The Year so Far

Firstly apologies to all as we have been out of order for not regularly posting. Trying to catch up is always daunting so we hope you don’t mind that we have just given short comments on The Year So Far mainly re the places just so we can get up to date. We can’t mention all the dishes we enjoyed (not good for a foodie website we know) as to be honest we didn’t take notes but please do check out the websites as most of the places mentioned below are well worth a visit. Please comment  if this is inappropriate for Globe Troffers because it just becomes a blog we guess.

The Electric cinema/house/brasserie, 191 Portobello Road, London W11 2ED(www.the-electric.co.uk)

I was on a big pitch with some business colleagues and this was the end of months of hard work so the team was treated by our partners with lunch at The Electric in Notting Hill. To say I was surprised when we arrived to be going into a classical cinema is an understatement. The building has been restored and upstairs there is a really cool brasserie. The food was fantastic and the company excellent. Fingers crossed we win the work.

Pizza Express Financial Quarter Leeds.

Lunch with a mate, Diavola pizzas plus large bottle of Peroni each. Worth a mention as the pizza swere super thin crust and full of peperoni/jalepono peppers. At £10 per head well worth a visit.

Aagrah, Leeds.

Still the best curry in Leeds. My colleague had my favourite Jingha Kas plate….wish I’d stuck to my usual but my Keema Balti was top!

Tiger Lily, Edinburgh.

Early start to Edinburgh so my colleagues and decided on a quick lunch before setting off back to Leeds. Tiger Lily is a cool bar and restaurant serving world cuisine on George Street which I would recommend as a must. We shared an antipasti plate which had every type of meat and pickle Italy had to offer and then we had starter portions of seafood risotto/ mussels all were spot on and the service was excellent. Peronis and chilled chardonnays were very complimentary. All only worked out at £20 per head but beware this place can be expensive if cocktails, fine wine and champers is the form but the surroundings are fab.

Flying Pizza, Street Lane, Leeds.

I had some retired Directors round for a factory tour and when they ran the business the company regularly entertained clients at the legendary Flying Pizza so I guess it was inevitable that we would end up going down memory lane. The place is stereotypically Italian and hasn’t changed much just refreshed. The obligatory sharing of tomato garlic pizza was followed by various fresh fish which was just excellent. D thinks it’s a bit too “show off place” which is probably right weekend evenings but at lunch I forgot just how good this establishment can be!

Breakfast at Thorpe Park.

I had a breakfast meeting at this 5 star hotel, only thing worth saying is that it was not that good and at £15, 5 star price but 3 star food.

Fish, chips and Opera.

As it was my birthday I took a day off work and walked Chester a few miles to the Bankhouse and shared a packet of pork scratchings but he wasn’t allowed any of the Deuchars!

The evening was planned to be Harvey Nicks pre Theatre dinner followed by La Boheme at The Grand. Best laid plans as they say….we met Pat and Tony at Harvey Nicks for a drink only to find the whole of the 4th Floor Cafe was taken over by Santander for a Corporate event. We then decided to go to Nash’s, starters included a cold fish platter that included smoked salmon, prawns and mackerel pate plus a portion of prawn cocktail(with red onion??). Haddock and chips was followed by ice cream all very lovely. A couple of bottles of Rose and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc went down well. The Opera was good but the Tenor didn’t quite have the power.

Glamping at Pentre Mawr Country House in Llandyrnog,Wales

A busy week and not much time to catch up so G suggested a night away, after trying  to book our usual haunts I was beginning to panic until I remembered reading an article in the Sunday Times about The Sychnant Pass Hotel, a hotel which allows man’s best friend to explore every room apart from and rightly so,  the dining room, great Chester(our dog) can travel with us. Eagerly I rang and Bre the owner answered, they were full but they did have rooms at their other hotel…I looked at the website and did my usual trip advisor read up and booked.

