27 April 2016

Leeds Indie Food 2016 - The Must Dos

The food events of the year are coming back to the city this summer, kicking off on the 12th of May for two and a half stomach filling weeks. If last year was good, this year is sounding better and bigger with so many events to pack in. I'm not going to list them all, you can head over to their site for the full running list, there is literally something for everyone.

The LIF team were inspired by Edinburgh Fringe, but wanted to put their foodie spin on the event. For this year, they were aiming for better not bigger, of course applications exceeded this. So this year is the slicker version of 2015's events with the same passion, variety and of course, independent vibe.

Here are my top picks, or more-so, the events that I will be aiming to head down to for #LIF16 - bon apetit!

Northern Monk x Northern Bloc
Thursday 12th, Northern Monk Refectory, £3 in
It's beer meets dessert, so effectively fool proof for enjoyment. Think beer floats with the Northern Bloc twist.

Brandon Street Night Market x Hedonist Project
Friday 13th, Canal Mills, free
I like to think myself of a semi-regular to the Brandon Street markets. They pop-up at Canal Mills monthly with a host of Yorkshire independent foodies and a beer-fuelled bar. This event sees The Rum Shack from The Hedonist Project return. A must for your Friday night.

City of Cake
Friday 13th - Friday 20th, Trinity, free
One thing I am most looking forward to, the city of Leeds being edible-ised in cake. YUM. The Tattooed Bakers are partnering with The Gallery at Munro House for an amazing sounding installation. Eat your way through the city, literally.

Coffee and Cocktails Fusion Experience
Wednesday 18th, La Bottega Milanese, £20
Maven and La Bottega Milanese team up for the history of coffee. Speciality coffee and the introduction of coffee cocktails, all you need to know.

Keg vs Cork
Friday 20th & Saturday 21st 6pm-11pm, Sheaf Street Cafeteria, £7.50
A mini festival for the event, Leeds' best craft beer versus the best wines of they city. Plenty of pop-up bars, food and music for the evening.

Leeds Feast
Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th, Belgrave, Headrow House and North Brewing Co., free
The finale and a must-do of the event. So many Leeds independents will be spread across this year's three venues for food, music, art and drink. Perfect mix and perfect way to end a hectic couple of weeks if you decide to fill your calendar.

The festival passports give you access to a load of discounts through the weeks of events as well as discounted entry on a few of the events. £10 for discounts, the souvenir, plus a prize for whoever has the most stamps at the end.

Which events are you looking forward to?

25 April 2016

Mr Nobody Chef's Table

Mr Nobody is still finding its feet amongst the bars and long-standing residencies along Lower Briggate. It launched with a mouth-watering and inventive menu, but the dishes didn't perfectly meet the lunch or dinner crowd, so they've reinvented to suit.

Small plates varying through flavours, cultures and sizes, but more tailored to suit just lunch, or just dinner. With near mandatory cocktails or a pick of their wine menu.

The Chef's Table was a great experience to get an insight into the inner workings of Mr Nobody, having a chance to grill [no pun intended] one of the co-founders. Through the evening we worked through the casual upstairs setting - a must for after-work drinks, or the start of your night. On the menu was the outstanding charcuterie board, a favourite of the night, with bread and hand picked cheese to pair with the meats. Then, onto the beef tongue grilled sandwich. Honestly, I would have been apprehensive to try it (I didn't hear what it was until I'd tucked in), but it was delish. It's the stylings of a salted beef flavour, but much easier to eat, just don't ask to see the raw deal when it arrives.

In a complete juxtaposition to the upstairs, we were then guided down the candle lit stairs for a much more formal affair. Mr Nobody underground resembles a wine cellar, but remains comfortable. Partnered with a red wine, we got the small plate of belly pork - really nice flavour, but still not convinced on that layer of fat - and pork dumplings, forever a favourite and these were melt in the mouth.

To finish of the taster evening, back upstairs our treat was chocolate torte and an espresso martini. Quite honestly, I just couldn't fit either in, but the rich chocolate is a good shout for a decadent end-of-evening treat and I now forever love the espresso 'tinis, only varying in strength depending where you get them.


I'm still waiting for summer to be delivered to take advantage of the Mr Nobody terrace, but until then, I'll definitely be back to give taste to the extensive tapas style menu, will you  be trying?

11 April 2016

Eating at The Alchemist | Leeds

The Alchemist has earned its place on the Leeds map, so much so that a second venue has popped up on the ever expanding Greek Street.

The drinks menu (and theatrics behind it) are enough for a visit alone, but something that seems overlooked is the food. The new menu has just been launched which was reason for my most recent visit.

The Greek Street venue has the restaurant separated off from the bar, the perfect excuse for a leisurely work through the cocktail menu, with enough menu variety for a big group.

We started off with three of the Tapatisers, the perfect title for what can be a starter for one or get a few to share. Vegetable gyoza, such a delicious, crispy pastry with a really fresh filling and hoi-sin dip. The Thai fish cakes - fragrant and light, with the sweet chilli dip adding a hit of moisture and the pork bon bons, something that sounds so average on the menu are a must try (mass thanks to our waistress for the recommendation). It's a pulled pork centre, crumbed with a light crackling shell, and a subtle wasabi flavour in the mayonnaise that is much needed to combat the savoury flavour.

Our waitress, Shanelle, deserves a massive shout-out as we took a lot of her recommendations for the food and drink through the night, none of which were a let down. Whether you want to go with their recommendations or stick with your own cravings, the servers are amazingly helpful to point you in the right direction.

For main, I opted for (an unbeknown until serving) a taste of The Alchemist theatrics. The Japanese Ramen comes freshly served with spiced broth, the touch of dry ice to bring the food to the same level as the cocktails.

For the gentleman, a blackened salmon with a Cajun crumb.

The main thing I took away on the food was how fresh everything was. All incredibly fragrant and cooked to perfection, with just the right touch of seasoning.

And of course, the cocktails did not let us down, although the Indigo Sunset did taste like Calpol... Not always a bad thing but probably not one I'd re-up with.

The finish was a slice of the salted caramel cheesecake and an espresso martini for me, the cocktail made to taste as they were out of their usual espresso ingredients. The cheesecake served with a twist of mint sugar adding a base of texture.

I will definitely be back - and obviously spotted the brunch menu which I was previously unaware of. I'd recommend for the cocktails, of course, but definitely try the food. Plus, in the setting of the restaurant it's all the more easy to work through the cocktail menu without battling the queues at the bar.