Cabana

Cabana, Leeds Trinity // Amy Elizabeth

Sometimes it’s hard to remember what life in Leeds was like before Trinity opened; if you spend any time in the city centre then it’s hard to avoid walking through or around it (Leeds is not a big place) and it’s fast become a feature of days and evenings out. I know there have been some mixed reactions to its arrival, and not every effect it’s had has been a positive one – but I do think it signalled a bit of an upswing for Leeds. In the last year so many new restaurants have opened (not just in Trinity) and that trend seems like it’s set to continue for now. The latest arrival on the scene is Cabana – a Brazilian barbecue restaurant from London that’s finally made it up north to our fair city. 

Caipirinha at Cabana, Leeds Trinity // Amy Elizabeth

Right opposite the entrance to Trinity Kitchen, you can’t miss the bright colours of the sign – which signal the kind of eclectic, fun atmosphere you’re going to find inside. We dined on a weekday evening and whilst not packed to the rafters it was pretty busy and the music was energetic without being exhausting, if that doesn’t sound too middle-aged of me. The seats are made from recycled jeans and there’s a stand in the middle which, in a previous life, was a pop-up in Covent Garden. The staff are friendly and enthusiastic about the food, which is all you really want from a place like this, isn’t it? 

Spicy Malagueta Prawns at Cabana, Leeds Trinity // Amy Elizabeth

As with most Brazilian places, this probably isn’t the place to bring your veggie friends – the menu is meat-heavy with a focus on skewers – beef, chicken, pork or lamb in varying combinations. The starters are a little more interesting – and difficult to choose. We sent the waitress away at least three times because we hadn’t made up our minds yet about what to order, plumping at last for the ‘Spicy Malagueta Prawns’ and the ‘Crispy Cheese Pockets’ to share between us. The Malagueta is their signature sauce and you can buy it in bottles to take away if you fancy – it’s got quite a kick but not so much that you can’t taste the prawns (or indeed, of whatever else you’re eating it with). I have to say, though, those crispy cheese pockets were divine – comfort food in the best way, with a light salsa to make them feel a little bit less indulgent. Cheese + Pastry – it’s a winning combination in my books. 

Crispy Cheese Pockets at Cabana, Leeds Trinity // Amy Elizabeth

The main course arrived before we’d even finished our starter – which I don’t feel you can complain about, really, but a little breather would have been better. I’d opted for the 8oz hanger steak which arrived on a ‘skewer’ (which looked a little bit like a weapon…) – and was then placed on a plate before me. It’s a little gimmicky, perhaps, but fun – and the steak was juicy and tender. I’m usually a fillet steak kind of girl (which makes me sound kind of fancy, I know) but I this was meatier and more robust than my usual, which I enjoyed. Emma went for the Picanha Beef Burger (with extra cheese, natch) and the exclamations of joy from the other side of the table confirmed that it was definitely a good one! We opted for some ‘Farofa and molho’ to go with our meals – a kind of spiced breadcrumb and a fresh salsa; the breadcrumbs went well with the steak but I think another sauce would have been better than the salsa for me (perhaps the chimichurri). The sweet potato fries definitely trumped the regular ones too, if you’re wondering.

Burger at Cabana, Leeds Trinity // Amy Elizabeth

 

If that hadn’t been enough of a feast, we shared some Chocolate Raindrop Doughnuts for pudding – fried dough stuffed with Nutella. I don’t think you need me to tell you that they were damn good. However, I’ve not yet mentioned the Caipirinhas and I think they deserve some airtime because they were my favourite thing about Cabana. Between us we tried four of the flavours – Strawberry, Classic, Passion Fruit and Pineapple – and all of them were delicious. The strawberry was my definite favourite, probably because of my sweet tooth, but the classic was a strong contender for the best version in Leeds. I’ll definitely be back for another one of those sometime soon. 

Chocolate Raindrop Doughnuts at Cabana, Leeds Trinity // Amy Elizabeth

Cabana is, in my opinion, good value for money. Our meal would not have been cheap – starters, desserts and cocktails do add up – but if you just wanted to pop in for a refresher after a day of shopping then you could spend less than £20 a head, so make of that what you will. I’ve not got kids but I do think it would be a good place to take them – there’s a dedicated kids menu and it’s a really fun place to eat with a laid back vibe. How Brazilian! 

Strawberry Caipirinha at Cabana, Leeds Trinity // Amy Elizabeth

Disclaimer: We dined at Cabana for free in exchange for a review, but I am always honest with you. Especially when it comes to Caipirinhas – they’re my favourite and that strawberry one really was excellent. I’ll be heading back there, for sure! 

