Review: Wasabi Sushi & Bento

Wasabi has been teasing the people of Leeds with its impending presence for over a year now – baggsying one of the renovated Albion Street plots and plastering it in promotional material weeks before Trinity launched.  
Finally, last April – with much fanfare – Trinity launched but Wasabi wasn’t ready yet.  Not a problem, there was to be a staggered launch with some places opening at a later date.  Then a few months later, the second wave of Trinity shops opened!  But Wasabi wasn’t ready yet.  Perhaps – being an eaterie – Wasabi would launch at the same time as the much talked-about Trinity Kitchen.  Then a few months later still, Trinity Kitchen opened!  But Wasabi wasn’t ready yet.
And then almost a year later, Wasabi announced that it would be opening its doors at 12 noon on February 19th, with a generous giveaway of Free Sushi for a year for the first 50 customers.  I went down and got my place in the queue at just gone 11am to make sure I was one of the lucky 50, and I waited until noon came round…and then!!
Wasabi still wasn’t ready.

In the end, we ended up being let in at about 12:35, after being strategically left outside to play hype-man and make the place look popular, while their Social Media manager Tweeted photos of us, and people wandered past on their way to buy a Boots Meal Deal.
I’ve got no problem being used as a marketing tool – that’s essentially the purpose a food blogger serves – and I’ve queued for ages to get into enough empty nightclubs to understand this particular tactic, but we were stood on the other side of the store’s glass facade, and we could tell that there was nothing going on in the restaurant to warrant this cynical delay.
Upon entering the store we were greeted by a member of staff attempting to explain the queuing system, the blueprint for which was seemingly devised by M.C. Escher.  A large queue snaked around the fridges where sushi platters were kept, but you could skip that and go straight to the hot food counter if you wanted, which was sandwiched in between the fridges and the cashiers.  Once you’d been served, you then had to join another queue to go to one of the tills – certain tills for hot food and certain ones for sushi, but with no indication which was which.
We decided to go for hot food, and kind of awkwardly stood near the counter, unsure if we were in the right place, or if we’d unknowingly pushed in front of somebody.  My partner ordered the Chicken Katsu Curry (£4.95) and then joined one of the queues to go and pay.  I stood at the counter for a while longer while people were seemingly picked at random to order their food, eventually ordering the Salmon Teriyaki (£5.95) with a Chicken Yakitori (£1), Tempura Prawn (£1) and Two Fried Chicken Gyoza (£1.50) (Although I did only get the one Gyoza).
The meals at Wasabi are very large portions, served in tubs which require you to tackle your food top-down, with the rice at the bottom.  I attempted to eat mine side-on to get an even distribution of rice throughout the meal, but it defied gravity and stuck to the bottom of the tub, requiring excavation with the plastic fork.  
My Salmon wasn’t terrible, but it was very poor – it possessed a strong flavour suggesting that it was long past fresh, and was dry inside and out; the only moisture coming from the Teriyaki sauce which tasted like it was made almost entirely from Balsamic vinegar.
My partner’s main was similarly bad, the chicken was greasy, with the panko breadcrumb lost its crispiness and turned almost furry, having absorbed moisture from the meat.  The sauce was ok – I mentioned in my review of Yu Kyu that some attempts at Katsu curry sare nothing more than chip shop curry sauce, and this was a prime example of that.
The Yakitori, Tempura and Gyoza were of the standard you could expect from an Iceland Christmas buffet, and they were entirely cold.  One bite into the hard, fatty Yakitori and I immediately lost my appetite. 
Would the food have been this bad if it hadn’t been left in the hot-trays for half an hour longer than usual while the queue was left brewing outside?  Not quite, but it still wouldn’t have come close to being good.  This is exactly the same quality of food, if not worse, that you could receive at the most basic of All You Can Eat restaurants – at the current price point, Wasabi is placing itself in direct competition with Yo! Sushi, and it doesn’t begin to come close.
To put a positive spin on the place, the cold food that we saw in the fridges looked good and was proving very popular.  Nigiri, Maki, Sashimi and hand-rolls were all lined up in impressively uniform rows, sealed in cellophane to be bought Pick-n-Mix style, or in ready-made mixed sets.

