Monthly Archives: January 2014

Anyone for guinea pig?!

We had a bit of a break from supperclubs over the Christmas period, mainly so that we could take some time out and let other people do the cooking for us! Last weekend we were back with a bang with a  menu inspired by Martin Morales’ Ceviche book. These Peruvian treats are usually served at the Soho restaurant of the same name, run by Anglo-Peruvian Morales. We’ve been excited to bring them to the Manor, mainly because we thought the chilli heat and fresh veg would be a good antidote to the festive splurge and January blues!

Over two nights we welcomed 26 guests into the Manor, including an unexpected baby, who didn’t dine in the end! Guests were first treated to our take on a dark and stormy. We had originally planned to serve Pisco, Peru’s national spirit, but Gerry’s had sold out of it, so we bought in some lovely South American rum, full of spicy sweetness. This was mixed up with plenty of ginger beer and lime juice – a welcome aperitif for a stormy evening.

Susie whipped up some tasty canapes to get mouths watering. These included quenelles of spicy butterbean dip, served atop crispy triangles of corn tortilla. It wouldn’t be a South American event without empanadas and this months version came brimming with spiced beef and olive, wrapped in fluffy pastry – perfect with a  squeeze of lime! Also served up were golden balls of cassava stuffed with cheese – we do love a golden ball at the Manor! A final amouse bouche of broad bean soup was brought out to finish the canapes. This was purposefully simple and comforting as an antidote to the spicy food to come. butterbean dip Empanadas de carne Continue reading


There have been some fantastic January restaurant offers across Leeds this new year. This has been a great way of tempting people out after a decadent Christmas and a good way to get to know the city’s newest arrivals to sample their wares and see if paying full price is worth doing!

One such place I found myself at last week was Rare – a meaty British bistro on Lower Briggate. Rare is situated in the gay quarter, right next door to Queen’s Court. If I recall rightly then this was once a vintage clothes shop. It’s barely recognisable now with a very modern and cosy make over – think lots of wood and candlelight. Upstairs is a welcoming bar and downstairs the main restaurant complete with life-size stuffed cow in a glass cabinet!

I’d had a quick gander at the menu earlier in the week. Mainly meat, it’s split into animal themes – beef, pork, game, chicken etc. It’s not the most extensive of menus but there was enough to tempt me. The starters were a mix of wings, ribs etc. It felt like an English version of the popular American BBQ restaurants. I went for the pork ribs whilst my dining partner went for the salt and vinegar wings. My ribs were ok. The pork ribs were really just slices of belly pork, which were a bit too fatty and chewy for my liking. The salad and beetroot chutney accompaniments were a nice relief from the slightly tough meat. The wings seemed to be enjoyed by my fellow diner but when I tried one I found the vinegar marinade overpowering, so much so that it made my eyes water!

Rare ribs

For mains we went for the OTT 1kg porterhouse steak to share – it was 50% off after all. I expected a vulgar and humongous piece of meat to arrive but was slightly disappointed about what did arrive. A porterhouse is an oversized T-bone complete with tenderloin and top loin. The meat was quite juicy and full of flavour, but not the best steak I have ever had. We had sides of triple cooked chips and celeriac mustard slaw. The chips were good, probably my favourite part of the meal. The slaw was very mayonaissy and lacking in the flavour of celeriac or mustard.

Rare steak

I’d expected to be stuffed after my promised massive steak. As I wasn’t we both opted for dessert. The cinder toffee sticky toffee pudding sounded too good to be true and was a must. The cinder toffee was beautiful, full of honey flavour. The pudding didn’t quite hit the mark. A very moist sponge was coated in a bland sweet sauce that didn’t quite have the depth or richness required. Similarly the cox apple ice cream it came with was also a little bland.

Rare dessert

So what did I like? Well the service was spot on. Everyone made us feel very welcome and looked after. We were regularly asked for feedback and were listened to. I wasn’t drinking but had no idea what uninspiring soft drink to go for. As a result the waitress offered to make me a mocktail off piste which was a lovely and thoughtful touch. What I also liked was the honesty that staff had about the menu. For example the game section was missing. When probed, staff revealed that this was because the chef had been experimenting with recipes but wasn’t happy enough to send the dishes out. I liked the fact that the kitchen was being experimental and critical – it’s a sign of a healthy and productive kitchen.

Would I go back? If the offer was on again then yes I would, to give the food a second chance. Had we been paying full price then our meal would have been over £100 and given that I wasn’t drinking that seemed very steep to me. As we were leaving I glanced at the bar menu which looked far more exciting – homemade pork scratchings, burgers etc. I also noted that they do meat and spirit pairing evenings on a Wednesday. The pork and tequila night caught my eye and so I shall try and return for that! I shall look forward to a drink or two and a nibble in the bar but I won’t be rushing back for  a full sit down meal at this stage.

