Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: Leeds
Showing posts with label Leeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leeds. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 August 2017

EatNorth at North Brewing Co

Recently established by the Leeds Indie Food team, EatNorth is a weekly street food fair held at North Brewing Co, a short walk outside of Leeds city centre. The line up of traders changes every week, always backed up by a beer selection from North Brewing themselves.

We headed over to Leeds on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and spotting that the food traders were pretty much all new to us (whilst Sheffield has a thriving street food scene, it's generally the same names cropping up event after event) we decided to pay EatNorth a visit.

First up, the venue. North Brewing Co is a brilliant set up for events such as this. Having recently added a second unit to their production facility which provides much needed storage, the taproom is spacious without being unwelcomingly cavernous, there's a nice shiny brew kit to drool over and a good amount of outdoor space.

We grabbed a couple of beers to start with - PiƱata pale ale (4.5), which with mango and guava was delicately fruity without being overwhelmingly perfumed, and North's recent charity collaboration with Denmark's Dry & Bitter, #NB20, a slightly hazy 7% IPA with a decent whack of tropical flavours and an upfront hop bitterness (read more about North's charity project to celebrate their 20th anniversary here).

Onto the food! We went for the classic halloumi fries from East Midlands based Dukkah, who provide an entirely vegetarian menu. Now I guess halloumi fries are a bit of a trendy concept at the moment but these guys are clearly working for flavour rather than fashion. The fries themselves were nice (it's deep fried cheese at the end of the day, what's not to like?) but it was the toppings that made this dish special - fresh pomegranate seeds, a mint tzatziki sauce and a chilli and pistachio dukkha spice mix coating worked together in fragrant harmony.

We also sampled the crispy king prawns coated in panko breadcrumbs from Tikk's Thai Kitchen, which were served with sriracha fries and a sweet chilli dipping sauce. We've had the satay from these guys before and it's superb, and the prawns did not disappoint given our high expectations. Plump and juicy with just the right amount of crispy coating, and the fries were eye-wateringly spicy in a good way (we had also added extra chilli).

As well as a couple more street food traders, Smak! serving Polish sausages and Oh My Glaze providing chicken wraps and wings, there was a vegan cake stall from Nicely Kitchen and Rabbit Coffee serving hot drinks and espresso martinis, which looked and smelled amazing. So a good selection all round we reckon.

The atmosphere as a whole was brilliant; relaxed, bustling without being packed, and with a DJ playing dub tunes which completely befitted the sunny afternoon. A table outside was stocked with all manner of useful things from suncream to doggy treats, totally indicative of the thought and effort that's clearly gone into arranging this weekly event. Good vibes all round and an event we'd definitely recommend.


Laura & Jim

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Man Behind the Curtain

It was our fourth wedding anniversary last weekend, and to celebrate we went to our first ever Michelin starred restaurant. We both fell a bit in love with Michael O'Hare and his shiny silver apron on last year's Great British Menu, and his eclectic, immersive style of cooking was something which intrigued us immensely. And so on a grey April afternoon, we found ourselves in the centre of Leeds at The Man Behind The Curtain for a dining experience like we'd never had before...

It feels a bit like stepping into another world to get there, as you walk in through Flannels clothing shop before heading up to the third floor in an eerily quiet lift. The venue itself was calm, relaxed and modern, and we instantly felt comfortable being there, unlike other "posh" restaurants we've eaten in before. The staff added to this environment, being elegant and just the right amount of formal.

We selected the 9 course tasting menu which came accompanied by 7 wines. The menu itself is simply "Carte Blanche", meaning that every dish is a total surprise. The effect of this is an absolutely mindblowing experience... neither of us have ever felt so amazed, delighted, and often baffled by food. Laura cried twice. We'll let the pictures do the talking...

Octopus with caper and lemon butter - served with champagne
15 year old Galician beef with olives - served with spiced vermouth
Sea urchin bolognese with rice noodles which melted into the sauce as you stirred!
Spider crab lasagne with a quail's egg, bilberry, and potato crisps
Fish and chips (No, really...) - black cod with potato and ink. Served with Riesling.
Iberico pork, with smoked egg yolk served inside an edible shell and anchovies
Veal sweetbread with hot and sour consomme, brought out alongside a sous vide prawn.

Onto dessert...

Violet ice cream, dark chocolate, potato custard and beetroot puffed rice, served with plum wine
Passion fruit and praline mini "cupcake"
A touch we particularly loved was that for three of the courses, the chefs brought out the dishes themselves and talked us through what we were about to eat. The passion coming from them was palpable, and it's this sort of attention to detail which gets a place such deserved renown.

Quite honestly, this was far and away the most outstanding food we've ever eaten, and an experience we never wanted to end. Simply stunning.


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Leeds Day Out: Part 2

We'd been having a great day so far and upon arrival at Bundobust it was clear our anniversary celebrations had only just begun.

If you've not been to Bundobust yet, it's an absolute must-visit. A tiny shop front opens up into a spacious and welcoming canteen-style eatery which has a bit of a street market feel about it, the bare brick and chipboard clad walls bringing the outside in. The bar is located towards the back of the room - and what a bar. We started with a Northern Monk and Bad Seed collaboration, Salted Lime Wit, which was fragrant with rosewater, plenty of fruitiness and a salty tang to finish, and the tantalisingly fresh and vibrant Wiper and True saison.

