Tag Archives: Restaurants

New Dates Coming Soon…On Sale Now!

A quick heads up supperclub fans! We have picked our new dates for April and May 2015 and they are now on sale. The events will be as follows, click on the book now links below!

Saturday 18th April 2015Persiana – Fully Booked

April’s event will be a Persian themed 6-course dinner (£35pp) in honour of our fellow superclubber Sabrina Ghayour who is hanging up her supperclub apron shortly. She’s hit it big with her cookbook Persiana and we love cooking from it so will be showcasing recipes from it, to show what a great and accessible book it is! Sorry,this event is now fully booked


Saturday 30th May 2015 – American Afternoon Tea – Fully Booked

May’s event will be an American themed afternoon tea. Think big, sweet, creamy, rich and filthy and you’re halfway there! This daytime event will be £20pp. Sorry,this event is now fully booked

We’ll have other events on sale soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Eating Canada!

Firstly an apology for the lack of posts of late. I’ve been in the Americas drinking beer and eating big food, whilst Susie has been busy baking over on her Sticky Pinny site – check it out!


Anyway now I am back in the real world I thought I would share with you some of the stories from my travels. I never thought I would ever say this, but if I’m honest I got a bit sick of eating out! Try it every day for 3 weeks and you’ll get what I mean. I even got to the stage where I was by-passing starters and desserts – what monster have I created?! A positive about eating out in Canada and the US is the HUGE range, ethnic diversity and value for money. The pound was a bit unsteady due to the impending Scottish referendum, but despite that there were no eye watering bills, making everything very affordable and accessible.

We travelled all over the North West coast of North America – starting in Vancouver, popping over to Vancouver island, a quick detour to Seattle, a trek over to the beautiful Canadian Rockies and then finally across the prairies to Calgary – land of oil and cowboys! Vancouver undoubtedly had the best selection and range of delicious Asian food. I had succulent soft shell crab and soft black cod in sweet miso that was of a Chino Latino standard and yet a fraction of the price. However the meal that stood out for us the most was perhaps the most unexpected…


Picture the scene: tall pine trees covered in snow, looming rocky mountains and little wood cabins with roaring log fires. This was our ‘glamping’ site in Jasper. The last thing we expected to find in the camp grounds was a gourmet dining room. A quick check on trip advisor confirmed it was one of the top eateries in the area – what a coincidence!

Tekarra cabin

The Tekarra Lodge is a top of the range dining experience, so exclusive that even Marilyn Monroe has eaten there. It prides itself on sustainability, provenance and unique flavours and cooking techniques.

The dining room was simply decorated with lots of wood and good quality napkins. The tables were adorned with paper tablecloths and pots of crayons. We drew away to our hearts content, as you will see! The seasonal menu was mouth watering and portions coming out of the kitchen were not overfacing but not stingy either. I enjoyed the show stopper starter of salmon three ways. This old school dish often conjures up visions of slimy smoked salmon and stiff salmon fillets. Fear not, none of these were present in my dish. A ponzu marinated salmon was bright red and full of umami flavours. A tempura sushi roll of salmon was the lightest sushi I’ve ever had. The homesmoked salmon (complete with smoke filled closh) was deep, earthy and almost spicy from the delicious smoke. Every mouthful was a joy – a starter to make the other diners very jealous indeed.


My main was a sous vide venison, cinnamon charcoal and game sausage. If I’m honest I did feel that the venison was a little on the tough side and the sausage a bit dry. However it wasn’t until the end that I started to use the cinnamon charcoal as a condiment and I wish I’d tried it earlier. It looked beautiful gleaming away on my plate but I had no idea whether to dare eat it. When I did it gave the meat a lovely sweet and soft flavour and so I started piling it on! I’ve no idea if I was meant to be eating it but it really did transform the dish into something very wonderful.


Wine-wise we wanted a bottle of British Columbian merlot. Now Canada isn’t the most famous wine producer and the wines we did get to try on our travels were not punchy showstoppers but more of the easy drinking variety. The Canadians don’t make enough wine to export lots of it, which is why we don’t see much this side of the Atlantic. They also did not make enough for us to enjoy with our dinner that night! And so we disappointingly opted for a consistent Argentinian Malbec. Lovely all the same but not with the provenance that we wanted for our meal! At least it was from the right continent I guess.