A Mediterranean Feast – Inspired by Ottolenghi

This event is sold out

We’re pleased to announce that we’re holding a super special impromptu supperclub on Friday 7th February.

This event will be inspired by one of our Manor favourites – Yotam Ottolenghi. For those of you who have watched his fabulous Mediterranean Feast and Island Feast shows, You’ll know this is unpretentious, flavoursome food that lets the ingredients shine for themselves.

What’s more, the menu’s already been chosen. This is an informal affair so the first half will be interactive, as we’ll be serving up a number of small plates to share before heading into the mains…so if you fancy a bit of Mediterranean grub, and this takes your fancy, then book on now by using the link below.


Tickets for this event are £30pp.

Dinner NOT at the Manor!

Regular readers will be aware that we will be closing the doors of the Manor on April 12th 2014 so that we can undertake some much needed renovations to the house over the summer. We plan to reopen again in September.

For those of you who can’t wait that long for your monthly fix of supperclub action, then fear not! Plans are underway for us to do some exciting pop up events in other venues, and so we’re putting a call out for potential venues. If you have an available and exciting venue with dining space for a minimum of 12, somewhere to cook food and are in Leeds and Bradford then get in touch!

If this sounds like you then contact us on our email We’re looking for venues for June, July and August 2014. If you’re interested in dining at these upcoming events then keep an eye out on this blog for announcements over the next few months. The best way to hear first is to register to receive emails from the blog or follow us on twitter @dine_leeds

Sad News

I’m afraid we have some sad news to report from the Manor.  Just before Christmas our lovely cat Chester died unexpectedly, leaving us all devastated. Chester was a firm fixture at the Manor, I’d like to think of him as the supperclub equivalent of Chalky the dog! I know many of our guests were fond of him and would often ask where he was when I had chased him off to keep him away from the food! He was never fazed by a dining room full of strangers and would always strut in shamelessly to say hello. Anyway I thought I’d blog about some of my favourite supperclub related Chester memories as a fitting tribute to a top cat!


Continue reading

Noma – Part II

So, onto part II of our experience at Noma! If you haven’t seen part I, it’s here

Wooo Noma!

Wooo Noma!

Having had the huge array of canapes in the first part of the meal, the second part allowed us to start sampling the wines to go with each dish. Now I’m not a massive wine expert, so I won’t even try and describe each one we drank but I do like being introduced to wines that I wouldn’t normally choose. I love the way that a wine can change once paired with food. Biodynamic, natural, unfiltered wines are all the rage in Denmark and they’re something that you’ll either love or hate! The wines can almost take on a cider / sherry flavour, nothing crisp or fresh here! Anyway, back onto the rest of the food. Continue reading

January Menu – Peruvian Feast

Happy New Year! We’re back and feeling refreshed after our little jaunt to Copenhagen and we’ll be sharing all of our fun dining experiences we had over there soon!

We’re ready to open the doors to the Manor soon and our next event sees bringing some much needed sunshine and spice to perk up those January blues in the form of some Peruvian delights.

2013 saw a couple of notable wins for Peruvian Cuisine – London restaurant Lima was awarded a coveted Michelin star and the success of Martin Morales’ Ceviche restaurant and book led to the opening of his new restaurant Andina just before Christmas.

It is from Morales’ Ceviche book that we’ll be taking inspiration from and we hope our guests are excited as we are!

We’d love to know what you think.

January 2014 - Peruvian Feast

Noma – Part I

It’s taken me an age to write this post, mainly because there is just so much to write about. In its entirety I’ve written just under 2000 words on Noma so I’ve decided to split this up into two posts. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it!

Just before Christmas Dan and I were dining at one of the best restaurants in the world, the mad world of Rene Redzepi and his team at Noma, and realising a dining ambition we’ve had for years.

We started planning our trip to Copenhagen just under a year ago, not knowing whether or not we would actually be able to book those elusive spaces… Months later, October came around and we eagerly sat at our computers waiting for the bookings to open up. We realised that we had only one day during our stay due to Christmas, which really narrowed down our chances. Would we get a reservation?!… Yes we would! Hooray! Only, we realised that our flight landed after reservation, Nooooo! After much deliberation we decided to change our flights! Dan and I were going to the ball and something like flights wouldn’t stop us!

We’ll have a few Copenhagen write ups coming soon, but for now just sit back and take in the poor quality photos and my ramblings of this delicious affair.


So, Noma. The Nordic powerhouse that put Scandinavian fine dining on the radar. Two Michelin stars and crowned the worlds best restaurant for three years (now rated 2nd). We’d seen glimpses of Noma on programmes, such as Masterchef, and read everything there is to know about Rene Redzepi, but what would it actually be like to experience Noma, would it be everything we expected and more? What would we eat? Insects? Moss? Badgers?! Continue reading