The soups and salads looked very fresh; albeit a little expensive for the equivalent of something you could get from Pret.  The cost really become an issue when you consider that the brilliant Pho is upstairs, serving similar healthy salads and soups, made fresh, for around the same price.

And that’s where Wasabi really shows its flaws; Leeds has been spoilt for choice recently with various ventures popping up and providing brilliant, exciting, affordable food, made by people who actually give a shit, and this place stands out like a sore thumb.  Newton’s Third Law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; Wasabi is the antithesis of Trinity Kitchen and all of the other great food progress that’s currently being made, it is actively bad food, attempting to look like something more.
On top of this, when I Tweeted about my dissatisfaction with the food; knowing that fellow bloggers had attended, I received the following audacious DM from Wasabi:
Such is their blind arrogance and refusal to accept critique, that they assume the only reason anybody could fault them is if they didn’t win their promotional contest.
Actually, being one of the first 50 people in the store, I was given a card which entitles the holder to a free Wasabi meal up to the value of £10 every month for a year.  After eating there that prospect fills me with dread, so I’ve donated my card to a person living on the streets; at least some good will come of the experience.

Review: Pho Cafe, Trinity Kitchen


Last week’s Trinity Kitchen round up focussed on the food vans which embrace us in a brief, adrenaline fuelled fling before leaving us again – exotic sailors on shore leave; rock stars swaggering into town for one night of their world tour; Danny Zucho at the beach at the start of Grease.

As exciting and brilliant as they are, and I must stress that the current crop are fantastic – to pretend Trinity Kitchen lives and dies by the appeal of these mysterious strangers would be unfair on the restaurants who are there all the time; consistent, reliable, and there for us when the cowboys ride their converted School-buses and Transit vans into the sunset, back to that London or wherever they’re from.
Today I’ll be reviewing Pho.
Likely to be the first thing you notice as you enter Trinity Kitchen is Pho – an island consisting of little more but a large, open plan kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work.  The menu specialises in Vietnamese street food such as soups, salads and noodles, and the fact that Pho’s de facto seating area consists of cantina-style long benches and bar stools suggests you’re here for a good time, not a long time.  We pitched up at one of the benches, and went to enquire about some of the menu items.
At the counter we got a briefing of the menu from Justina, who was very thorough, despite the jarring distraction of a DJ/Drummer ensemble not too far from the counter.  Being big fans of Thai food we had a pretty decent point of reference for most of the dishes, and went for a combination of the familiar, and things that we wouldn’t feel guilty about eating during our week of repenting for the weekends multitude of sins.

Noticing one of the workers throwing fruit into a juicing machine we decided to try a couple of fresh juices as well, to really trick ourselves into thinking we were detoxing: Super Green Juice (£2.95) containing Kale, Pineapple, Apple and (I think) Mint, and Apple, Beetroot & Carrot (£2.95) – No prizes for working out what went into them.  The super juice was the winner of the two, it somehow tasted really creamy, and not at all like cooked kale.

After just a few minutes our buzzer started jittering around the table and I went to retrieve them.  For starter we shared Vegetable Spring Rolls (£4.75) and Pork and Lemongrass Meatballs (£4.95).  The spring rolls were bigger than expected which seemed a bit daunting if you’re used to takeaway spring rolls filled with anonymous stodge, but these were really pleasantly light; wrapped in rice paper rather than pastry (So gluten free as well as lower in calories) they contained a mix of vegetables, glass noodles and herbs.