Moving onto dessert I kept it simple with a cocktail glass full of maple ice cream with a shot of maple whiskey poured on top, yum! The whiskey in Canada is a lot cleaner and sweeter than its Scottish smoky counterpart. The addition of maple syrup turned it into a very pleasant liqueur – delicious with the ice cream.

Our waitress was very efficient and non-intrusive, which is a massive skill in the Americas when usually they are working overtime to get their tips from you. This was appreciated as we could just get on with our meal and enjoy it. Richard did manage to get locked in the toilet just as the main courses arrived! In Canada I swear that no door locks worked. They were either broken, non existent or scary and confusing mechanisms! Very stressful in a toilet going situation! Anyway in this case he was ejected quickly with little embarrassment which was a relief!

Crayon table

Overall this was a delicious slap up meal that felt very special indeed, and what’s more it was a mere two second stroll back to our cabin afterwards – perfect! We left the dining room with our present of an artistically doodled tablecloth which I am sure they will treasure. It was a great idea as it made a potentially stuffy venue much more informal and fun. For a bit of unexpected luxury in the rugged, isolated Rockies do check this lovely little gem out.


Gastronomic Glasgow

The lovely Scottish Highlands

The lovely Scottish Highlands

I’ve been off gallivanting round the beautiful Scottish highlands this past week, the North coast to be precise. Full of bleak, dramatic and breath-taking scenery all in one! It’s a fair old schlep up there from Leeds so we broke our journey home in the bustling metropolis of Glasgow for some on trend eating and drinking. I have to admit that I did expect Glasgow to be a bit more shiny and gleaming than it was, especially given that the Commonwealth Games take place in less than a month – the Olympic effect it has not had, which is a shame. Having said that we still stumbled on a few gems that it’s worth sharing with you.

The newly developing area of Finnieston is where it’s at in Glasgow these days. About 2 miles out of the city centre, this was once an industrial wasteland in rapid decline since the end of ship building heyday. However a bit of organic regeneration has seen it start to emerge like a phoenix from the recession ashes. Cheap rents and proximity to the city have attracted young folk and with young folk come trendy bars and eateries, winner! The Finnieston end of the very long Argyle Street is where to head – sympathetically renovated buildings now play home to delicious restaurants, pop ups and speakeasys. If I had to compare it to anywhere I’d say Leeds’ Call Lane when it was first burgeoning (although that doesn’t do it justice at all tbh).  A better comparison is Uberkampf in Paris which has recently transformed from a pretty rough area into a hip and happening oasis of fun and frivolity.

The Gannet - Finnieston, Glasgow

The Gannet – Finnieston, Glasgow

We ate the at the hotly tipped Gannet – a homage to good Scottish produce, served up in a once derelict building. They cure their own meats and smoke their own fish, so I’m wasn’t going to argue. The venue is all bare brick, exposed wires and natural wood. Staff were friendly, genuinely interested in you and helpful in explaining the menus. They do a good early bird, even on a Saturday, but we still opted for the ala carte because it sounded so nice.Gannet Menu

For starters I had to go for the home smoked salmon with crab and fennel salad. The salmon was soft and light, with the smoking very gentle indeed, which is a skill in itself. My fennel salad was lovely and crisp but it’s only writing this now that I’ve realised there was no sign of the crab which is so disappointing! I feel bereft! My dining partner had the oddly paired scallops and confit chicken wing. He however reported that they were in a fact a decent pairing, the fatty, salty chicken a good counter balance to the sweet scallop and all married together nicely by the smooth pea puree.

Gannet Scallops

Gannet Salmon

For mains we both went for the borders lamb, which was a pleasingly hearty portion. The plating meant that as a diner I kept finding new little treats and tit bits on the plate that I wasn’t expecting, which meant for exciting eating! The lamb rump was soft, pink and melt in the mouth. Cubes of crispy belly gave a salty umami edge to the dish with fresh crispness delivered by the braised baby gem and broad beans. A slightly sweet cumin sauce kept the dish beautifully moist and colourful. It was very good eating indeed!

Gannet Lamb

For dessert we shared a caramel fondant and tonka bean ice cream. I still don’t understand how the fondant was produced – sponge filled with caramel… I’m guessing a sponge case injected with caramel before baking? The caramel for me was very sweet and lacking in the burnt sugar/ salty tastes I had anticipated. The ice cream had more of a coconut flavour, not that I’m entirely sure what tonka bean tastes of anyway?! It was a nice accompaniment to the warm cake, elevated by the crumbs of honeycomb on top. Overall a very pleasant meal, made special by the attention to detail in the ingredients and the attitude and attentiveness of the lovely staff.