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New Menu at Pinche Pinche

Drinks at Pinche Pinche, Leeds // Amy Elizabeth I make no secret of the fact that Pinche Pinche is my favourite restaurant in Leeds. The food is delicious, the service is friendly, it’s close to my house and I’ve never spent more than £40 a head on three courses and as many drinks as I wanted. So it was with excitement and trepidation that I received an invitation to come down and try out their new menu; fajitas, enchiladas and burritos were out, small, tapas-style plates were in. I have always loved their food, so I was sad to see some of my favourite dishes go but definitely intrigued to try the new ‘antojitos’, which they’ve been trialling as specials for months in order to perfect the new menu. 

Chile Con Carne at Pinche Pinche, Leeds // Amy Elizabeth

Thankfully, everything else about the place is recognisable – the colourful decor, the cheerful ambience, the lovely staff – and it was a warm welcome that we received as we ducked out of the cold rain and into the restaurant. Gone was the extensive folder of dishes, replaced by a single sheet detailing everything they have to offer – from quality tequilas and cocktails to nibbles and bigger plates. Even the drinks menu has been pared down to a selection of carefully chosen beers, wines and cocktails. The Tommy’s Margarita is their signature drink and comes highly recommended from me – you can taste the quality of the tequila and the slight sharpness of many margaritas is replaced by a pleasant tang and a sweetness that is dangerous on a Friday night. 

Prawn and Cod Ceviche at Pinche Pinche, Leeds // Amy Elizabeth

We chose our dishes, with eyes bigger than our stomachs, and were overwhelmed when they all arrived at our table. There were some familiar hints from the previous menu, but there’s no doubt that these dishes were more exciting than those that came before. I won’t give you a detailed breakdown – I’ll let you try them for yourself – but I have to sing the praises of the Prawn & Cod Ceviche – a light, fresh dish that’s unlike anything else on the list. If I was to go again, there’s no doubt that would be the first thing I would order, swiftly followed by the Surf & Turf Tacos, which came with a very more-ish Mexican tartare sauce, and the Marinated lamb with Oaxacan cheese Quesadillas, which combined two of my favourite things – tender, slow-cooked meat and melted cheese. 

Surf & Turf Tacos at Pinche Pinche, Leeds // Amy Elizabeth

After our feast, we were absolutely stuffed – three dishes is more than enough each, and with no dish more than £6.50, it’s a bargain of a meal. Of course, I can never resist the churros and had to find space for them, whilst Paul opted for the Crema Mexicana – a Mexican-style crème brûlée flavoured with orange. The churros are always delightfully crunchy, with a soft centre, covered in a sweet chocolate sauce, with a darker, more bitter sauce for dipping which creates a gorgeous contrast of flavours. I only managed half of mine after over-indulging on the main courses, so you could share them if you’re less greedy than me. 

Food at Pinche Pinche, Leeds // Amy Elizabeth

I know that there will be some that are unhappy with the changes at a beloved local restaurant, but I really applaud what Simon and his team are doing  – it’s hard to move away from a formula that’s working but this is an exciting change and one which makes Pinche Pinche an interesting dining experience. We’ve been taking visiting friends there for years, and now we’ll have to start all over again so they can try the new menu! 

Churros at Pinche Pinche, Leeds // Amy Elizabeth

 

Disclaimer: We were invited to try the new menu at Pinche Pinche for free, so our meal was complimentary on this occasion. However, I have paid for many meals at this restaurant and will continue to do so with the new menu – this is truly my favourite restaurant in Leeds and I genuinely recommend you check out those churros! In fact, we actually approached Pinche Pinche to cater our wedding, that’s how much we love it. Sadly that’s not to be (sorry, wedding guests!) so you’ll just have to go yourself and see what I’m talking about. 

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Introducing… My Leeds Food Map!

A lot of people come to this blog looking for restaurant recommendations in Leeds. Although I have written about a fair few of my favourite places, I haven’t covered it all – some of the places I go to the most never get a mention, probably because I’m too busy having a good time there to get out my phone and take a snap. 

So I’ve rounded up my favourite haunts in Leeds to eat, drink and shop for those people looking for somewhere new to try. These are all places that I have been, most of them more than once, which means that there are a few glaring omissions which get rave reviews from other Leeds foodies but I have yet to visit. Kendells Bistro, The Greedy Pig. and The Reliance are just a few that spring to mind. I’m sure that these will make their way onto the map in due course. 

