I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last blog post! The blog took a bit of a back seat over the last year, as the husband and I did a lot of exams, worked tough jobs, and most importantly of all made a tiny human! We’ve just been out for our first date night since the girl made her appearance nearly four months ago, and it reignited my love of good food, and letting everyone else know about it! We have been out for some wonderful meals in the last year before we became parents, enjoying what this great city (and beyond) has to offer. We are looking forward to exploring Leeds more, finding more wonderful places, and perhaps entering the world of baby friendly eateries! So, to revive Show Me The Food, here is a whirlwind tour of some lovely meals that didn’t, but should have gotten a whole blog post, this is our year in food…
Last October, which seems forever ago now, we ventured to a supper club named the Fat Faced Cat, hosted by a lovely couple who have a passion for great food, and sharing it with others in their own home. We ate for hours on end, with dish after dish of amazing home cooked food appearing, chatted with new people round one big dining room table with plenty of wine freely flowing. The evening started with prosecco cocktails in the living room, getting to know the other diners, whilst nibbling on sriacha popcorn (so moreish), popcron cockles (little fish explosions of yumminess), and candied bacon (great idea, and some people totally love this, but wasn’t for me). We moved through to the dining room, cracked the various wine bottles (a bring your own affair), and worked our way through five main courses and three desserts! The mains included a pig’s cheek doughnut, inspired by the menu at the Duck and Waffle, a glorious pairing of tasty shredded pigs cheek, and soft dough covered in sweet paprika; seabass ceviche, which was so refreshing and light, a great palate cleanser; and melt in the mouth slow roast lamb flavoured with balsamic and thyme, served with creamy mashed potatoes.
And then, with zero space in my stomach I still managed to eat some of the desserts – I wanted to finish everything, it was all so beautifully presented and tasty, but I may have exploded! The gin and tonic granita was tangy, with a definite alcoholic kick, the strawberry and pistachio crumble was a lovely mix of sharp and sweet, but the favourite dessert of the night was the white chocolate mousse with kaffir lime. This was a rich and creamy mousse, with a perfect consistency, and intense chocolate flavour.
This supper club was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, and if our hosts didn’t have such wonderful careers already, I would tell them to become professional chefs! If you can get your hands on a few tickets to their next event then consider yourself very lucky and enjoy it!
In January, my mother-in-law graduated at Durham Cathedral, so the whole family went out for a meal to celebrate her achievements. The Cellar Door provides riverside dining in a converted 13th century door, and if I wasn’t taken there by my in-laws I would never have known it existed, with it’s tiny entrance and narrow stair well leading down to the bright, airy restaurant. I think between us we sampled most of the menu, including version shank, roast pheasant and Arctic char, and all of it was delightful.
All the dishes were well presented, a good size, and very yummy. My highlight was the peanut butter and jelly dessert (I’m sold on most things if peanut butter is featured!), which featured soft, gooey peanut butter brownies, served with a creamy raspberry mascarpone for that perfect blend of sharp and sweet. The staff were friendly and attentive, and helped make it a great celebratory occasion.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day last year, the husband and I made reservations at Ipsum Vinoteca, a small Italian wine bar, near the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It may not have been the best choice for us at the time, as they were running a special menu with a choice of just two starters, mains and desserts, and my being newly pregnant, my choice was very limited! Nevertheless, it was a good meal, very intimate with only five tables, and the atmosphere was very romantic. Unfortunately, the food was not that amazing, just nice. I had the octopus starter, and the turbot main, so maybe I just had seafood overload (it was the safer option compared with Ali’s pink meat choices!), but neither blew me away, and Ali felt the same about his pigeon breast and lamb rack.
The desserts, a baked cheesecake with berries, and a chilli chocolate lava cake were the best bit of the meal, with the cake a warming sweet gooey explosion, and the cheesecake, creamy and sharp. I’m not sure we’ll go again for dinner, but I would definitely like the visit to sample their wines, the choice looks incredible, and the staff seemed very knowledgeable.
In May, as part of the Leeds Indie Food Festival, we went to a Live Art Dining Experience, with food from Leeds favourite The Swine That Dines, with comedy, theatre and dance thrown in. It was certainly a new experience, and made for a very interesting dinner! We started with a do it yourself ramen in the comedian’s dining room, whilst learning what makes a great dinner party. The food was great, fresh noodles, fresh veg, and lots of additions to customise the meal! The comedian was ok, a bit of a lad for my liking, but he was funny, and he gave folk the opportunity to chat. The main course of cheese tart, sweet potato mash with salad was served with a dance and drama act highlighting the issues of feminism we are confronted with in today’s society. It was weird, interesting and highly entertaining! The food was just average, a bit cold, but did the job.
The desserts, presented on modern art installations were very tasty, and the dessert you chose determined the next act, a one on one performance! I chose a the profiteroles, with a sickly, sweet delicious sauce, and was ushered to a confession booth for a deep and meaningful chat! The evening was very different, enjoyable and fun!
And lastly, to end this mammoth blog post – for my 30th birthday, Ali took me to The Man Behind The Curtain, Leeds’ very own Michelin starred restaurant, and what a treat it was. The entrance is concealed inside Flannels department store, with a lift opening into a light and airy restaurant, with beautiful modern art decor. The tasting menu was kindly adapted to suit my pregnant body, so no raw meat or raw fish for me, whilst Ali ventured into new territory for him with oysters, squid and charcoal! Each dish was wonderful, with exciting, flavourful bites, and so different to anything I’ve eaten before. From a purely black item, even down to the bowl, with charcoal and squid ink added to cod loin, crispy potatoes and gem lettuce; to Iberian pork, egg yolk and edible egg shell, looking like it had cracked all over the plate; to a veal sweetbread served in a bright red steamed bun, with a spicy seafood sauce, everything tasted amazing, and the sometimes baffling pairings just worked.
The desserts excelled as well, my favourite was the violet ice cream topped with chocolate disguised as a piece of foil, smothered in a potato custard, topped with spicy puffed potatoes – weird, but it worked, and it was a lovely end to an amazing meal. I’d definitely recommend going, its a once in a lifetime experience, and I can see why you have to book months in advance!
So, there you have it, a few highlights from a wonderful year – bring on 2017 and show me the food!!