Gannet Fondant

With full bellies we luckily had room for a few cocktails and so my other tips for Finnieston include – the Kelvingrove Café for grown up cocktails. It’s right next door to the Gannet and is decorated in the style of a vintage Parisian café upstairs and an illegal 1920s speakeasy downstairs. We sat downstairs and enjoyed watching the bar man expertly and speedily produce our cocktails in cut glass. All are gin and vermouth based, so my kind of place! A few doors down is the Finneston, which is a nautical themed pub – think lots of wood and portholes! Again gin is big business here with over sixty on offer. There’s an extensive menu to tempt you. I went for the Scottish gin and tonic which comes with fresh red apple. This was extremely refreshing but too gluggabale! I swiftly moved on to their signature martini which comes wet as standard and includes grapefruit oils. There’s a huge ritual to making the drinks which is lovely to watch. The martinis are served up in tiny glasses but then the remainder of the mix is given to you in a mini jug so that you can top up to your heart’s content. I liked the idea of adding aromatic oils to the drink but felt it wasn’t as pronounced as I would have expected it to be. I’ll be trying the dirty martini next time which comes with the brine from kalamata olives, yum!


Martini (640x568)

So, if like me you’re more of an Edinburgh kind of person then do give Glasgow’s Finneston suburb a look in next time you’re in Scotland. It’s edgier, more creative and more innovative then the foodie scene in Edinburgh and whilst it doesn’t have the same romantic, historic charm of Edinburgh, it’s worth a look in to keep up with the latest trends and fads.

Read more about Finnieston here – http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/feb/09/a-day-in-finnieston-glasgow-city-guide







A weekend (or two) in London

It’s nearly a decade since I left London and moved back to Leeds, scary really as it feels like yesterday. I was there for less than two years but this was time well spent as it now means when I go back I can travel the tube like a local, I know lots of the hidden neighbourhood gems and I always have somebody to stay with! It feels like I’ve been up and down the East Coast mainline too many times of late – this is what comes of having free time now we’ve scaled back the supperclub! Anyway I thought I’d share with you some of my weekend tips for fun foodie things to do:

Dinner in Peru

Latin American food has really taken off in the UK, the latest additions to the scene being Martin Morales’ Peruvian beauties Andina and Ceviche. Ceviche is a cosy bar/ restaurant in Soho whilst Andina is a slightly roomier, more modern branch in Shoreditch. Food is served tapas style – my favourites being the amazing Ceviche Andina – full of sea bass, physallis and swimming in restorative tiger’s milk; the chocolo corn cake with uchatta sauce – soft, comforting and so moreish; and the salty, spicy pisco beef skewers. Be sure not to miss out on the house classic pisco sour for the true Peruvian experience.

Supperclubs with a twist

Supperclub on a tube train

Supperclub on a tube train

Ever keen to try supperclubs up and down the breadth of the country our latest visit was to Basement Galley. Previously run in his basement in Brixton, Alex has recently moved his foodie venture to a disused 1967 Victoria line tube train in Walthamstow. Lost in the back and beyond of suburban London this was truly a secret and bizarre experience! Sadly our meal was their last night aboard the train, but Alex has promised to be bringing the Galley back to a new and exciting venue soon, so keep your eyes peeled! We loved the bonkers palate cleanser of ‘gin’ jelly and ‘tonic’ sherbet that fizzed and excited the mouth, as well as the cheesy and comforting risotto balls. Bearing in mind that this was food prepared in a museum and a car park it was pretty top notch. What’s more drinks were supplied by pop up bar peeps Shot Tails providing decent wines and cocktails at non London prices! It was fun to drink wine aboard a tube now that Boris has banned it, but less fun clambering over everybody to get to the toilet!

