separate room, as being a decent sized group with lots of boisterous individuals, there tends to be lots of loud laughter, chatter, stories and merriment during these get-togethers.

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Being the organiser of our annual gathering, I’ve always found it a tad stressful as the big things usually come down to me, even down to remembering what people have ordered! Our Christmas lunch started off with one of us being mightily late, still at the bus stop when I spoke to them, with my stress levels increasing thankfully the staff were lovely and accommodating as ever. The rest of us sat down to start eating as the last member of our group hadn’t ordered a starter, and the kitchen could hold back the main courses until they arrived. 

I was brought beetroot & gin cured salmon with horseradish cream, others the sweet potato and parmesan soup or a ham hock terrine. I can only speak for my salmon and it looked pretty as a picture on the plate. Perfectly cured, silky and delicious, with a horseradish cream being the ideal companion for the fish. Extra bread was brought out, the wine flowed and positive comments flew around the room, which I can only take as an indication of the success of the meal so far. 

Starters
Starters – Beetroot & gin cured salmon, sweet potato and parmesan soup

The staff were completely wonderful again, this time letting us have a little breather before the second course, allowing our friend to arrive in time for the mains. Of the five choices from the menu; confit duck and beef featherblade bourguignon were the most popular, whereas I loved the sound of the wellington. It’s not something you really see that often, I haven’t eaten one since our wedding six years ago, a beef wellington that day; this time it was filled with wild mushrooms and spinach. 

When brought to the table it looked like a pasty, no problem as I love them! Being a massive savoury fan pastry is something I have a huge affinity for, this was golden, crisp and buttery – right up my street. Generously filled and deliciously satisfying with woody mushrooms and spinach. For me the sign of a great vegetarian dish is when I don’t miss the meat, here I didn’t miss it at all!! Plenty of potatoes and kale were available for sharing and they brought extra chips, which we hadn’t even ordered. All plates were thoroughly polished off and there were no complaints from anyone! 

Wild mshroom and spinach wellington
Wild mushroom and spinach wellington
Confit duck
Confit duck
Beef featherblade bourguinon
Beef featherblade bourguignon
Sides - garlic & rosemary roast nre potatoes, greens
Sides – garlic & rosemary roast new potatoes, greens

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So with the meal in full swing – cards opened, crackers had been pulled, hats were worn and bad jokes were told, our final course came soon after. All four dessert choices had been picked, I’d gone for poached pears wanting something light. Poached till soft, they needed just the smallest amount of effort to cut through them, and had taken on the flavour from the mulling spices. A light cream cheese, crunch from an oaty crumble base, and some of the poaching liquor adding extra moisture completed the dish. 

Mulled poached pear
Mulled poached pear
Goats cheese & water biscuits
Goats cheese & biscuits
Christmas pudding
Christmas pudding
Chocolate & orange mousse
Chocolate & orange mousse
Lemon posset
Lemon posset (from their main menu)

Not only was the food highly enjoyable, the service was impeccable and I was so grateful for the staff’s helpfulness and flexibility!! The Reliance was definitely the best choice for our Christmas lunch this year, it was so good I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll be doing the same again in twelve months time! My best mate and I even agreed, saying ‘this was THE best Christmas meal the Leeds lot have ever had together!!’

Are you visiting one of the city’s fantastic restaurants for a Christmas meal this year, which one?

The Reliance

76-78 North Street

Leeds

LS2 7PN

http://www.the-reliance.co.uk

The Reliance on Urbanspoon

Organising Leeds Christmas lunch!

Every December, the ‘Leeds lot’ that I call our Leeds mates all gather for a celebratory Christmas meal, it’s become a bit of a tradition within our group, and is something we’ve done as long as I can remember over the last decade or so. In the early years our festive lunch with all the trimmings was spent at the West End pub in Kirkstall, mainly because we all lived within a few miles of the place, and for many of us, it was our local. 

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Some Christmas lunch dishes from the past

Over that period of time many friends have gotten married, moved further afield, had children making it more of a challenge to get us all together. As yours truly organises it, it’s always been a priority as soon as September arrives to get it organised. Why so early? I’m sure you know as well as I do, how hard it can be to organise a single date or place that a large group of people can attend at the same time!

