Minor Treat: The Riverside Cafe, Leeds

Riverside Cafe

At the risk of breaking the fourth wall for a second, I’d like to mention a new type of feature on the blog – Minor Treat.  A Minor Treat is a short overview of somewhere I’ve tried first-hand and want to mention beyond the few sentences I’m limited to on the Cheat Sheet, but I haven’t visited enough to justify or be able to write about in a thousand-word review explaining their ethos, or where they source their napkin-holders from.

First on the list is newly-discovered brunch and lunch spot, The Riverside Cafe.

Occupying the riverside-half of the ground floor of No. 1 Whitehall (you won’t know the name, but you might recognise the building, if you have a keen eye for nondescript chambers of commerce), The Riverside’s plot is like a Costa franchisees wet dream – the 8-ish storeys of offices and conference rooms overhead guarantee decent footfall from suits on business lunches and office bods who are too busy to make a packed lunch; you could get away with a Nespresso machine and some posh-sounding sandwiches freshly bagged up each morning.

The fact I’m writing about them hopefully indicates that they haven’t just settled for that approach, though.   Read more

Review: BAO Soho

Bao Review Restaurant Front

Bao’s origin story is well-trodden by now, so I’ll keep my recap brief: it’s the success story of a street-food upstart who gained well notoriety, awards, and a dedicated following – all very deserved – by doing what only the best street-food upstarts were able to do – introducing something genuinely new to their audience: Bao.  To the uninitiated that’s slow cooked meats with assorted pickles and toppings, all folded inside the type of steamed bun that sends food writers clambering to find a new synonym for “pillowy”.

Flash-forward a few years and they’ve gone all bricks-and-mortar on us.  Praise for the 30-seater restaurant in Soho has been rolling in exponentially and the queue outside reflects that – at busy times dozens of would-be diners snake down Lexington Street, waiting patiently adjecent the restaurant’s glass front.  It’s become a bit of an in-joke in itself, so I was more than happy to pay my dues and get the full experience, besides I’ve stood in bigger queues for less promising pay-offs in the past – this would be a breeze compared to 12 hours to get into Reading Festival 2005. Read more

Recipe: Thai Sweet Potato Fritters

Thai Sweet Potato Fritters

This one’s a very quick one, but I thought it was worth posting as it’s taken me ages to put together a recipe that works for me.  I’ve tried dozens without much success – the fritters either don’t bind properly, they’re too wet, too dry, or just not the right consistency.  The trick is to use egg and polenta or cornstarch as a glue to hold everything together, and to not be shy when it comes to the amount of oil you fry them in so they caramelise on the outside a little – so use something healthier like Coconut Oil.

Thai-spiced sweet potato fritters brunch
Fritters for brunch with bok choi with soy and mirin, and a dippy egg

This is a good for using up leftovers as they can be padded out with finely sliced greens or whatever vegetables need using up – like a fancy bubble and squeak.  If you’re a gannet like us though and leftovers are a rare sighting in your house, it’s worth deliberately making too much sweet potato for tea one night, and then keeping it to make these for brunch or as a side with your tea Read more

Food Samaritans – Leeds Food Charity & Social Enterprise

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If you’re from Leeds and active on Facebook, you might have noticed the above image being shared this week, along with a plea which urges friends to contribute to an ad-hoc food donation point in the Hyde Park neighbourhood:

 

“Dear all my leeds friends, there isn’t a food bank in hyde park and it’s pretty rank seeing the amount of food waste on the side of the streets. We’ve set up a little spot to dump food on the end of our road which is a popular spot for the hyde park homeless. Preferably no food that goes off…. Not to far a walk from anyone. And a good way to give back to the community we have taken from for 3 years!!”

Among a sea of “Top 80 Man v Food Challenges!!” clickbait lists about irresponsible restaurants encouraging patrons to fist globs of Nachos Grande out of a wheelie bin and into their mouth, this kind of attitude is welcome, humbling and very encouraging – the execution is a little misguided though: Read more

Leeds Restaurant Cheat Sheet

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Trying to decide where to go out to eat is one of the great dilemmas of our time – up there with “What should I watch from my Netflix queue?” and “Which pet would I save in the event of a house fire?” (Broad City and whichever one usually gets the most likes on Instagram, respectively) – so here’s the Leeds Restaurant Cheat Sheet, a handy tool to help take the stress out of choosing.

I’ll try and provide a few suggestions for each type of cuisine, suited to different price ranges and occasions – Just decide what you’re in the mood for use the brief summaries to help guide your decision.  The list will be updated regularly to try and keep up with the frantic pace of Leeds food.

Coffee & BreakfastPan-AsianMexican & South AmericanItalianBurgers & BBQNorth African & MediterraneanVegetarian & VeganBritish & SeasonalSupper Clubs & Something PoshOther

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