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market

Nothing can prepare you for the wonder of Maltby Street Market, although the lovely sunny day probably helped secure its brilliance. Hidden up a Bermondsey back street it’s a foodie paradise full of stalls of streetfood and trendy cocktail and tapas bars. Go hungry so that you can fill up on the treats. It’s all laid out along a line of railway arches – industrial units by day, foodie heaven at the weekend! Everything is reasonably priced and not too big, meaning you can try lots. My favourites included the authentic Mexican tacos at £6 for three (chorizo and potato, beef, pork); the cheese shed grilled cheese sandwiches at £6; and Little Bird gin bloody mary’s at £5. The ultimate must do are the lush burgers from African Volcano. The patties are marinated and then grilled with their trademark peri peri sauces and then served up in a brioche bun that has been soaking in a gorgeous gravy/ sauce type thing and comes with all the trimmings such as cheese, salad, fried onions and pickles. This is the best burger I’ve ever tasted – moist, cheesy, spicy and FIT. At £8 they are at the top end of Maltby eats. They also do a pulled pork bun complete with crackling, and a burger/ pulled pork dirty combo. We shared ours so we could have as many things as possible. Next time I’m having one all for me. Maltby is open Saturdays and Sundays until about 4pm. The street is lined with lots of vintage tables and chairs so you can while away a lovely afternoon and scoff yourself silly.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gin

I used to live near Kew but never went to the famous gardens. At the moment it’s 241 entry in Gardeners World Magazine or with your national rail tickets to London. It’s worth getting the deal as it’s about £16.50 in otherwise. The gardens are a treat in themselves – lots of tranquil spots for picnics and attractions such as the tree top walk where you get to walk on a see-through, wobbly platform amidst the tops of the trees. Breath-taking views and stomach churning heights! At present the Plantasia festival is on, the best bit of which is a gin greenhouse serving lots of refreshing botanicals. Run by London No. 3 gin (made with juniper, orange, grapefruit, coriander, cardamom and angelica – 3 fruits and 3 spices!) I went for the classic G+T with geranium – subtly aromatic. Do have a bit of a wander around Kew when you’re there. It’s a very clean and neat village in London – almost like a theme park it’s so pristine! At the station there’s a fab little baker’s stall selling all sorts of fresh breads, pastries and other sweet and savoury baked treats. We had a load of the mini Portuguese custard tarts – lovely! The train station pub is also worth a look in – light and airy with lots of decent ales on.

British Tapas

Barnyard British Tapas

Barnyard British Tapas

The latest restaurant on Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street is Barnyard – a rustic, rurally themed eatery slap bang in the middle of the city. It got a less than glowing review in the Observer but we were still intrigued, give us a posh sausage roll and we’ll be there! The décor is a bit contrived – think rusty corrugated iron walls, splintering rough wood furniture and plaid shirts. It follows the trend of ordering as many small plates as you want. For me the pricing was a bit odd but the food was consistent. A highlight for me was a beautifully moist and smoky short rib. At £14 this was a tad steep, especially as it literally came as a sole slap of meat and no adornments. It was super fine eating though. The ‘Beyonce’ sausage roll was meaty, crispy and glazed to perfection. Our side of broccoli was smoked within an inch of its life, but all in all it was a meal we were satisfied with. A hit and miss experience but satisfying all the same, do try for something a bit different.


Sherry - fresh from the barrel

Sherry – fresh from the barrel

We stumbled upon Drakes sherry bar when we were exploring Charlotte street. It’s just round the corner from the Sam Smiths pub. The bar is stacked full of gigantic sherry barrels of all shapes and forms. We enjoyed a 20 year old nutty Amontillado, straight from the barrel. It was just what we needed for a sunny Saturday afternoon to help us pretend we were in San Sebastien!

‘Vintage’ pubs

A drunk picture of Catford Constitutional Hall

A drunk picture of Catford Constitutional Hall

The latest trend in public houses appears to be cooperatively owned ‘vintage’ style pubs, restored to look like time capsules from the 1940s! Full of shabby chic furniture, authentic parquet, tatty bunting and half plastered walls. They are a lovely, quaint venue to enjoy a pint in as an antidote to the traditional spit and sawdust London boozer. You have to head a bit out of town to track one down. Essentially they are pop up pubs in historic buildings that have fallen out of love. Places of note are the Catford Constitutional Club and the Ivy House in Nunhead. In Nunhead why not check out the gothic cemetery too… although not with a massive suitcase and banging hangover as I did. Do give these pubs a look in, not only do you get a much needed drink in a cool environment – you’re also helping out the independents and protecting local heritage. Enjoy!

Exciting News – Dinner NOT at the Manor

We have some exciting news about our pop up events for the summer following our hiatus from events at the Manor (darn building work!). Dan and I had a very exciting meeting earlier this week and we can now confirm that we’ll be holding a summer pop up in July.

We’ll be announcing more details within the next few days and you’ll be able to bag yourself a ticket for the event next week.