The meatballs were rich and well seasoned; each one a couple of mouthfuls in size, they were lightly crispy on the outside with a firm texture inside, similar to a Thai fish-cake.  Four spring rolls and five meatballs were 274 calories and 323 calories, respectively (Although these figures don’t include the incredible peanut dipping sauce that accompanied them)

For the main course I went for the Pho Xao, or Wok Fried Noodles with Tender Beef (£6.95).  The noodles were cooked perfectly with a nice bite to them, and the generous amount of beef which really was tender flavourful – it could have easily taken center stage in a roast dinner, never mind being hidden away among a forest of noodles.  I checked the nutritional info because I’m like that, and was impressed to see it just shy of 400 calories.

The other half had Ca-ri: Vietnamese Curry with Tiger Prawn (£8.95) which was similar to a Thai curry in the sense that it had a fragrant balance of herbs to compliment the heat of the chilli, but thicker and it seemed richer.  It was served with a dome of rice on the side so you could add as much or as little as you liked, with the whole dish amounting to just over 700 calories.

As well as our mains, we shared a Goi ngo sen, which I would never attempt to pronounce, preferring to pussy out and use the menu number “8”, or the informal Tangy Lotus Stem Salad (£4.95).

This was pure vegetables and protein, with shredded chicken and butterflied tiger prawns strewn over a bed of Green beans, carrots, and the titular lotus stems.  The salad provided a nice fresh palate-cleanser between chopstick-fuls of our mains, with a faint peppery taste similar to raw celery.  Being nothing but vegetables and white meat, the whole dish only added just under 200 calories to our grand total.

Overall we were both really impressed with the meal, we knew we would be as we’d been a few times before and loved it, but I had no idea that it was all so healthy.  Definitely a place I’ll be going back to.

Pho on Urbanspoon

Market Delivered – Leeds Market Produce Delivered to Your Door


The virtues of buying fresh locally-grown produce are obvious (celebrity chefs have been campaigning tirelessly for the past 15-ish years to make sure we’re aware of them) , and us Leeds folk should count ourselves lucky that we have such an amazing hub of independent traders as the Kirkgate market, right in the middle of our City centre.

While it’s entirely feasible that Nigel and Jamie can spend lazy mornings wandering around a marketplace, testing the tensile strength of an avocado, the rest of us aren’t afforded that luxury and have to make do with a quick trip to little-Sainsburys in the spare 20 minutes between getting in from work and having to cook tea.  Just look how popular Tinder is, if people can’t devote more time than it takes to flick their finger to finding a suitable mate, then how can they go to the market and ensure they’re getting the best courgettes for their money.

This is where Market Delivered steps in.
As you might have guessed from the name, Market Delivered is a service which offers home delivery on market produce, giving you the benefits of market-quality food and prices, with supermarket convenience.
The website is split into categories, and with Fruit, Veg and Meat (Which I imagine is going to be most peoples’ reason for using this service) rather than filling your basket with individual items you buy a mixed box or pack, at a few different price-points based on how much you need.  You can also add individual items like Fish, Milk, Yoghurts, Eggs, Butter and Confectionary to your basket, so not everything is left to chance.
Having a Girlfriend who unfortunately suffers from Vegetarianism, I don’t cook a lot of meat at home (It’s actually quite good that my meat-gluttony is restricted to eating out), but we use a lot of vegetables in cooking, so we went for the Seasonal Veg Box for 3-4 (No Potatoes) (£10) and the Fruit Box (£5.50).  The typical contents are listed in the product description, along with accompanying photos to give a rough idea of what you can expect:

I liked this system, it saves time having to go and put each item in your basket, and it feels like the stall-holder is giving you a bit of a deal.  We also got some Smoked Haddock fillets (£1 each) and 30 Eggs (£3) which Market Delivered proudly announce are free range and laid fresh the day before they’re delivered to you.