Everyone has different taste, of course, so these are just my personal favourites – the places I find myself visiting regularly or dreaming of going back. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do! 

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LAB, Leeds

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I am not much of a music-lover. I’d rather listen to a podcast than an album and I know the names of about four chart musicians at any one time. This isn’t a symptom of my growing old, I’ve always been this way – much to the disbelief of my music-obsessed brother. As a result, the number of times I have been to concerts is pretty limited – a few big names here and there, and maybe one or two local bands at The Forum in my mis-spent (but mostly tame) youth. Even so, I was pretty excited when the First Direct Arena opened its doors – I’ve been just the once (for McBusted, obvs) but it’s a great addition to our city and there was a lot of talk about how it was going to rejuvenate the rather neglected area next door. 

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It’s taken a while to kick in, granted, but LAB is hopefully the first of many ‘cooler’ bars and restaurants to open in the area, giving concert-goers and locals somewhere new to go. Certainly, if you’re looking for somewhere to have a bite to eat before an event, this is the obvious choice – close enough that you can stay in the bar until the very last minute (hopefully missing the queues, and maybe the dodgy warm-up act) and cool enough that you’ll be Instagramming your way through your meal. LAB has that laid-back vibe that all the best bars do, with some cool decor touches – science equipment and vintage medicine bottles – which make it stand out from the rest. Plus, their cocktail menu is pretty exciting. You can’t say much fairer than that. 

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Food-wise, the menu is fairly limited – burgers and chicken dishes make up the majority but there are some interesting twists on the usual, including the cracked black pepper chips which taste like McCoys writ large (which is a very good thing, believe me). Paul opted for the Beast burger whilst I had the hanging chicken kebab, both of which were very good for the money. I’ll be honest and say that it’s probably not the best burger you’ll have in Leeds (although the jury is out on where you might get that…) but it’s tasty and good quality. The kebab was a little fussy to eat, especially with sauce dripping everywhere – but that doesn’t bother me and I really liked the sticky, sweet jerk BBQ sauce. I was full after just the main course, but I did spy some desserts making their way to other tables which made me wish I’d not worn skinny jeans…

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For me, however, the cocktails were the definite highlight. The staff were excellent at recommending drinks, and I was happy to go with their choices – a refreshing cucumber gin number for me, and a Fiery Agave for Paul. I’ll admit to being rather jealous of his cocktail, sneaking more than my fair share of sips – made with chilli-infused tequila it was just the right amount of spicy and savoury, and was served with a pretty neat ice cube ball. If you do work nearby, then an after-work cocktail here would be the perfect end to a Friday, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be ordering the Cotton Candy Cosmo on my next visit… 

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Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Yorkshire is pretty wonderful. There’s pretty much everything you could want here in God’s own county – from the mean streets of Leeds to the rolling pastures of the Dales, the bleakness of the moors and the quaint little towns with drystone walls. I’ve made my way around quite a bit of these green & pleasant lands over the past couple of years, but there’s still plenty to explore – including Yorkshire’s coast. So when I was invited to come down to Ox Pasture Hall near Scarborough, I jumped at the chance. 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Ox Pasture Hall is perfectly situated for those wanting to see more of Yorkshire – it’s a five minute drive from Scarborough for those who want to stroll along the beach, but tucked away in the countryside for those who want a quiet break and a ramble in the fields. It’s also not far from York or Whitby, so there’s plenty to do for a longer stay. Oh, and it’s dog friendly for those with pooches (and those who, like me, really want a pooch and will happily coo over other’s pets when out and about…). We were just there for one night, but we managed to walk along the seafront and snack on some proper fish & chips – whetting my appetite to come back to this part of the world! 

Chips at Scarborough Beach

The hotel itself looks like a rustic country house, set in stunning gardens. There’s a log-burning stove in the bar area and a few hints of the old life of this building scattered around the place. It’s very cosy, although we went on a Wednesday so it was a little quiet – which depending on your sensibilities will be a good or a bad thing! Our suite was absolutely beautiful, and incredibly spacious. It was light and airy, and incredibly comfortable – the bed was like sleeping in a cloud. I was very disappointed to go back to my regular bed which has very few cloud-like qualities. 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Let’s talk about the food though, shall we? That’s what you’re really here for, isn’t it? I’ll be honest and say that the afternoon tea was nothing much to write home about; having had some very good afternoon teas in my time, I was a little underwhelmed by the selection. However, that being said, dinner more than redeemed any lingering disappointment from the tea – it was incredible. It’s not cheap, but I was so full afterwards that I couldn’t really manage any breakfast the next day, so it’s easy to get your money’s worth!

