The Hare at Scawton

On our way to The Black Swan we decided to nip in to The Hare at Scawton. Once you have climbed Sutton Bank it is a left turn off the main road to Helmsley and just a mile and a half down a country lane. The views across the Dales are magnificent when driving to The Hare, worth a look on their own!
We did pop in a few years ago just for a drink and the place was rammed which is to be expected due to the excellent reputation for great local food.

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As soon as you walk in the old country pub real fire atmosphere just get’s you. The staff are very friendly but we were surprised and pleased that it was quiet due probably to the Xmas/New Year in between period. We ordered a pint of Black Sheep and a glass of Rosé which the Lad accidentally knocked over, my cat like reactions saved the pint but not the Rose…..
There were two other couples in the bar and we were kindly asked if we wanted to swap with one of them for a “dog friendly table” which we did. One of the couples were from Leeds and the lady actually went the same school as our kids did, small world….
We were looking for a light bar lunch and opted for starter portions of Parsnip soup and a bowl of mussels. The soup was sweet and creamy, the mussels were juicy, fresh in a lovely creamy sauce. If it wasn’t for the fact that we were driving and dinner was booked we could have easily settled in for a long long lunch, perhaps next time, in fact definitely next time. Top place a must go.

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G&D.

Stew and Oyster at Oakwood, Leeds

We have been meaning to try out the Stew and Oyster for some time as it has been recommended by a few friends. So when I decided that it would be better to take The Lad for a walk around Roundhay park to avoid the quagmire that is pure mud locally we took the chance to pop in for a light lunch.
Once inside we were surprised by the eclectic mix of furniture but the decor was just as you would expect of a cool simple does what it says on the tin suburban bar. The floors are all wood, furniture varies from sofas, bar stools, plastic chairs and tables of various sorts. The walls are covered in posters and beverage signs as well as blackboards which all come together somehow with a relaxed charm.

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The bar is well stocked with an excellent choice of locally brewed and international beers plus one of the best range of liqueurs in a local bar I’ve come across, the whisky’s are worth a particular mention.
I ordered half a dozen oysters and a pint of stout brewed in Ilkley and D had a root vegetable stew with a glass of Rose. The oysters were very good and along with the stout I think I had a months worth of vitamins, just what the doctor ordered. The stew was also good and the vegetables were not a mush, the accompanying slab of bread was fresh and perfect.
On Sundays they have a film day showing 3 films on a large screen ranging from a kids, family and “grown up”.
My opinion is that every suburb needs a place like this and whether you go as a family or on your own you will feel welcome because it is homely and community at the same time in a contemporary style.

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G&D.

Harvey Nichols Christmas Carols 2012 and The Maven, Leeds.

A Christmas treat for the last 5 years (check out original post from 2008) has been a friends and family trip to H N for Christmas carols.
It is tradition now to start with a quick dash around the shops for last minute pressies then congregate at Whitelocks for hellos and a few well deserved bevvies. I love the Victoria arcade, the superb stained glass roof lends itself to beautiful acoustics and The Saint Peters Singer are just the ticket, they provide an ambience and effect that would even rouse Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas spirit..

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The meal is simple, broth, stewed beef followed by mince pies which doesn’t sound a lot but it is ample and as you would expect from HN it is superbly presented and very tasty. This year there were seventeen of us and we had a great pre Crimbo party atmosphere.
The hardcore New Farnley group were intrigued when Mr Dean suggested we have Gin tea at The Mavern afterwards. Eloquently described by Mrs Dean “it’s above the tattoo and piercing parlour up some smelly stairs near the Corn Exchange but when you get in it’s like a New York speakeasy…..”.
Well that is just what is was like and it is a super indie curiosity of a bar. We all had Hendrick’s Gin Tea served in Hendrick’s tea pot and cups. This place will become a regular. G uttered the the words “let’s go on a bender….” but the gang just laughed!

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D&G

Prashad

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I love meat.

I really do.

Roasted, fried, baked, poached, grilled and especially barbecued.

It all works for me and all you have to do is follow me on Twitter or take a look back through some recent posts on here to realise that meat is my food master, for sure.

So when someone mentions to me ‘vegetarian restaurant’, I go cold. I start to worry. I think I’m going to miss my beloved flesh. Earlier this year we ate at the fantastic Terre A Terre in Brighton which was the first really, really good vegetarian restaurant I’ve ever been to and that was thanks to the persistence of my long-suffering vegetarian sister Gill and do you know what? It was the first non meat meal where I didn’t miss the meat.

Prashad is a vegetarian Indian restaurant that has been successfully ploughing a high quality food furrow in Bradford for years and rocketed to fame as runners-up in Ramsay’s Best restaurant TV show in 2010. Recently opening a spacious new restaurant on the Leeds/Bradford border, this smart move will open their pretty unique style of cooking to a much wider catchment area.

A large party of us booked on their opening night last week, which in hindsight was probably not the wisest move in the world – there were a few glitches with timings and service yet to be resolved – but we had a really enjoyable evening.

And I didn’t miss the meat.

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I’m not a huge connoisseur of Indian food but it seems like Prashad serves a kind of Indian continent fusion food. having visited India earlier this year, it really came home to me that india is a bit like Europe with the cultural diversity of many countries and cuisines to match. the food on offer ranges from hot and cold street food (Special Chaat is the very addictive signature dish of which Ramsay was particularly fond and ) to more traditional curries. We ordered a mixed starter plate for two that contained all the starter options – the textures and flavours were superb. It was a plate of food working its socks off I can tell you. the rest of the plates we all shared were all of the highest standard with punchy, shiny flavours at every turn.