We placed our order on Sunday night and booked delivery for 6pm – 9pm on Tuesday, with delivery only costing £2.99.
At about 6:30 on Tuesday the friendly Market Delivered proprietor (whose name I forgot to catch in all the excitement of getting loads of food given to me, and talking the business and Twitter) turned up with market boxes, laden with leaves and roots and shiny fruit, and our fish and eggs.  I was amazed at the sheer quantity of it.
The vegetable box contained: Winnie the Pooh-carrots, Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Beetroot, Parsnips, Courgette, Mushrooms, Red & White Onions, Swede and Sweet Potatoes (Nosey cat sold separately)
And in the fruit box: 6 Bananas, 8 Kiwi Fruit, 5 Satsumas, 3 Peaches, 5 Plums, 5 Red Delicious, 2 Granny Smith, 4 Pears, Strawberries, Pineapple

All of it is top quality stuff as well, definitely not end-of-the-day off-casts, which could easily have been the case with my delivery being after trading hours.  Along with my 4 pieces of Haddock, 30 (THIRTY!) eggs and delivery cost, all of this came to just under £26.

I’m kicking myself for wasting so much time and money buying packaged fruit and vegetables from local supermarkets, I just wish I’d heard of Market Delivered sooner.  As the customer-base grows it would be nice to see partnership with more stalls so we can get more niche ingredients (Caribbean vendors especially please!), but I can’t find any faults with the current service offered.  This is how we’ll do most of our shopping from now on.

Takeaway Review: Mr. Nice Guy’s


In my experience of reading food blogs – and I feel that I can speak with authority on the subject, having read as many as three – I’ve noticed an absence of reviews for takeaway places.  It makes sense really, reviewing something in your own home takes what little glamour there is in food blogging, strips it down to loungewear of ambiguous cleanliness, and plonks it on a sofa in front of Netflix.  There’s the ratings section of JustEat of course, but comments sections on websites tend to be the domain of angry loners and Illuminati-theorists; not the type of people you can take a reliable restaurant recommendation from.  Never one to shy away form suffering for my art, I’m going to step up to the plate* and offer my services.  First place up for review: Mr. Nice Guy’s

*polystyrene carton
Opening last year as a spin-off from the wildly successful Get Baked, Mr Nice Guy’s was one of the first places in Leeds to offer American-style burgers; dripping fresh patties, shiny buns etc etc.  Anybody who knows about Get Baked (Which is absolutely everybody, by the way.  Their social media game is on point) knows that they’re passionate about their product, it shows in their enthusiasm for the business as well as the reception from customers; these are the type of people you want to be making your food.
The combination of wild popularity and an admirable dedication to making everything fresh means that waiting times can be higher than you’d expect from a burger place – their website advises it can take up to an hour and a half for delivery.  Being starving and impatient, I sat poised at my laptop from 17:58, refreshing the order page until it came online at 6pm, placed our order of a Nice Burger (£6), Ohio Burger (£6.5) and Jalapeno-salted Fries (£2), and played the waiting game.
The waiting game sucked, but luckily we received a call a couple of minutes later telling us that our order was on the grill and would be sent out soon – which was a nice touch – and within half an hour a cheerful delivery man was at our door with bags of burgers.
I went for the modestly-named Nice Burger first, Nice Guy’s take on a bacon cheeseburger, with the addition of their signature Nice Sauce.  Unsheathed from its double-wrapping I noticed that in transit the juices from the patty and the melted cheese had made everything inside the bun kind of congeal in the best kind of way, meaning that each element of the burger was present and correct in every mouthful.  I’ve been spoilt rotten this week with burgers, this one being the third I’ve eaten, and it was probably the best.  While the patty was a little overcooked for my liking (When it comes to patties I’m with ODB: Baby I like it raaaaAAAaaaw), allowing it to sit and harmonise with the rest of the ingredients for ten minutes inside a wrapper gives it the edge.  I would never be able to sit and watch a burger for ten minutes if it was in front of me, regardless of how cohesive the ingredients would be by the end of it.  The Jalapeno-salted fries were alright, but could have done with more Jalapeno salt.  Decent sized portion though for the price, we had one between us and it was plenty.
Next up was the Ohio, which contained bacon, cheddar, and a smear of peanut butter to glue everything together.  I swapped the bacon for candied bacon, but also added lettuce because my body is a temple, son.  As much as I talk about the virtues of a simple, gimmick-free burger, I can be a sucker for feature-pieces like this and Red’s Donut-Burger.  Much like crystal meth and dance music, I feel they’re something I need to indulge in while I’m still relatively young and hip, before they can cause any irreparable damage or cause me to look like a fat wheezing slob in public, embarrassing myself by trying my hand at a young man’s game.  The Ohio was good, but not something I’d order again.  Without the sweet and sharp Nice sauce cutting through the flavour landscape (can I get away with saying that?  Ok, just this once) it became a bit difficult to eat, but this might have been accountable to the fact I’d already eaten one burger by this point.  I’d recommend you try it once, but the Nice Burger is your best bet for a classic burger.  
In the end I had to have a little walk around the room and stoke the fireplace (not a euphemism) before finally, heroically finishing the thing.  Perhaps I’m more suited to blogging from outside of the public eye after all…

