You know those moments when you pinch yourself, and wonder if life can really be as amazing as it is right that second? Dining in The Pink Shed was a little like that. I was lucky enough to be invited to this pop-up dining room, slap bang in the centre of the new Trinity shopping centre. From the outside, it looks a little bit like this:
You really can't miss it. As we were waiting for our sitting we saw quite a few curious looks being directed at this big pink box; it looks incredibly mysterious and if I didn't know what it was I'm sure I'd be giving it the side-eye as well! Inside, it's a luxurious dining room, with seats for just eight people. I can't show you too much, as it won't be a surprise otherwise, but here's a little peek inside:
The roof was a gauze-like material so you could see up and out of that sweeping roof - but equally, people can just about see what's going on inside. We had a few people peering in over the course of the evening, and a few whispers when we eventually left the Pink Shed. I very much felt like a celebrity. And a spoilt one at that - because the venue wasn't the only thing that was incredible. The food and wine was equally splendid, cooked up by The Food Academy at Flannels - a restaurant I'd not had a chance to sample before. The Pink Shed is hosted by a different Leeds restaurant each night, and it's a total surprise until you get there - there's everything from Salvo's to Nandos on the list. The menu is also a surprise - but a delightful one in this instance.
The Food Academy at Flannels is staffed by Leeds City College students doing cartering and chef-ing qualifications, The head chef, Kevin, came in to chat to us about the food, and he was clearly passionate about the menu that he had created (as well he should be!). This menu will be his entry into a South Asian cooking competition in Bradford later this year, and I'd say that based on this evening he's definitely in with a chance of scooping the top prize.
The starter was a coronation chicken stack, with apricot and fig, along with a micro-salad. Perfectly seasoned and just spicy enough to leave you wanting more. The main course was a trio of lamb - again, perfectly cooked and seasoned. I could have devoured the slow-cooked lamb part five times over and still not have been satisfied. Both courses were excellent, but the dessert was a true triumph, the definite crowning glory of the whole meal. A marshmallow-y Italian meringue piped into the shell of a duck egg, with a surprising lemon curd 'yolk' in the centre, flavoured with chai and cardamom, and served with shortbread 'soldiers'. It was innovative, sweet and delicious, a definite must-have if you ever visit this restaurant.
Although we were invited to dine at the Pink Shed for free, I must attest to the sheer value for money provided. The dinner sitting would have cost just £20, but you get all three courses and seemingly unlimited wine selected especially to match. And for such a unique, exclusive experience, who could really ask for more? There are just 72 sittings at the Pink Shed before it closes for business,which means that just 576 lucky Leeds residents will be able to have this experience. I believe that a lot of bookings have been made already, but you can call 0113 322 6377 to try your luck!