We had the pleasure of trying Leeds’ latest pop up restaurant this week and it was a very exciting meal indeed! The city’s very own Liz Cottam, who came fifth in this year’s Masterchef, has been looking for the ideal location to host her own restaurant. After much deliberation Liz confirmed her residency at the New Ellington hotel just a few weeks ago.
A beautiful venue, but a little off the beaten track, we were keen to see what plans Liz had for the place. We’ve dined with Liz before – she runs her own adhoc supperclub from her gorgeous house in Gildersome. Her atmospheric, panelled dining room is more Manor than the Manor – so maybe she’ll let us do a residency at hers whilst she’s busy at the New Ellington?!
The few times we’ve eaten Liz’s food I’ve always been amazed by her attention to detail with the intricate plating up – given she’s an amateur after all – and the lovely flavours she carefully and thoughtfully brings together. This translated well into her first proper restaurant service, with dishes that felt high end, luxurious and tasty.
First up at her launch meal we enjoyed a mushroom consume with mushroom puree, gnocchi and shavings of truffle. This was an umami smack in the face, if ever there was one, and the strong truffle certainly elevated the dish to a luxurious standard.
Next up was Liz’s take on a very refined fish pie. Soft, buttered halibut was swimming in lobster bisque and topped with a crunchy potato crisp, delicate mash and pickled samphire. This was a decorative dish for the eyes and delicious on the palette, with comforting and warming flavours of the sea. I’d seen Liz show this dish off on Twitter so was thrilled to be able to try it.
Liz’s main was a superb offering of lamb. First up was a piece of rolled lamb belly that had been slow cooked for 32 hours and topped with harissa spices and pistachio crumb. Her soft and tasty lamb loin was my favourite of the night – lovely, pink and juicy! This came with fennel, a celeriac puree and spicy rice cracker.
Dessert was Liz’s take on a black forest gateau. A sharp cherry ice cream was paired with chocolate soil, nuts, cherry curd and cherries soaked in kirsch. At first it was deceptively underwhelming, but a taste sensation was created when everything was eaten together – very clever indeed.
So Liz will be at the New Ellington throughout October, November, December. She’ll be doing private dining Monday to Thursday evenings, if you want to book out the whole of the (small) restaurant. In addition she’ll be doing Friday lunches priced at £25 for 3 courses and a 4-course tasting menu on Friday and Saturday evenings priced at £45.
I’ve often felt that Leeds does chains and cheap eats fairy well, but if you want a decent, independent, posh meal then I always struggle to know where to go. Perhaps Liz’s new venture could fill this gap? If you like modern, British cuisine cooked with passion and innovation then do give it go. What’s more, Liz intends to serve the dishes herself, so you’ll be able to get some Masterchef gossip along with your feed!
The New Ellington – York Place Leeds – BOOK NOW
Our first meal with Liz at her home was fully paid for. For our visit to the New Ellington, we were invited as Liz’s guests and the meal was complimentary however all views are our own.