Street Feast at Belgrave Music Hall Round-Up


Since opening last October, Belgrave Music Hall has earned a reputation for its food; a couple of hole-in-the-wall kitchens bookend the bar, dispensing relaxed, social media-friendly street food with the added benefit of having a roof over your head.  Bearing in mind these credentials it was only a matter of time until they hosted a food event, and of course chubs over here was in there like a whippet.

We arrived there just after midday and the place was already busy – trendy Dads with three-wheeled pushchairs lingering after brunch, eager food bloggers, and regular daytime drunks; myself being a combination of the last two.  I recovered from the devastating realisation that Ilkley Mary Jane wasn’t on draught any more, settled for a pint of Saltaire Blonde (Not a bad substitute), squeezed onto a bench and started strategizing how to eat as much as possible.
I’m not nosey or anything, but when you’re sharing a bench with strangers you can’t help but eavesdrop, which in this case helped me decide to start at Fu Schnickens (A brief tangent about the name: I’m as down with obscure-ish early-90s rap as the next guy, but I can’t work out the connection to Taiwanese street food.  I bet I’ll kick myself when I realise).  Fu Schnickens is in the business of serving up Guo Bao (£3.5 or 2 for £5)- steamed buns containing a choice of pork belly, panko chicken or glazed portabello mushroom.  I went for the pork belly and chicken options, I’m sure as far as mushrooms go the portabello was wonderful, but I ain’t about that life.  After the buns were steamed and the meat was fried to order, they were meticulously assembled along with pickled cabbage, sesame, cashew nuts and sriracha sauce.  Ben (I think his name was Ben) told me that they’ve had to cease manufacture at one of the main sriracha factories because local residents were complaining about the chilli smell, talk about ungrateful.  Having given up my seat to go and collect my order, I relocated to the roof terrace and spread my buns out on a picnic bench, just like your Mum does.

The chicken Guo Bao was great – the chicken was juicy, the chilli panko packed a real crispiness which contrasted well with the stickiness of the steamed dough, and Ben’s delicate touch with the sriracha and Japanese mayo (which I should have asked for more information about) proved to be just the right amount.

As good as the chicken bun was, nothing could have prepared me for what was to follow: probably the best pork belly I’ve ever eaten, and plenty of it.  The buns weren’t small, and the slab of pork belly was sticking out either end of it.  A lot of the fat had been rendered down and formed a chewy, caramelised crust on the edge, complimented beautifully by the hoisin sauce, and pickled cabbage and coriander was on hand to stop things becoming too rich, and I could happily have eaten a dozen of these.  Luckily Fu Schnickens is a new resident at Belgrave, and will be serving Guo Bao from Patty Smiths burger kitchen on the regs.

After I finished gushing we went to the bar again, I got a Five Points Pale Ale and my friend went to Bundobust to order the Pav Bhaji (£6) I didn’t have chance to get a photo of his meal because he shoved his mitts straight into the box as soon as it was handed to him, and he’d finished half of it by the time we got a seat again.  I managed to nick a bit though and I don’t blame him, the depth of flavour was something else, very warm and rich and spicy, with a really well-considered combination of spices.  I also tried a bit of his Bundo Chaat (£4) which was a nice, almost sweet accompaniment to the rich and spicy main, with fragrant cumin and tamarind, cool yoghurt and crisp layers of samosa pastry interspersing the chick peas.  Having treaded the boards of food pop-ups, Bundobust will soon have a home to call their own on Mill Hill, just behind Friends of Ham.

