From Po Boys to Pulled Pork and beyond

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Just before Christmas, I was invited to eat at the brand new sister restaurant to The Pit in Leeds city centre, the rather sensibly named Pit Chapel Allerton, due to its location. For those of you who don’t know Leeds very well, Chapel Allerton is about ten minutes drive outside of the city centre and quite an up and coming place, if it’s not actually up and come already.  There are already a number of cool restaurants and bars, one being the highly prized Mexican Pinche Pinche, so it’s well worth the detour if you are in the city.
Back in the day, Chapel Allerton wasn’t always this nice so it’s good to see it grow and the out of town vibe spread with new bar and restaurant openings, the latest of which is The Pit. Pretty much a carbon copy of the Central Leeds operation in terms of branding, design, menu and interior, The Pit is a big restaurant with equally large ambition and clearly they believe that the market is there for them to open here.
It was another ‘getting the kitchen up to speed’ event but this time a lunch table was offered. We paid for our drinks and the food was laid on and it was order at the bar as there was no table service for some reason. No issue, so we ordered from the same menu the Central Leeds restaurant has, which is extensive Americana. I’d been to the original restaurant a few months ago and I have to say was a little disappointed, so was eager to see if there was any difference with the Chapel Allerton outpost.
My lunch companion and I went for nachos and fried catch of the day to get things underway, both of which were perfectly good. It’s all straight forward food here so it’s all about getting the small things right – so far so good. I ordered the half roasted chicken for mains with mac and cheese side and my fellow luncher opted for the very good looking fillet burger, which came perfectly rare as ordered. The chicken came with sweet potato fries and a lip smackingly hot peri peri style sauce which was on the money and still makes my mouth water as I write this.
The menu is very much in vogue  right now and the time is right for burger / rib / nachos / po boys / pulled pork et al – and a particular emphasis on attracting a younger crowd will ensure the success of places like this.
With Schooners of Brooklyn lager to wash it down, this was the perfect easy going lunch and, in my opinion, a more enjoyable experience that the previous meal at the Central Leeds restaurant. Perhaps it was down to the food ordered or the nuances of the individual restaurants, I’m not sure. The service was better in Leeds, but the food was marginally better in chapel Allerton.
I’m sure they will iron out these wrinkles in both restaurants in the coming months, but one thing is for sure, restaurants in Leeds that serve this kind of cuisine will have one eye over their shoulder at The Pit Leeds and Chapel Allerton – there is a lot of ambition and investment here, and I get the impression they won’t settle for second best.

Pieroth and The Black Prince River Cruise, 7th June 2009.


Tess and I were invited by Pieroth wine to taste their new Summer wines, tasting is great but when we realised it was on a short cruise on the River Aire we couldn’t resist. Sun just about shining, we set off and chugged on down the Aire, I never knew there were so many lovely apartments overlooking the river. Anyway lets talk wine, once we had explained our likes and dislikes, Andy and Octavia were very helpful and with plenty of tasters on offer we were soon well on the way to chosing a few for the cellar!!! knowing us they will not last that long…



Purchases made by all, we thanked our hosts and left… a little tipsy I might add. Phil and Julie showed us how quick and easy it was to get back into Leeds city centre from the Royal Armories, we walked passed shops and restaurants that I never knew were there…I do need to get out more!!!!! Especially as I spied a Champagne bar with lovely comfy sofas…



We decided to have a swift drink at Anthony’s in the Corn Exchange and buy some nibbles, cheeses, meats and muffins and returned to ours for the ultimate Tapa’s…special mention must go to Phil and Julie’s homemade contribution of Porchetta which was fabulous! We nibbled and watched England beat Pakistan in the WT20 cricket, a real red letter day so much so that 1 of our party had a kip in the conservatory…



Signing off…D,G and Tony….



Hot on the heels of Pat and Tony’s orgasmic molluscs in deepest ‘fax, I thought I’d share this poem I found in the latest Rick Stein book.

It beautifully ties together the sensuality of eating mussels with your fingers and the appropriately timed  notion of eating as a form of worship (I think).

I pour on wine; it seems they beg for more

The beaked shells yearning wide as if in song –

Yet dumb – and lewdly lolling parrot tongues.

Cream licks the back of a spoon and drawls a slur

Of unctious benediction for this feast.

We smooth our cassocks; bow our heads; and eat.

Elizabeth Garrett

Harry Ramsdens

It’s been years since we’ve had fish and chips from Harry Ramsdens, so when we were passing on Tuesday we turned around on the spur of the moment and it was table for two please.

Turned out it was two for one midweek (we didn’t realise) so it was two large haddock and chips including mushy peas, bread and butter and a pot of Yorkshire’s finest tea. So it turned out to be a bargain somewhat at the whole lunch only costing £12.

The verdict was that Harry Ramsdens’s hasn’t lost it’s touch even if the fish and chips dining in experience does leave one feeling like a retired couple on a day out – no offence to retired couples of course, there were plenty of them in the restaurant when we were there and good luck to them.

All in all, a very nice lunchtime experience – we’d recommend it if you’re passing and remember it’s two for one midweek which is a proper bargain.



Charcoal Chicken, Roundhay Road, Leeds

I’ve been working in North Leeds for over 5 years.

I travel up and down Roundhay Road which has more than its fair share of takeaway establishments – pretty much every other shop is either kebab, curry or more exotically, Persian.

Anyway, there’s this shabby looking shop called Charcoal Chicken that pumps charcoal grill smoke out of enormous chimneys that if I’m honest smells pretty good. Except every night I passed it I never stopped.

A couple of weeks ago after a pretty long day having skipped lunch and feeling particularly famished, I succumbed and called in and quickly worked out the half chicken meal looked a good bet.

it’s basically chilli marinated chicken cooked on a charcoal grill and boy it was good! I’m hoping I don’t bump into Hugh asking about the free range provenance of the product…

Writing this, I’m really not sure if this gaff has a place on the Troffers blog, but do you know what? I think it should be there. Good, honest, cheap and simple food.