Afternoon Tea at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

There are two menus – the A La Carte and Bistro. Since we were feeling fancy, we went for the A La Carte. A surprise ‘amuse bouche’ arrived first – a little cup of more-ish tomato & red pepper soup served with fresh bread and a dollop of garlic sauce. This was followed by Whitby crab for me – a very fresh dish – and ham hock for Paul. I want to sing the praises of the main course, however – a delicious beef dish made up of a slow-cooked joint and steak, which was melt-in-the-mouth and incredibly decadent. The menu changes regularly with the seasons, but if you get the chance then order this dish! There was no room for dessert after all that, which is not my usual modus operandi but needs must! 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Whitby Crab at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

Beef at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel Review, Scarborough, Yorkshire

All in all, we had a wonderful time. It is one of my enduring memories of Bridget Jones that she was a little obsessed with going on a mini-break, which always confused me as a teenager. However, I think if all mini-breaks were like this one then I think I could definitely get on board with her way of thinking. 

Disclaimer: We were offered a complimentary stay and meal at Ox Pasture Hall in return for this review but, as always, I would never lie to you about the cloud-like nature of a bed. That’s serious stuff. 

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Afternoon Tea at Filmore & Union

afternoon tea 1

This summer has been the most decadent time of my life. We’ve eaten like kings, drunk far too much wine, stayed up too late and generally had an excellent time. And is there anything quite as decadent as afternoon tea? A little nook of time carved out in the afternoon – when work and chores are usually prevalent – just for some indulgence. There is something wonderfully quaint about the whole process. Especially when there’s prosecco involved.

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Now, you’ll know that I’m not usually one for health food – especially when it comes to cake. I would always rather eat a small slice of delicious, calorific, butter-laden cake then a hundred slices of some imitation cake made with edamame beans and sadness. However, there is a happy compromise – Filmore & Union. Set up right in the middle of the picturesque Victoria Quarter to provide the people of Leeds with super juices and other such nourishment, I was surprisingly delighted by their afternoon tea – which was, relatively speaking, quite healthy.

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What arrived at our table was three tiers laden with goodies – from savoury canapés on the bottom right up to sumptuous cakes on the top. Particular highlights for me were the smoked salmon canapé with a dill and lemon cream cheese on malted rye bread and the dark chocolate & raspberry brownie, which was super fudgey and delicious. As it was all gluten-free, the cake was a little crumbly, and I did miss the piles of clotted cream & jam on my blueberry scone (although honey was a nice touch that I’d not thought of before) but otherwise it was perfect for an afternoon spent nibbling and chatting.

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If you pick up a store guide in the Victoria Quarter, you also get 2 for 1 on your afternoon tea (which was what persuaded us to start with!). I’m not sure how long the offer will last, so get yourself down there pronto!

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Pinche Pinche, Leeds

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Since I was showing my Uni friends my favourite parts of Leeds, it was only fitting to take them to my favourite restaurant as well. I first discovered Pinche Pinche three years ago at the Leeds Loves Food festival and I’ve been hooked ever since. Living just down the road makes it the perfect spot for date nights, special occasions and just because dinners.

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They have an extensive menu – from mini portions of tacos for starters or sharing to big plates – which means it can take some time to choose! I’ll give you a hand – the lamb is excellent, and if you’re a meat eater, you will seriously regret it if you don’t have at least one lamb dish. It’s melt in your mouth and crazy delicious. I like it in their enchiladas – covered in melted cheese, with a mild green salsa. Paul prefers it in tacos with a spicier version of the salsa – although be warned if you think you’re hard enough for their spiciest version. You’re probably not. I also love their little prawn tacos to start – the mango salsa is lovely and fresh and the prawns are big and juicy. The perfect combination.

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Suffice to say, we were pretty stuffed and decided to pass on pudding on this occasion. However, if you have a sweet tooth like me then the churros are the obvious choice. Who doesn’t love fried dough dipped in chocolate? No one, that’s who.

The best way to end a meal at Pinche Pinche, however, is with one of their tequilas. So many people I know don’t like tequila but when it’s served like this – for sipping, not shooting – it’s totally delicious. One is definitely enough but I can’t resist that one!

