Tapas at Sandinista

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A quick cheeky lunch grabbed in between meetings in town with my old mucker Streety. There was a three for two offer on I think. Either way it was very agreeable and he first time I’d been to Sandinista which I thought of more as a bar.

Streety declared it the best Tapas in Leeds – and as far as Tapas goes it was up there for sure. Not a patch on Spain, but that’s to be expected. And the UK bar is set sky high by Barrafina in London.

All in all very nice if slightly pricey if you’re greedy like we were.

The Devonshire Fell

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A couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend in the Dales, in the great company of D&G, at The Devonshire Fell Hotel. This hotel is the sister hotel to the rather grand Devonshire Arms at Bolton Abbey and although it doesn’t have the old world charm of the Devonshire Arms, it does its own thing very well indeed.

The hotel occupies a wonderfully lofty perch on the hill above Burnsall, a charming lower dales village on the river Wharfe. The location has many advantages – it’s relatively short distance from Leeds is one of them: in a very short space of time you’re in the splendour of the Dales but only forty minutes from the city.

The hotel is excellent throughout having recently enjoyed a refurbishment – it has a chilled out, relaxed air that encourages the guest to feel at home. We enjoyed a light lunch (mindful of our dinner booking that evening) and set out on a not too strenuous meander along the banks of the river to Appletreewick. A couple of pints later at The Craven Arms (another dales jewel) and we’re back off down the river bank back to Burnsall.

Lovely.

After a brief snooze in the very nicely appointed bedroom, it was time for dinner. The food on offer was high quality, country house food. A commendably short menu – always a good sign of a chef confident in their own ability – all of local provenance and simplicity of cooking. I opted for the 24 hour cooked beef which was delicious but fell short of spectacular (high standards and all that). Everyone else enjoyed their food and we could hardly get out of the snug fitting chairs by the time we’d polished off the cheese.

Breakfast was, as you’d expect, excellent with top notch Lishman’s meat produce on show and poached egg perfection. Breakfast taken in the sunlit dining room was a splendid way to start the day and set us up nicely for the return journey via Bolton Abbey to Leeds.

All in all, we would highly recommend The Devonshire Fell and although we all felt the food didn’t quite scale the dizzying heights of some other hotels we’d visited, looking back on our visit it’s actually very hard to fault it. The service is excellent too with friendly, attentive and informality the order of the day.

We will return!

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Pinche Pinche – Round 2

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We were invited along to the launch of the new menu and Pinche Pinche in Leeds. I won’t go into masses of details as the previous post pretty much covers how good we thought the place is.

Suffice to say that we remain just as impressed as we were the first time around and the transformation from Tex Mex stodge to light and vibrant authentic Mexican food is well underway. I understand there’s still a lot of people out there who crave Chimichangas and refried beans but unfortunately I’m not one of them.

Pinche Pinche is still the only Mexican restaurant in town doing the business as far as I’m concerned and Mrs D’s obsession with the flavours dictates a swift return.

Bangalore

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I’m quite a fan of Indian food and being based in West Yorkshire does mean that we have an incredible choice of Indian cuisine (although I suspect quite a lot of it doesn’t actually originate from India).

So I was quite keen then, on a recent business trip to Bangalore in southern part of the sub continent, to try as much of the food as possible. The one caveat I applied to this concept was my fear of upsetting my finely balanced constitution. I used to think mine was iron, but visits to Egypt have proven me wrong on that one.

I needn’t have worried. Restaurant food in Bangalore is by and large excellent. There are always the dodgy ones of course but I was kept well away from them by my hosts for the trip. It’s won’t go into every meal in endless detail as I think a snapshot will give the reader a sense of the food.

Breakfast speciality in Bangalore is the Dosa which is a fermented rice pancake made from rice batter and flavoured with whatever’s lying around,. I had a tomato one for breakfast and was quite excited by the soothing quality of the rosa and the spicy potato stuffing.

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Lunches by and large were sandwiches at desks and these again were flatbread wraps style, stuffed with different types of meat – chicken, mutton, beef. I was surprised that meat eating was as widespread as it was – I thought that part of India was firmly vegetarian. I suspect this reflects the growth of the city and its prominence as a world centre for out-sourcing.

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After turning down the option for a western style dinner, I insisted we tried the local cuisine on my last night there. The restaurant food I had that night was of the highest quality (it was a pretty fancy place I admit) and rather than try to navigate the menu, I asked my hosts to order for me and the simply grilled meat and fish was outstanding. The food was no hotter than Akbar’s in Leeds – in fact, less hot – and the Indians I dined with marvelled at my ability to eat what they thought was overly hot food. I was slightly nervous as I flying the following day but I needn’t have worried.

My only regret was that I didn’t try a really authentic Bangalore restaurant (I think my hosts were reluctant to take me to one) or any street food. Perhaps next time I go I might be tempted to try these as I’m sure there will be delights to be found although in mitigation, the Bangalore food landscape is quite a daunting place even for an adventurous foodie like myself.

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