It’s been a bit of a strange but nice week as I have managed to find myself home by 6pm all but once. On Thursday I had my 6 month check up at the dentist and as I left my phone pinged a text from Mattia Boldetti(Diva Italiana and VINeataly) inviting us to take the last table on Diva’s White Truffle Night that very evening with a good deal, 3 courses plus 2 glasses of wine for £25.
I checked with The Boss and we decided to leave the dinner in the fridge and try out Diva. I have to admit that for a long time after it opened Diva was our favourite place but for a while now it hasn’t been on our top list.
We started with an hour catch up (who says married couples don’t talk to each other……) over a couple of drinks in the bar which was nicely busy. A lovely touch was that we were seated at our favourite little table looking into the kitchen. Massimo has always been one of the most talented chefs in Leeds and he and his team were in full flow. I felt I should pick a good bottle of red for the menu. After a discussion with the maitre d it came down to a choice from Brunello( my favourite), Amarone and a Barbaresco, which is the one I went for.
An amuse-bouche of white truffle cheese nibble was delicious. The starter of hand made wild mushroom ravioli with fontina cheese and saffron sprinkled with a decent amount of Piedmont truffle flakes had an intense and subtle contradiction going on which really worked well.
A little break allowed a couple of glasses of the red to slip down nicely before the main arrived. A perfect sirloin of Tuscan roast beef with a truffle and white wine sauce accompanied by crispy pancetta and roasted Italian potatoes (lemony/herby) was absolutely fantastic!
Finally the dessert of chocolate truffle tart with pistachio ice cream finished an inspired menu that was Massimo at his very best.
The bill would have been exceptional value had it not been for my extravagance but even with a top wine I must say the overall experience and value was spot on.
Chatting with Mattia after the meal, he suggested pre ordering a couple of days in advance anything we liked which is not currently on the menu..
Whilst waiting to pick Chester up from the doggy parlour(bath time) and my visit to the dentist….we had an hour to spare so we ventured into Pudsey looking for somewhere to have a quick sandwich.
Cafe Atlanta was packed but we managed to squeeze in on a corner table. After viewing the menu of baked potatoes with various filling, sandwich fillings on different breads and a specials board, G decided on a hotdog with onions and homemade chips and I opted for the Chicken fajita wrap served with salad,tortillas, salsa and sour cream all very reasonably priced. Drinks were promptly brought to the table by a friendly, smiling lady who was rushed off her feet but did not seem to mind. We sat and read the papers until our food arrived . The dishes were well presented and tasted great, just what we needed.
Once we had finished, our plates were removed and we sat and watched the world go by noticing that the staff were busy cleaning tables and sweeping up after the rush of lunchtime(on leaving we noticed an award in the window for cleanliness) and we reflected on a most unexpected pleasant lunch..If you are in Pudsey, worth a visit…(at the moment also open Sun morning 10am- 1pm)
I was supposed to be visiting Diva Italiana with a couple of mates but they had to rearrange so D said it would be rude not to go. This would be our third Monday night multi course £15 menu visit. The 1st was with the Globetroffers and was great, the 2nd with the kids and was ok so we did wonder what to expect…..
We opted for a mix of seafood and meat. The 1st course consisted of a small pot of leek and mushroom soup which was delicious, 2nd course was a combination of langoustines, mushroom bruschetta, tomato bruschetta and Tuscan ham, superb!
Next we had duck ravioli, fantastic and finally Italian pork and herb sausage grilled prawns and a grilled polenta which was amazing!!
As if that was not enough Tiramisu and Vin Santo with Cantucci to finish…….Yummy
Drinks; champagne beer for me, Venezian cocktail for D then a bottle of Gavi and sparkling water to share.
Massimo was on top of his game again. Diva Italiana on this form is very hard to beat at £35 per head.
Sorry no pics which is a shame as always the presentation was good.
Harvey Nichols lunch never fails to impress, tuna carpaccio with tabasco tomato, spicy lamb kebabs with twice fried chips and fresh peas with pancetta and creme fraiche…yummy.. all accompanied by a gin and tonic and a lovely bottle of Chablis prem cru.
Traditional eve before holiday dinner was had at Diva Italiana in Pudsey, the grilled king prawns with a courgette and broccoli souffle was amazing, parma ham with melon was fab but the rib of beef to share was incredible….shared Tuscan trifle to finish was good but not as good as their Tiramisu….a bottle of Gavi selected by Antonio was a treat and the efficient friendly service by Angelica(Gels) makes this our favourite place…in Leeds.
G and D.
Just a quick note to praise East in Pudsey. A couple of mates and I had a quick early dinner before watching the mighty Leeds United(haha) play Darlington. We shared 2 starter dishes, the obligatory lamb chops and chicken livers both were excellent. Mains were a lamb bhuna, special hyderabadi(chicken and lamb) and keema achari. The lamb bhuna was very good with nice big chunks of slow cooked lamb that just melted in your mouth and the keema achari was new to me as it was the normal mince but with lime pickles which was superb. The special hyderabadi was good but I think the large amounts of tomato may put some off. East is definitely an alternative to Aagrah but not quite there yet.
After a pretty tough week we decided we needed a treat so decided at the last minute to see if we could get a table for 6 at Diva. Mattia was pleased to offer us the table as it was potentially a quiet night.
We all had a couple of rounds of cocktails/beers/Prosecco in the bar as people kept coming in even without bookings but on recommendation and soon the place was buzzing.
The food again was excellent with the Lobster( for Jenny) and the Rib of Beef (to share between D&G) just to die for!
The menu was new but we didn’t try any of the new dishes. The Chianti was worth a particular mention at a very reasonable £20 per bottle. A top night can’t wait for the Globetroffers Monday Night here in a few weeks.
The sun was playing out good style this moning so we decided that we should get Chester into the back of the car, get the hood down, sunglasses on and set off. We decided to go over the moors past the Cow and Calf, scenic route to Burnsall. Burnsall was packed as everyone else must have decided to take advantage of the glorious weather so we ended up at The Craven Arms, Appletreewick again. Sat outside, G had a couple of pints of Hetton Pale ale(yummy), Roast beef lunch was spot on. D decided on the Steak and Ale pie which was delicious(broke her Lent abstinence of alcohol but we decided it didn’t count…). Suitably fueled we walked along the riverside path to Burnsall, Chester was very brave and had a swim, guess what we ended up at another pub….yes, the Red Lion. We sat outside overlooking the river and D had tea, coffee and cognac for G. The other diners meals looked pretty good. We strolled back to Appletreewick, it was still warm enough to drive to Betty’s in Ilkley with the hood down, a box of fancies to take home for the kids.
Home to a fire in the garden(kids had had a BBQ), finished off the day with a little nightcap. A beautiful day!!
G, D and Chester.