We set off early Sat am and arrived in North  Wales 11.30ish then went for a walk around Loggerheads with my sister and her family and their 2 dogs. We arrived at Pentre Mawr at 2pm, we were greeted by Bre who offered us a bucks fizz followed by afternoon tea, the homemade fruit cake was lovely.

Full to the brim we set off to our accomodation, golf cart available but we decided to walk the 300 yards or so to the canvas lodges( I was corrected several times for calling them tents!). WOW , was all we could say as we entered the lodge…leather king size bed, comfy sofa, flat screen tv, fabulous furnishing. The bathroom had underfloor heating, double sinks, roll top bath and free standing shower and outside in the private small relaxation area a hot tub for two as well as recliner sun chairs.img_19101

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We decided to chill with a bottle of Prosecco IN THE  HOT TUB IN THE SNOW! We then sat on the sofa watching the flat screen TV, eating chocolates………pure decadence. The bathroom beckoned as we had to get ready for dinner at the house. Couldn’t get G out of the rainfall shower. Eventually we were dressed and looking forward to dinner but on opening the front door we were greeted by 4 inches of snow and the whole place was a winter wonderland which just added to the fabulous atmosphere.

The house has been in the family for 400 years and is trdaitional Country House with 2 sitting rooms a dining room with conservatory but the piece de resistance is the fantastic main dining room for private parties, lots of wood/mirrors/silver!

Dinner was cooked by Bre (she is a super woman and does everything) and was 3 homely well presented courses. Cheese is taken in the sitting room with drinks from the honsety bar. A very relaxed evening chatting with other guests.

Despite the snow the huge bed with electric blankets was vey warm and cosy. After a good night’s kip we walked back to the house through the snow for breakfast. Juices, cereals, fruit, cold meats are served on the big country kitchen table before a individually cooked breakfast is served with builders tea.

A fab weekend was had by all 3 of us and we set off back home with smiles on our faces feeling totaly chilled……….Chester snoring away in the back.

D&G

International Curry House Morley Street, Bradford

On Friday night I was asked By a friend to meet her at the International Curry house in Morley Street, this was a trip down memory lane for me as this was the place I ate my first curry 30 years ago. In fact when I used to go with the guys I was working with I used to have egg and chips until they persuaded me to have a keema curry. I’ve been a fan ever since.

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It must be 25 yrs since I was last there  it’s a bit bigger now and it was bustling plenty of atmosphere. I remembered a few faces too, older and wiser just like me !! but  the owner was a little greyer than myself(quite a bit actually). Popadoms and condiments served as soon as you sat down and plenty of them.  I didn’t have my usual lamb chop starter because the other two weren’t having one so I ordered Lamb  and Spinach balti, it was fabulous. Anne had chicken and potato balti whilst Janet had a Keema. The portions were served in only what I could describe as little coal scuttles but there was plenty of it . I was glad I hadn’t had the lamb chops after all. Each main course came with either naan bread , 3 chippatis or rice which was included in the price. The Chippatis were the best I’d ever had, served  hot with my meal.

I was really impressed with my meal, fast pleasant service, tasty hot food, good value for money, a warm multi-cultural atmosphere, I will certainly revist soon and not leave it another 25yrs as I’m not sure I’ll be around then and if I am I won’t be going into Bradford for a curry.

Tess

The Pipe and Glass, South Dalton

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Wednesday lunchtime this week was spent in the very agreeable company of my good friend Jon Moss. Jon had suggested we have a lunchtime catch up around his neck of the woods and so we plumped for the newest Michelin-starred gastro pub, The Pipe and Glass.

Situated just outside Beverley in East Yorkshire, the pub/restaurant has been plying its high quality trade for a number of years and it has been only very recently recognised by Michelin for the quality of its food, service and surroundings. It’s location is lovely, right in the heart of a sleepy, picturesque Yorkshire Wolds village and on the day we visited it was very atmospheric – misty with the smell of woodsmoke hanging heavily in the air. Perfect.

The place was very busy for a midweek lunch with a lot of the tables occupied and I suspect a lot of curious diners were just like us, wanting to see what all the fuss is about. We were not to be disappointed.