Shortly after this point I grabbed a slice of Silvio (£2, or £1 before 7pm) from Dough Boys and took a quick jaunt to town – having realised Valentines Day is approaching and I hadn’t made any of the necessary preparations.  I returned from Poundland to find Belgrave even busier than before, pitched up next to some more strangers, and ordered a Dirty Burger (£4.5 or £6 with chips) from Patty Smith’s.

Apologies for the crap photo – it was getting dark in there by this point – but you can see the type of burger you’re getting here: Shiny, dripping and compact with no gimmicks.  The patty is a generous size and the tangy chipotle mayo cuts through really nicely, if I had to offer any criticism, it would be that the lettuce (Little gem I think, which added an unneeded bitterness to the flavour of the burger) wasn’t shredded, so the juices from the burger and the tomato (also not needed, but that’s a matter of preference, not a dealbreaker) slid right off and got absorbed into the brioche bun, making it soggy and structurally unsound.  For £4.50 though it’s miles ahead of anything else in its price range, and for another £1.50 you get a big portion of hand-cut, skin-on, twice (thrice?)-cooked chips, which were extremely good.  Patty Smith’s has taken up residence in the far kitchen at Belgrave now, so go check them out.

While I was shoving all that into my gob, my friend had the Chilli Corn Chowder (£5) from Fish&, which was a huge portion, amusingly served in a hollowed out bread bowl.  This was also the case for the Brooklyn Lager Steamed Mussels (£4), which looked and smelt amazing, but I didn’t get chance to try.  In fact, I planned to come back on the Sunday and try offerings from the rest of the vendors, but being a genius I neglected to realise that the Street Feast was a one-day event, meaning I missed out on the amazing-looking Noisette Bakery too.  Hopefully they’ll be back at the next one on March 8th though, I will be.

What did you think to the Street Feast? Favourite pop-ups?  Who would you like to see there next time?  What’s the explanation behind Fu Schnickens name?! 

Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen on Urbanspoon

Trinity Kitchen Febuary Round-Up: Manjit’s, Yu Kyu & Original Fry Up Material


It would seem disingenuous to write an entire article explaining the concept of Trinity Kitchen, considering how firmly it’s established itself in the 4 months since it opened its roof and doors to food vans and customers, respectively.  It’s a big, industrial-looking, open-plan food court with a few permanent restaurants, and a rotating cavalcade of food vans which get replaced every month or so, allowing you to pick a different vendor for each course if you so choose; an infinitely customisable take on fusion cuisine.

The fleeting nature of these food vans makes Trinity Kitchen such an attractive prospect for return custom; the constraints of the human body means you can only eat so many meals per sitting (trust me, I’ve done extensive research), so you have two choices: Come back next week and try what you couldn’t make room for this time, or miss out FOREVER*.  
*or until they return by popular demand in a couple of months.

It’s also a food-bloggers wet dream to have five trendy new street-food vans on your doorstep every month, and this is where I come in.  I mentioned return custom earlier on, and this article is a combined account of two visits, both in the past week.

It’s admirable when a chef is so passionate about a dish that they dedicate their entire establishment to serving it.  And it’s especially admirable when they take that dish and put it inside a brioche bun, so Yu Kyu was a no-brainer first destination.  Katsu is a pretty simple dish; a fillet of chicken or pork, deep fried in panko breadcrumbs and usually served with sticky rice and a mild curry sauce.  It’s the kind of introductory Japanese food that your Dad feels safe ordering when you drag him to Wagamamas on your birthday, the sweet curry sauce comforting him while he sits incredulously on a bench next to a complete stranger who’s eating soup with a ladle.  You wouldn’t get this in a Harvester.