I literally cannot rave about Pinche Pinche enough – it’s excellent value for money (I don’t ever part with much more than £30 for drinks and three courses), the service is always friendly and the food is some of the best to be found in Leeds. I’m not the only one who thinks so, so be sure to book if you want to go on a Friday or Saturday!

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Making Sushi at Yo! Sushi

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I don’t know about you, but sushi is kind of a mystery to me. When I eat out, I like to choose places that offer me something that I can’t make myself. If I can whip up a better version at home, I feel a bit cheated. So for me, sushi is the ultimate luxury – something that cannot be recreated in my kitchen. I have a standing sushi date with my friend Eloise where I can satisfy my cravings for all things sushi (and those delicious duck gyozas) and I occasionally venture to Wasabi at lunchtime, but otherwise I must live a sushi-less life.

sushi school 1

I was hoping that I might write this introductory paragraph, and then turn it all around by saying that the sushi school at Yo! Sushi changed my life and now I’m whipping up sashimi and nigiri on the regular. When I ventured there with my colleagues a couple of weeks ago, that was what I was expecting. However, despite the excellent tuition, I am doomed to forever buy my sushi ready-made – I am certainly no natural at this dish!

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That being said, I was super impressed with the class. The teacher explained so much about sushi, its history and the methods for making it so I learnt a lot in theory, even if not in practice! We also got to make a whole bunch of different kinds of sushi – from little cucumber makis to salmon nigiri (my favourite) and crab hand rolls.

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I’d definitely recommend giving this a go if you’re into sushi – you do get some great sushi secrets (like where to pick up the best fish, how to cook the rice and how to get creative with your sushi at home) and we were stuffed by the end of it. That’s something that always surprises me about sushi – I always expect to be hungry because the pieces look so small but it’s never the case!

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Don’t let my incompetence put you off – my fellow students fared much better than me; Erin made some lovely triangular maki whilst on more than one occasion was someone else’s work pronounced ‘perfect’. I was just a little overzealous with the rice, which meant rolling them up was a bit of a challenge… I did improve by the end though – I was pretty proud of my hand roll!

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The Woods, Chapel Allerton, Leeds

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(Photo Credit: The Woods)

I love that I can call Chapel Allerton home. In my humble opinion, it’s definitely the best part of Leeds and it has everything I could possibly want – from a butchers, green grocers and cheesemongers right through to perfect pub gardens, friendly bars and delicious restaurants. However, despite a bustling social scene and plenty of punters, there’s one building right slap bang in the middle that hasn’t had much luck. Previously Angel’s Share and The Hummingbird Kitchen & Bar, it’s stood empty for a long while. That is, until The Woods moved in.

The Woods, Leeds

We were invited down to try out what The Woods has to offer – and although it’s only been a week since the opening, there are already big plans afoot. Set over three floors – bar, restaurant and canopy – they already have a packed programme of events. As well as the food and drink on offer, there’s also a 4k cinema screen which will be showing classic films for kids and adults alike, space for live music and even some exercise classes which you can get involved in. The decor is stripped back and clearly Scandi-inspired – I love the bright yellow bar downstairs and the log-burning fire. It’s bright and airy, with big windows looking out over Chapel A – and of course, the outside terrace, which, judging by the amount of people there on a Wednesday night, has sorely been missed this summer.

Strawberry & Basil Cocktail at The Woods, Leeds

Lumberjack Cocktail and The Woods, Leeds

There’s an impressive range of drinks on offer – Paul was particularly taken with the Brooklyn Summer Ale – and the cocktail list includes both the classics you would expect and a few unusual creations inspired by ‘The Woods’ theme. They’ve carried the theme through to the menu as well – the food is wood-fired and the main courses are hearty, which is perhaps a little at odds with the lightness of the venue (or maybe just because we visited on one of those really close, sticky days we’ve been having). I was impressed with the wood-fired pizzas – always a winner in my books. There was a range of unusual toppings on the menu, and you can mix and match your own if you can’t find exactly what you want. I opted for garlic mushrooms, artichoke, lemon and pecorino which was a really lovely flavour combination – both light and filling at the same time, if that makes sense. You’ll have to try it and see what I mean.

Pizza at The Woods, Leeds

Pizza at The Woods, Leeds

However, I’ll be honest and say that some of the other things we tried were a little average. Not bad but certainly not blow you away good. Paul had the Yorkshire lamb shoulder, which although flavoured well with garlic and rosemary was nothing particularly special. I’ve heard similar feedback from friends who’ve visited so my advice would be to stick to the pizzas if you visit. Whilst I’m here, it’s also worth mentioning that the service was friendly but slow – both in the restaurant and at the bar – but having only been open a week I wouldn’t worry about it. They’ll find their feet no doubt.