It can be quite an arduous process and I have to treat it a bit like a military operation, but it all gets done in the end, sometimes after a little gentle cajoling to kick some into action. This year I’m so excited it’s at The Reliance, it’s a place I love and have eaten there on and off since moving to Leeds. Everyone’s selected their 2/3 courses and I’m eager to start tucking into our lunch in a couple of weeks time, having a laugh whilst wearing Christmas cracker hats and telling each other bad jokes. 

Of course there are other fantastic independents which also have a Christmas menu, including Shears YardArts Cafe BarCross Keys Bird & BeastKendells Bistro and Dish.

Are you visiting one of Leeds’ many restaurants for a Christmas meal, which ones? 

Lunch Date @ The Reliance, Leeds

I love to eat, and I love going to places which are consistently good, as why would I bother to spend time writing about it. But going part-time has got its obvious pros and cons – working two days a week has afforded me time to do lots more fun stuff, have leisurely lunches and catch up with friends, but nowadays I have to be more thoughtful of where to go on a budget, I don’t want to eat somewhere that serves sub-standard food with poor service. Who does eh?!

Last week I had a lovely catch-up with a girl friend (another part-time teacher) and her gorgeous little girl. We could’ve easily headed into Horsforth where she lives, but she had a hankering for town. With this in mind, I thought where can I go that I know I’ll always get a good tasty feed, feel at home and get my money’s worth, as much as I’d like to splurge I can’t afford to do that as much now.

My suggestion of The Reliance was welcomed, we’d not been for ages and have had memorable feeds here in the past. This city centre eatery has been a haunt of ours for years, one of our first visits was for my best mates birthday some 12/13 years ago. Since then, it’s been the scene of many girly get-togethers, reunions and leaving dinners. 

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For somewhere that’s probably classed as a pub, they serve relaxed informal dishes with a bit of refinement. The lunch menu has much to offer at reasonable prices, and a plus point is seeing their homemade charcuterie, as well a selection of specials to choose from too. 

A couple of glasses of wine ordered, both doing the job nicely and after finally ordering…we were too busy nattering, sorry, it was time to sit back and relax.

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Our choices from a menu which is reasonably priced – for my friend the beef and pork meatballs sandwich (tying with the aubergine parmigiana as my second choice), and the beer battered whitebait off the specials board for myself. Both of us were too tempted by the twice cooked chips so added these on for good measure.

The Reliance is a great all-rounder I think, it’s has a lovely relaxed ambience, high ceilings and the massive curved windows lends itself well to allowing light to flood into the space. Even though I’d chosen the table in the corner by the window road noise wasn’t particularly evident, may’ve been that we were too busy chatting to notice!! Regardless, it’s a very easy place to feel at ease.

My whitebait were fried till golden and covered in a light, crisp batter. Portion-wise they hadn’t scrimped and I quite happily worked my way through the whole lot. Twice cooked chips were crisp and with the mayo on the side made for a tasty lunch all in all.

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My friends meatball sandwich proved to be a hit with both mother and daughter!! I was a tad jealous I must say, I’ll keep it in mind for next time.

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So if you fancy a lunch in town, it doesn’t matter that it’s on the other side of the city centre, it’s the quality and value for money that counts, rather than the matter of a few minutes of extra walking.

Lunch for two, with two glasses of wine and a coffee came to £30 including tip. The food on its own would have cost just £17.90 for two.

Food: well balanced lunch menu, decent prices. Well cooked and very tasty.

Service: can’t be faulted here, as friendly and relaxed as ever.

Atmosphere: it was a quiet week day lunch so diners were spread out in different rooms.

The Reliance
76-78 North St
Leeds
LS2 7PN
0113 295 6060 

The Reliance on Urbanspoon

Solo dining @ The Reliance, Leeds

It was Friday late afternoon and I was home alone, plans with the best mate were cancelled and my husband was visiting his best mate. So what to do for dinner, I couldn’t be bothered cooking for one so went to the old faithful twitter for advice in my moment of need!! Thankfully @LeedsFoodnDrink came to the rescue. They asked if I to wanted to stay in or go out and I’d replied the latter. I realised the other day after reading an article about dining solo that I’m more than happy dining out alone just as much as I do with my mates, I don’t really know why that is, but I do. A few minutes later they tweeted back suggesting the Reliance. I’ve been to the Reliance many times and always had a good time whether it be a sunday brunch/lunch/dinner, so when the suggestion popped up on my twitter feed I quickly said ‘yes’.

