Tag Archives: Restaurants

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

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

Marco

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.

Venison

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.

Gin

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!

Rare

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.

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 dinneratthemanor@gmail.com. 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

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

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.

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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

Nopi

A recent trip to London got me and Susie thinking about which fun restaurants to try out. After much thought it occurred to us that we had never been to any of Ottolenghi’s ventures despite being big fans of his cuisine. And so that is how we found ourselves at Nopi one Sunday afternoon.

Based on the outskirts of Soho, Nopi is unassuming from the outside and full of clean white and luxurious burnished gold on the inside. As we entered and were shown to our table our noses were filled with tons of aromatic and inviting smells.

The menu was fairly straight forward with a range of small dishes (to share as tapas or have as a starter) and about 5 main courses. The small dishes sounded amazing to me so we opted to pick a few to share so that we could try as many things as possible. In terms of drinks, we were still slightly jaded from the night before and so opted for a mocktail (don’t tell anyone!). I had a lush passionfruit juice with kumquat syrup. It came full of bright sunshine colour and tangy, refreshing flavours, I loved it! Susie had a cranberry, apple and cucumber cooler, sour and tangy, with the cucumber adding a note of freshness.

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Continue reading

February – April events on sale now!

So sorry! These events have sold out!

Tickets are now available to buy for our Feb – April events! We still can’t believe we still have so many guests who want to dine with us! You’ll have seen the themes we announced earlier in the week and we hope you’re excited about them – we know we are!

Book now to avoid disappointment by clicking the event links below – please remember our terms and conditions before you book

Saturday 22nd February – Nigel Slater Kitchen Diaries II afternoon tea

Friday 14th and Saturday 15th March – Tom Kerridge’s pub food with paired ales from Ilkley Brewery

Saturday 12th April – Rick Stein’s India

We’d love to see you there!

Rick Stein’s India

12th April 2014 – This event is now sold out

We loved watching Rick Stein’s travels around India in his quest to find the perfect curry and his discovery of regional dishes – so much so we had to hold an event around this wonderful book.

rick Stein

April seems a long way off but we want to bring some springtime spice and alchemy to the Manor! Expect big flavours and some surprises!

Tickets for this event are £30pp for 6 courses and a welcome drink on arrival. For our booking terms and conditions please click here.

This event is now sold out