Pre lunch drinks for water for Jon and a glass of local ale – Wold Top – for me, which was crisp and fresh. The set up is similar to many gastro places where you order from the lounge and then are taken to your table when they are ready to serve you. This was fine although the lounge was a bit full of diners who had all booked at the same time, causing a bottleneck, but they staff soon got the orders in and diners seated.

Jon ordered the potted Gloucester Old Spot with pork crackling dressed salad and Spelt toast from the blackboard and I ordered the crispy fried wild rabbit rissoles with cockle and caper vinaigrette, sorrel and free range ham, from the main menu. Both were generously proportioned and packed with flavour. Delicious.

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There is clearly some good cheffery on the go at The Pipe and Glass and more experienced foodies than I have already identified this. For mains I ordered the blackboard ‘Pub Grub Classic’ Fish Pie. As Julie will attest, I go weak at the knees when I see a good fish pie (it’s a childhood thing) and I simply couldn’t resist it. It came with a lovely brown shrimp and fennel side salad which was the perfect light accompaniment to the winter comfort grub.

The fish pie was a delight – perfectly seasoned with lovely soft heat coming from the pepper and the fish just kept coming in huge chunks. The salad was fresh, fennelly and fishy.

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Jon ordered the venison and juniper suet pudding with wild mushrooms, butter braised chanteray carrots, crispy smoked bacon and something called ‘clapshot’ (whatever that is). Jon declared this nursery food of the highest order and set about demolishing the plate as if he’d not eaten for a week. Seriously, a tip here: don’t eat breakfast if lunching at The Pipe and Glass. The portions are generousy Yorkshire-sized.

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We couldn’t face desert unfortunately – I know, lightweights I hear you cry – but we were seriously full and could only manage a coffee afterwards. All in all, a very satisfying experience – the service was as good as you’d expect from a Michelin star and there was no pretentious activity. The staff were friendly, down to earth and efficient.

The prices are also very sensible indeed with our lunch costing just £35 a head, including drinks. With value, service, location and food of this standard, there’s not many that can hold a candle to The Pipe and Glass. We have already booked our return with the full Globe Troffer contingent, which says it all.

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Red Chilli (New curry Restaurant)

My last curry with my usual group was at the red Chilli a new restaurant on Leeds Road at Thornbury,I was looking forward to this for two reasons  1) I hadn’t had a curry for a while  2) I have been watching with interest the building alterations to change the premises into a curry house.

Well mixed reviews from myself, The lamb chops were nice as a starter and very spicy my main course I had chicken Karahi , again this was very nice and the portion sizes were just right. I wasn’t too happy having to pay for the condiment tray x2 to go with the popadoms. Most places you pay for the popadoms but not the condiments that go with it.

It was also freezing in the restaurant, not sure that they have got the heating sorted yet as we had to have a heater put behind us. The staff were friendly and service wasn’t bad, although check your bill as we had been charged for an extra portion of lamb Chops. Overall it wasn’t too bad, I would try it again to see if they have sorted things out a bit better now it’s been open a bit longer. It is also Licensed if you fancy a drink.. The food was good.

Tess

Breakfast roundup

Back on the best breakfast in Leeds trail, I took the opportunity to sample the breakfast on offer at one of Leeds’ more stylish hotels, Malmaison. Nursing a monster hangover, I opted for the full English (it had to be done). At £13 a pop, it’s not cheap and I suppose it’s what’s to be expected in a hotel chain.

To be honest, it was fine, but that’s about it. The sausage was good quality and the black pudding nicely cooked and not frazzled. The egg was a bit snotty (you know what I mean) and the rest was Ok. All in all, a disappointment I think and nowhere near the frontrunner harvey Nichols and not a patch on the humble Ringside Cafe. I firmly believe that breakfast is the test of a kitchen and how bothered they are, particularly in the larger hotels and restaurants. If they are offering it, it should be right.