This will be Dinner at the Manor, but not as you know it!

A weekend in Ripon

A Christmas present from the mother in law found us in Ripon for the weekend. Often overshadowed by the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and the better appointed cities of Harrogate and York, Ripon is not always viewed as a premier Yorkshire destination (well not by me anyway). However, as I was soon to discover, it has lots to offer. Based around a traditional Yorkshire market square, Ripon has a very compact city centre with an imposing but grand cathedral, antique and charity shops and a good number of cosy pubs. It felt a bit of a ghost town when we were there and we heard mention from locals about their fears of the failing high street. This is a real shame as Ripon is less than hour’s drive from Leeds and has all the countryside of the dales on its doorstep, so it really is worth the (short) trip out.

Where we stayed

The aforementioned Christmas present that brought us to Ripon in the first place was a voucher to stay in the impressive Old Deanery. Directly opposite the cathedral this is an ancient building dating back to the 1700s and built on the site of a former monastery. The place is full of character and charm, with wonky floors and ornate staircases. It was restored in the noughties and is now run by a group of very friendly and convivial owners. It has ten bedrooms. We opted to go in the attic as I love being in the eaves. This did not disappoint – lots of beams and good views of the cathedral. The room was lovely and big with a huge bathroom to match. A roof terrace was available just outside our bathroom window, but we didn’t use it as it wasn’t the nicest of days! Breakfast the next day was very impressive. My traditional Yorkshire breakfast was full of good quality bacon, sausages and black pudding, and I loved the granola, yoghurt and berries that preceded it.

The Old Deanery, Ripon

The Old Deanery, Ripon

Where we ate


The Old Deanery had a decent sounding menu, but we wanted to explore slightly further afield. Having researched on tripadvisor I had stumbled across Samphire Bistro – an independently run restaurant that’s been open about 18 months and serves local British grub. There was a fantastic atmosphere as soon as we arrived, we were made to feel very welcome and looked after by the friendly front of house. The restaurant was small but decorated with cosy lights and pictures of favourite chefs, like Marco Pierre White and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall – perhaps showcasing the foodie passion. The menu declared that ‘everything is sourced within a 25 mile radius’ but with Scottish venison on offer and a ton of fish I think this might be a teeny tiny fib!

Crispy Mussels

Crispy Mussels

I started with crispy mussels as I was intrigued by how on earth they would be crispy. What this in fact meant was mussels breaded and deep fried and then served back in the shell. For me this slightly took away some of the flavour of the mussel, however it was a fun and more substantial way of eating them. They came with a crispy salad complete with the samphire namesake, which was a nice touch. My main was the venison steak. This was served simply – medium rare, onion rings, chips, mushroom, tomato. I was a bit worried about the lack of sauce but I needn’t have. The meat is the best I have eaten in a long time. Perfectly seasoned, rich with iron and meltingly juicy. For drinks I had a Yorkshire Blackout – a porter full of vanilla and chocolate notes. This was strangely refreshing and comforting at the same time. We didn’t have room for desserts, although they looked good, the signature dish appeared to be a berry brulee with chocolate shards. Once we’d finished eating we were told to sit back and relax and enjoy our table for the rest of the night.


What we did

Our first day in Ripon was very stormy so we had a quick mooch around the shops followed by reading the papers in the pubs. Shops of note include Drinks Well, a specialist booze shop with an excellent range of Yorkshire ales and spirits. I picked up a little bottle of the Mason’s Yorkshire gin. Made with Harrogate spa water, I found it very aromatic.


Pubwise, the newly renovated Royal Oak is a very decent pub with a good few ales on and a strong bar menu. I had a pulled pork sandwich with homemade vegetable and barley soup which was just what I needed on a stormy day. I’d also recommend the Water Rat, which is down by the river and canal basin. This pub was quite hard to find at first (don’t confuse it with the less quaint ‘Navigation’ as we did!). It’s full of quirky charm, has a riverside view and lots of nooks and crannies to hide yourself in whilst nursing a pint of the many ales on offer.

Next morning, to walk off all that beer and food, we went on a bracing walk. Starting at the cathedral we went through the graveyard, up the river and over fields to Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey before heading back to Ripon again. It was about six miles, not too hilly, not too muddy (given the wet weather we’ve been having) and gave us fabulous views of the cathedral.

So, I hope this has given you a taste of what a little place like Ripon has on offer. Sometimes it’s good to take a further look at the underdog!


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.