Lamb Shoulder at The Woods, Leeds

Cured Meat Board at The Woods, Leeds

Other places are doing meat well, but I’m sure I’ll be back for some of those pizzas – at around £8 they’re a good accompaniment for some post-work drinks or a Saturday lunchtime tipple. I’m also keen to try out their brunch menu – my commitment to brunch is very real and their brunch menu definitely has some interesting dishes to try. There’s also a pile of fresh croissants and cakes by the bar which are very tempting indeed.

It’s a lovely spot, right in the centre of the action and I’m very glad to see this bar open again. If you can grab yourself a seat outside, you could easily while away a summer evening nibbling on pizza and sipping on cocktails. Isn’t life grand?

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Bird & Beast, Leeds

Bird and Beast Leeds

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Paul actually took me to Nando’s on our first date. And our second date. Yes, I am still marrying him. I was a poor student at the time, and I was certainly not as discerning in my choice of restaurants as I am now, and Paul was the fussiest eater known to man. So it suited both of our purposes, although if someone pulled that on me nowadays I’m sure I wouldn’t be so forgiving.

Because nowadays, Bird & Beast exists, giving chicken lovers everywhere a refuge for a classier date location that will impress rather than distress. Specialising in delicious, rotisserie chicken, Bird & Beast is like Nando’s classier older sister – their chicken is locally sourced (they’ll tell you where from, if you ask nicely), treated with care and respect and served up in a light, airy and sophisticated restaurant. We were invited to dine for free but it’s a similar price point, and they even have Nando’s sauce. So you see, there really would be no excuse, even for a fussy eater like Paul.

Bird and Beast Leeds

If you do go to Bird & Beast, be sure to enter from the Central Road side – you’ll go up some sweeping steps and straight into a warm welcome at the entrance. The other side – the Central Arcade side – is slightly less glamorous – although my thoughts on that arcade and why it hasn’t got the same makeover treatment as Trinity is a post for another time. There’s a bar where you can perch on comfy looking turquoise stools and watch your chickens being cooked on spit, although we opted for a table in the corner near the sauces! It was a little quiet, although it was early on a Wednesday evening – but the music was good, the staff were friendly and the sun was shining in. You can’t ask for much more.

Chicken at Bird and Beast

The menu is very simple – but all the better for it. A whole, half or quarter chicken and sides of your choice. For vegetarians there are an array of salads, which sounds like a cop-out but these are more interesting than your regular caesar and are due to be changed regularly to suit the flavours of the season. They also serve as a side for two, if you’d rather go for a light option. The whole chicken is designed to share, and although we opted for two sides we should have shared one of those as well – a whole chicken is filling! It’s cut up perfectly ready for delectation – don’t worry, it’s not just plonked on your plate whole – and the skin may be the best I’ve ever seen. Paul thinks I’m odd for liking the crispy chicken skin but when it’s cooked like this, then there is nothing better. The birds are double marinated and cooked over cherry wood chips and charcoal for a unique flavour and delicious tenderness. This stuff is addictive.

Sweet Potato Wedges at Bird and Beast Leeds

I mentioned earlier the table of sauces – around the restaurant are strategically placed little tables brimming with bottles of sauce to flavour your chicken. Paul opted for the hottest sauce possible, of course, whilst I went for a garlick-y number but I abandoned it after the first dip for a squeeze of fresh lemon and a little dunk of mayo for my chips. The chicken was just too good to slather in sauce, although apparently I’m one of the only ones who thinks so! Sauce it seems, is serious business.

Table of sauces at Bird and Beast Leeds

Although we were bursting at the seams by the time that the dessert menu came around, I couldn’t resist the Crème Catalana – one of my favourite puddings of all time. Designed to be a little light relief after you’ve gorged yourself on the main attraction, it was exactly what I needed. The zestiness of the orange was delicious after all that chicken, although the creamy sweetness of the dessert eventually defeated me – another thing I should have shared. There’s a lesson here, I think. Paul’s warm brownie was perfectly fudgey and demolished within minutes – although I did manage to pinch a tiny bit for ‘review purposes’. 

Creme Catalana at Bird and Beast Leeds

As we waddled out, we vowed to return for more chicken-y goodness. It’s already gone down a storm with our friends (it’s great for group dining) so no doubt we’ll find ourselves back sooner rather than later. And I suspect that going to a different chicken restaurant now might feel rather disappointing…

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