Being such a simple dish it’s hard to imagine anybody getting it wrong, but some charlatans manage.  I’ve eaten katsu curry before which, when broken down to the sum of its parts, has amounted to a big chicken nugget with chip shop curry sauce on top.  This obviously isn’t the case at Yu Kyu though.  The Pork Katsu Sandwich (£6) was great; the meat was tender without being greasy, the panko was obviously freshly cooked and really crispy, and the katsu sauce and shredded cabbage provided the twin dichotomy of sweet, sharp, soft and crunchy.  My main concern was that the sandwich might be a little stodgy when piled into a brioche, but I needn’t have worried; some of the sauce and juices were absorbed into the bun, but each element of the sandwich was easily distinguishable in flavour and texture.  Confident in the brioche as a suitable method of transferring katsu from my table to my gob, we tried the Chicken Katsu Curry Sandwich (£6.5), which handled the job similarly well, despite having a good dollop of katsu curry sauce to contend with as well.  

The only non-katsu item on the menu was the Glazed Sweet Potato Chips Mix (£3.5) which was a portion of sweet potato fries and regular fries, with what I think i identified as a soy sauce/brown sugar glaze, and topped with sesame seeds and spring onions.  The sweet potato chips were as ever, a pretty flimsy affair, but the regular fries were firm and crispy, and the glaze had a deeply satisfying, molasses-esque flavour to it.

Next up was Manjit’s Kitchen, by now a veteran of Trinity Kitchen having been invited back several times to serve up authentic, vegetarian Indian food.  Manjit’s is also the most frequently-photographed van on my Instagram feed, which is quite the accolade when you consider most of the people I follow are trendy food-snobs.  If I wasn’t cart-hopping then I could happily have ordered everything from the menu and had a small banquet, but I settled on the dish that I’d seen the most praise lavished upon; the Chilli Paneer Wrap (£6).  The wrap itself was compact but absolutely overflowing with fillings and flavours; the coriander and turmeric made it taste fragrant and robust, while the heat from the chilli gave it a kick, but wasn’t overpowering in the grand scheme of things.  Inside the roti – aside from the generous chunks of Paneer which I believe were cooked in a tandoor oven – was an indeterminable mix of pulses and lentils which made this a really substantial, satisfying eat.  Before we’d even finished the wrap, we were arranging how soon we could return Manjit’s and try the rest of the menu.

I’ve saved greasy-spoon-turned-burger-joint Original Fry Up Material until last to give me more chance to think of other puns on The Streets songs to pepper the paragraph with, but at the time of writing I’ve come up with absolutely nothing.  The OFM guys have come up the M1 to give Leeds a much needed taste of the dirty-burger war going on down in London.  Cooked right in front of you, the burgers start life as a sphere of meat and fat, pressed onto the griddle until just under an inch thick and medium rare, then served on a shiny glazed brioche.  We ate the Bacon Blue Burger (£7.5) which as you can probably imagine contained bacon and blue cheese, as well as the usual bed of shredded lettuce, cheese, and burger sauce.  The bacon was thick cut and well-cooked without being brittle, and the blue cheese was subtle; comparable to a sauce you’d get as an accompaniment to hot wings rather than the usual slab of unmelted roquefort that usually lies dormant in a blue-cheese burger.  

A lot of restaurants ignore the fundamentals of burgers – a good quality patty and an understanding of the mechanics of burger construction – and place misguided emphasis on gimmicks and unnecessary extras which make the actual burger element a distant memory until you uncover it in the inevitable knife and fork post-mortem because you can’t fit it in your mouth.  The fact that extras take a backseat in the mix of flavours here shows that OFM has a lot of confidence in their product, and so they should.  This is as good a burger as you’re likely to get in Leeds, don’t miss it!  Oh yeah, and Try the Fries, Mate.

Yu Kyu, Manjit’s Kitchen and Original Fry Up Material will be at Trinity Kitchen until February 23rd.  Which food vans would you like to see take up residence there in the future?