The Reliance is a gastro pub found in Leeds city centre on a corner of North Street at the end of town. It’s been around for years now and has a very faithful following amongst Leeds folk.IMG_3960

I headed into town and arrived before it got too busy, it was Friday evening and all so I knew if I was going on spec I’d need to head down early-ish. The Reliance always has a very relaxed feel to it, it has a nice open bar area, the main dining room is up a few steps, a private dining room for parties and a smaller sitting room with comfy leather chairs. The place is very open with lots of light coming from it’s huge windows, and the main dining room has really blossomed since they knocked a wall down and made the space a lot bigger. The kitchen is far more open than it used to be and feels like a more welcoming space. The place is decked out simply with lots of wooden tables and mismatched chairs which I like, it’s not pretending to be something it isn’t.

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They have a lovely menu, not just the usual pub grub, they try to a bit more adventurous and even produce their own charcuterie in situ, using Yorkshire rare breed meat. I was so tempted to have a little platter to start with, but I thought better of it having already spoken about it glowingly at another Leeds favourite Friends of Ham. The Reliance provide the Fennel Salami and Coppa for their delicious Yorkshire Board.

After a long look at the menu and their specials board, I finally chose the cod and crab cake followed by the aubergine parmigiana. I’d had parmigiana in a few other eateries in town and thought it would be interesting to compare them.

I happily tucked into the fresh bread that was placed on my table while the starter was being prepared. I was really looking forward to it and when it arrived I was very happy. They were great, perfectly cooked little fish cakes, really moist and both main components were balanced and their flavours could be picked out with ease. I really liked the smokey chilli jam, the smokiness really came through, but didn’t mask the flavour of the fish and the chilli gave a huge smack of heat to the dish. My only gripe would be that I wish the portion size was a little bigger, with three fish cakes instead of two, as they were small.

Crab and cod cakes with smoked chilli jam
Crab and cod cakes with smoked chilli jam

The aubergine parmigiana arrived, first it was a little difficult to eat just because of the pot it was baked in, it was very tomatoey and had a lot of sauce, quite a bit of cheese and the aubergine tasted good but wasn’t as soft as I may have expected it to be. The caponata was nice and chunky, I’m not the greatest lover of olives, so I could pick them out and eat the capers, onions and aubergines which were lovely and soft, but still retain some of the umaminess from the olives. The caponata had a nice sharpness to it, and wasn’t swimming in oil which was a good thing. I loved the focaccia, I think it was the best bit, lovely and soft middle, with good flavour from olives and was great for mopping up the tasty oil from the caponata and tomato sauce in my pot. I’ve eaten parmigiana in a few other places in town and this tasted good, but I preferred the others just because I like a little less sauce and for slightly softer aubergine.

Aubergine parmigiana, Reliance baked focaccia and caponata
Aubergine parmigiana, Reliance baked focaccia and caponata

The service is always good here, whether you’re at the bar or eating, they are friendly, relaxed and informative when needed. I especially like the staff here because they don’t fuss around you. Apart from the food they are marked highly in the drinks stakes, with a good wine list and arguably an even better beer and lager list. It’s got lots of variety and the place host guest ales and ciders on a regular basis, making use of the talent from local independent breweries.

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Next week they are holding an evening with Knaresborough based Rooster’s Brewery, showcasing their food in a four course menu and food matching with their ales.

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I’d recommend The Reliance, it’s a place where you can sit and read your morning paper with a coffee, have a lazy lunch whilst people watching with friends, have dinner and stay into the evening or dine solo like I did. Total cost was £19.40 (without service charge).

Food: Tasty

Service: Great

Atmosphere: Relaxed, informal

Value for money: More than you’d pay for in a bog standard pub, but tastes great!

The Reliance
76-78 North St
Leeds LS2 7PN
0113 295 6060

http://www.the-reliance.co.uk

The Reliance on Urbanspoon