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On my way to a meeting with some legal folk, I had a spare half an hour and was in the vicinity of the David Street Cafe in Holbeck Urban Village. Having frequented many of its neighbours (Midnight Bell, Engine House, Cross Keys), I’d been fancying popping in.

It was a gloomy, sleety morning and I was in need of sustenance to get me through to lunchtime, so opted for an egg and bacon sandwich and a pot of tea. It was  classic fare and there was nothing wrong with the service, which was friendly, quick and Leeds-y. As the gooey yolk spurted sideways onto the counter, I eyed up the blackboard greedily for a return visit. The black pudding and spam sandwiched sounded like the guiltiest pleasure I’ve never had.

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The best restaurant in Leeds?

Somebody asked me a really good question last night at my leaving do at Kendell’s Bistro.

“Come on then — which is the best restaurant in Leeds??”

Now I have to say that I found answering the question definitively very difficult. It’s not that we’re overly blessed with amazing restaurants on every street corner. Far from it. It’s just that depending what mood your in dictates which restaurant is number one at any given point.

I started thinking aloud and it kicked off a huge discussion, as you’d expect. I’ve given it further thought and for what it’s worth started to put together a sort of ‘best of’ in the city, depending upon what you want and how you’re feeling.

I’d be interested to know what other people think as it’s by no means definitive and I’ve probably omitted some of the best places, but I’m sure you’ll let me know.

  • The best for impressing a lover, partner, foodie or out of towner that thinks Leeds is full of ignorant yokels — Anthony’s Boar Lane
  • The best wow factor in a dining room, where a cool and glamorous experience is desired — Anthony’s Piazza
  • The best for consistently excellent service, food quality, conspicuous consumption with fashionista appeal and verve — Harvey Nichols
  • The best indian food in Leeds — Aagrah
  • The best bustling dining room, for the noisy and boisterous, fur coat and no knickers crowd — City Bar and Grill
  • The best fish restaurant — Livebait
  • The best breakfast in Leeds — Harvey Nichols (this has been scientifically proven by me)
  • The best italian food in Leeds — Salvo’s
  • The best local ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant — Diva Italiana, Pudsey

See what I mean? I could go on. All of the above restaurants are the best at any given point in time, and I think the best restaurant in some ways has to be an amalgamation of all of the above.

Now I’m going to stick my neck out. There’s a restaurant in Leeds that sticks to what it does best and concentrates on doing it incredibly well.

They’ve been beavering away, quietly serving in-the-know foodsters lovingly created food for the past few years, building a reputation as one of the best places to eat in the city. I’ll get to the point, and here it is:

The best all round restaurant in Leeds — Kendell’s Bistro.


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It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Steve Kendell’s cooking and his passion and determination to create stylish, unpretentious, authentic bistro food that in some ways flies in the face of fashion. This is a real feel-good restaurant. I’ve never come out of there feeling bad about anything. Like anything or anybody, it’s not perfect. When I think back to when we dined at Angela Hartnett’s in Mayfair last year, it was a glorious thing of perfection to behold. The closest to restaurant perfection I’ve ever experienced.

But we’re a funny lot aren’t we? I’ve noticed with brands we love, we’re prepared to let them get things wrong now and again (think M&S and their recent “we’ve boobed’ campaign) – and I think it’s the same with restaurants. We become loyal and align ourselves with what they are trying to do and it actually becomes part of our own personal brand and we in turn become evangelists. This has been the case with Kendell’s – I’m forever recommending the place to all and sundry, safe in the knowledge that whoever I tell will be safe in the hands of Steve’s team.

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Last night was my leaving do –  a fairly low key affair that ended messily in Mojo, at some godforsaken hour, drinking Sambuca. Earlier that evening we all enjoyed a superb meal at Kendell’s, the service was excellent, the food delicious and the whole experience was simply the best we could have had. This is a restaurant with heart and it cares about it’s customers and it’s food.

Get those right and you’re well on the way to boing the best restaurant in Leeds.