Special mention has to go to the Chinese/Indian crossover Chilli Paneer, the Masala Dosa and the seasonal vegetable Handi – all served with a delicately light coriander rice and satisfyingly stodgy garlic naan.

The service is cheerful and made us all smile. It was opening night and it was a little laboured with new staff and systems clearly being bedded in. But Prashad is the kind of place that you readily forgive this because the food easily outweighs any negatives. You get the sense that the issues will be quickly resolved – the family clearly know how to run restaurants.

I predict Prashad will become as popular with the people of Leeds and move from its status of Bradford’s best kept secret to the go-to restaurant for non meat eaters and meat eaters alike. On top of all that, it’s only 5 minutes by car from where we live so very convenient for us!

 

Note: The pictures used in this post come from the Prashad cookbook, from which other Globetroffers have cooked extensively – and they swear by it. My shots from the night look a little haphazard, it could have been the wine…

Chaophraya

A couple of weeks ago we had booked to have dinner at Chaophraya in Leeds with some friends who were to be staying with us over weekend. Our plans we rudely disrupted by a major leak that flooded almost all of our downstairs rooms. A disaster recovery situation was implemented and we managed to get the water cleared as our friends arrived. We had a choice to either let them go home to Cheltenham and cancel or go out and have a good time leaving everything to start drying out?
Of course we went out! Peter and Kathy are pretty much experts on Thai food as their son is married to a Thai lady and lives in Bangkok so they visit Thailand every year.
We booked “Kim’s” table, Kim is the owner of Chaophraya and as well as a nice table you get a multi course chefs delights menu for £50 per head (Kim can tailor the menu to individual requirements).
We were greeted with Singapore Slings which are part of the package but wine and drinks are extra. The Palm Sugar bar is quite swanky but still chilled.
After all the physical graft of mopping up we were hungry so the food was welcome and the presentation was fantastic.

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Starters included Tom Yum soup, Crispy roasted Duck Salad and Baby Queen Scallops with Black Pudding. The fusion of British ingredients combined with Thai such as pomegranate, mango, lime, chilli, coriander etc was symphony to your taste buds.
The next set of dishes were just sublime, Lamb Shank in yellow curry lots of lovely turmeric, Cod Fillet wrapped and baked in Banana leaf, Thai BBQ Beef ribs (cooked for 8 hours in Kim’s secret ingredients) accompanied with stir fried greens and coconut rice.

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What a feast we had and just when we thought we could not eat any more the dessert arrived! Passion fruit and Mango sticky rice, it was fantastic, flavoursome and fresh…to complete the meal we finished with a Lily Fairy flowering tea…most splendid.

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G&Dx

Cafe Spice Namaste

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The third of my London triptych of blogs is all about Indian spice of the finest kind.

Cafe Spice Namaste is the famous London ‘culinary institution’ owned by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala. The restaurant is just a short walk from the Tower of London so a little off the beaten foodie track, on the edge of the City of London.

Cyrus has been on television many times (including Saturday kitchen) and he is famed for his contemporary take on traditional Indian food using locally sourced ingredients from the UK.  Cyrus has even cooked for royalty, so this guy is no slouch in the kitchen.

The restaurant is very unassuming and could be anywhere in the country and the emphasis is very much on the food. I was dining alone on this occasion and it’s worth noting that I absolutely love eating out alone. I have no issues with my own company and I’ve noticed that a lone diner finishes their meal about ten times quicker as there is no chit chat to slow things down, apart from my tweeting along the way…

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Back to the food. My strategy is to usually go for the specials – after all that’s what the chef has made for that day and they are usually spot on. To start, I opted for their take on the humble but much-loved, by me at least, Scotch Egg (which according to the menu came from India originally, named after Walter Scott apparently) – their version was a spiced quail egg and turkey. It was on the money, small but perfectly spiced.

For my mains, I ordered from the specials again, and went for the breast of Langley Chase organic mutton Goda Masala. The lamb was marinated and roasted then served in a masala sauce especially made for the restaurant by a couple in Bombay. Lovely attention to detail. Although the menu did warn me this dish was ‘hot’ I wasn’t prepared for the deep heat emanating from the dish! It really had a depth of flavour not found in everyday Indian cooking, but it was hot, hot, hot. I overheated dramatically and drank around four litres of water and had to calm my tongue down with a large portion of roasted fig ice cream – at least that’s my excuse.

Prices and service are what you’d expect for a restaurant of this quality but surprisingly not over the top cost-wise given the stature of the chef. Just go.

Look mum no hands!

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This week in London uncovered some real food gems for me.

A quick lunchtime meeting turned into a wow moment when a friend suggested we meet at a place called Look mum no hands! He’s a cycling nut – as almost everyone seems to be at the moment, post Olympics and Wiggins fever – and he suggested we meet a new place that’s doing something quite different for London.

Look mum no hands! is a bike geek’s dream – it’s one part bike workshop, one part cafe bar and one part bike nut hangout. Located in one of London’s coolest areas on Old Street near Clerkenwell it is chock full of cool cyclists, hipsters pretending they have a bike and imposters like me.

The atmosphere is buzzing and on the day we visited, it was jam-packed with people sharing tables and pretty much squeezing themselves into any available chair. The food is high quality and simply prepared with everything from toasted ciabatta sandwiches to stews and from black pudding scotch eggs to home-made cake. It all looked good I have to say. We tucked away two very serviceable emmental and chorizo toasted sandwiches and sipped perfectly made flat whites and admired the ‘concept’ for what is was – a really neat idea, brought together with love and attention to detail.

Well worth a visit if you love bikes and are in the vicinity. Even if you don’t love bikes and you’re in the area, it’s well worth stopping by.

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