We'd heard only good things about the food here, and couldn't wait to dive in. The menu is entirely vegetarian but even us hardened carnivores were enticed by every item. We eventually selected four little pots - the "Popcorn and Pops", chilli popcorn with miniature poppadoms in four different flavours, Onion Gobi Bhaji Bhaji, Massala Dosa (which were accompanied by a wonderfully fragrant curried lentil soup with coconut), and our favourite of the four, Bhel Puri - sort of like a bombay mix salad. Both of the beers we'd already chosen were absolutely perfect matches for the delicately spiced munch, as were our next selections - Bundobust's own Coriander Pilsner, which was crisp and refreshing, and a version of the Wiper and True saison, which had been filtered in-house through rosemary and fresh apricots which added a unique and delicious new dimension to the beer. It's also worth mentioning here that the staff at Bundobust were ace - friendly, knowledgeable, and happy to share recommendations for food and beer alike. 

Moving on, it was time for yet another new place for us - the Northern Monk Refectory. A striking building against the otherwise stark Holbeck skyline, it is also home to the Northern Monk brewery itself. A modern, industrial feel is prominent in the bar, with 20 beers on offer - a wide range of both Northern Monk and guest.

Jim started with the wonderful Faith made on the floor below. The beer itself is a US pale with bold rose and resin flavours, made with citra and then more citra. The first round also brought us Bad Seed Barrel Aged Saison, a tangy, tasty treat.

We followed up with a trio of beers; two from the host brewery and an offering from Swedish brew masterminds Mikkeller. The first was Northern Monk's 6.2% New World IPA, made with a variety of hops from around the world. From the glass emanated an enchantingly tropical aroma, with a bold body from the volume of hops added in the boil. The other two were at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of colour, both being jet black - Peated Soul from Northern Monk and Monk's Brew from Mikkeller. The bold smoke that drifted from the Peated Soul certainly appealed to our Islay whisky tastes, the warmth from the malt rich and a little unforgiving, but at the same time with dark chocolate and a warm sweetness - the roundness of the drink was glorious. The Mikkeller on the other hand was clean with a little hop bitterness, complemented by a vanilla sweetness and some dark fruits including cherries, accompanied with a slight coffee. The body itself was light and in no way tasted of the 10% ABV.

Final stop before the train home was a trip to Tapped. We couldn't resist a bit more of a nibble before the journey and had heard many good things about Big Dan's Pizza. We decided to share 'The Smokey One' topped with a lightly smoked chicken breast, grilled onions, and a deliciously sticky balsamic reduction. To accompany we had a glass of the balsamic hued Stone - Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, which was exactly what a Black IPA should be, light roasted malt flavours with a bold hoppy sensation across its nose and mouth.

We returned back to Sheffield happy and ever so slightly wobbly, with plans of a return visit already in the pipeline. Leeds has massively upped its beery game in the last couple of years and we are certainly willing participants.



Sunday, 26 April 2015

Leeds Day Out: Part 1

We'd been planning a trip to Leeds for months. As it was where Mr Mashtun studied a degree a number of years ago, we already knew the beer was good there, but as with all places they seem to improve when one departs. A day off for our third wedding anniversary seemed a worthy occasion to head back across Yorkshire. We arrived shortly after 11 and spent an enjoyable but thirsty hour wandering round the Corn Exchange waiting for the pubs to open.

First up was a much-anticipated trip to Friends of Ham for a light lunch. The day we visited just so happened to be Buxton Brewery's launch day for their Two Ton IPA (an 11% imperial/double IPA), so of course at one minute past midday Jim just had to order one. It was frankly stupendous... huge hop aroma and such an abundance of malty, grapefruity flavour that it took a few hours on dark beers before he could move back to anything hoppy. Laura selected the somewhat more sensible Arbor Hop Apocalypse, a deliciously refreshing 4.8% pale ale bursting with tropical fruits on both the nose and palate. To counteract the opening beer onslaught we ordered a Spanish platter consisting of two cheeses, two meats and two breads, plus some tasty little dried figs and a rich quince jelly, which ended up being the perfect balance to the bold beers. The rest of the bar was excellent, with beers from Summer Wine, The Kernel and Wild Beer Co all on offer, but at such an early stage in the day and a long list of places we wanted to visit we thought it was probably wise to move on.

A very short walk down the road and we arrived at The Brewery Tap. This was far more traditional with a good real ale bar including an array or beers brewed on site. Here we sampled Sonnet 43's Bourbon Milk Stout (4.3%) - a well balanced, sweet stout full of cocoa and coffee. Laura selected Marble's Lagonda IPA, which wasn't at it's best. None-the-less, it's a nice welcoming pub adorned with beer memorabilia and with really friendly staff, which is always good to see.

The wander up through Leeds factored in a quick stop off at Trinity Kitchen. This is a concept which we absolutely love, with street food traders being invited in for short residencies, so there's always something new to try. It was a gloriously sunny day, so we treated ourselves to locally made ice creams from Northern Bloc - our favourites were the raspberry and sorrel sorbet, and black treacle ice cream.

Next stop was North Bar. Now, we lived in Leeds for three years, and were never aware that this place existed. Very sad indeed. The vibe in here is somewhat continental cafe, somehow oozing cool, with wooden furniture and local artwork displayed on the otherwise fairly stark walls. Fortuitously enough, a Belgian beer festival was in progress at the time of our visit (50 bottles, and 12 on tap), so we were completely spoilt for choice. After much dithering, Jim eventually plumped for the 666 Imperial Porter from Kirkstall Brewery which was resinous, warming and oh so rich. First up for Laura was Kaapse Bea, a delicious 6% black rye IPA - herby, salty, savoury and with a flavour reminiscent almost of juniper. With so much variety available we couldn't help but stay for a second. The Kaapse Carrie IPA (6.5%) and the Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus (4%) could not have been more perfect for the first warm day of the year. Lovely stuff.

Now in a pleasantly merry sort of mood, we headed back down through town in search of more grub and Bundobust was our venue of choice. This and more in part 2!