5 Favourite Lunch Hour Spots in Leeds

Ah, the lunch hour. The one hour of the working day when your boss can’t bother you, and you instead get to venture out into Leeds city centre to be bothered by all the other office workers escaping their bothersome bosses.

Seriously, I feel lucky to have a job that I enjoy, but sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day is not natural, so my lunch hour is sacred to me. Budget constraints mean that I bring lunch from home most of the time, but once or twice a week I like to leave the office and walk for my lunch. So where do I go?

Sesame

Sesame is one of my go-to ‘no frills’ places; if I originally wanted a simple homemade lunch but didn’t get out of bed in time to actually make it, this is where I go instead. I usually get one of their salad boxes, which feel super healthy and are great value – a £2.80 box allows you to pick 6 salad portions from a choice of bowls that feature fresh vegetables, rice, cous cous, pasta and beans, plus a cooked meat and a dollop of tzatziki or houmous. This box is dubbed ‘small’ but the staff are perfectly happy to stuff the box full to bursting, and it fills me up for the day! The cherry on top? In summer you can go straight over the road and eat it in Park Square.

Park Square, Leeds

Wasabi

I’ve never been a big fan of sushi, but I fell in love with bento boxes while travelling around Japan when I was 22. Wasabi, while unfortunately a suited yuppie central during weekday lunchtimes (6 individual pieces of sushi at £1.50 a pop – who are you, Bill Gates?!), actually does pretty decent Japanese food. The hot food counter tends to be both cheaper and more filling; my fave is Chicken Teriyaki for just under £5. I count this as my main meal of the day as I rarely eat dinner after demolishing one of these. In fact the ensuing food coma is a real problem when you’ve still got a whole afternoon of work to do.

Humpit

Got the giggles at the name out of the way? Good, then let’s begin. Humpit is almost purely vegan, featuring chiefly around (of course) hummus and pitta, with chickpeas, mushrooms, falafel and salsa chipping in to add further flavour. The menu isn’t big but it’s definitely beautiful – after tasting their homemade hummus you’ll never be able to stomach the supermarket stuff ever again, and the still lemonade is delicious. The staff are lovely and they enjoy a great location; the shop itself is small and has limited seating but there are plenty of additional tables ‘outside’ under the beautiful ceiling of the Corn Exchange.

Lunch at Humpit, Leeds

Wolf Street Food

Wolf has opened recently on St Paul’s Street in the financial district, a kind of Italian answer to Subway or Barburrito. Pick your ‘base’ – pasta, salad, wrap or focaccia bread – add meat, toppings and sauce, and you’ve got your meal. The formula is simple but leads to a very varied meal; I ordered a salad and ended up with a generous portion of tender pink steak, roasted peppers and 4 different vegetables on a bed of leaves. Not too shabby. I also feel it’s worth mentioning that they put spaghetti in their wraps – clearly these guys aren’t messing around.

Zaap Thai

Zaap isn’t an obvious choice for a quick lunch – unlike the other places on my list it’s not a cafe or a to-go place but a restaurant, where you usually have to write off an hour and a half to get through your meal. However Zaap is a restaurant in the loosest sense; it’s casual, cheap, and at lunchtime it’s usually quiet enough that you can order, eat and be back in the office in an hour. On an evening I tend to go for Thai curries, but at lunch it’s super fast to order several starters and have a tapas-style Thai buffet. Obviously this is a bit more pricey than a meal deal from Boots…but actually not as much more as you would expect.

Zaap Thai steamed buns

Fellow city centre workers! Where do you go to escape your computer and refuel?

Battle of the Burger at Canal Mills

On Saturday I trekked out to Canal Mills to take part in the meaty deliciousness that was Battle of the Burger! Over Friday and Saturday, six burger joints came together to fight it out for supreme burger champs, and they definitely brought their A game. Luckily the vendors were working to a £3 price point and producing mini burgers, so between us the boy and I managed to try five out of the six (yes, I was the wimp who threw the towel in after two). So who came out on top?

Battle of the Burger - Black Swan

The winner was announced earlier today, and it was Geordie visitor The Fat Hippo who came out on top after winning round 2 of the Newcastle leg back in July. I picked this as my second burger and I can attest that they fully deserved the title – the meat was tender, their signature Fat Hippo sauce is delicious, and it included a slice of chorizo which is always a winner in my book. Plus it came in a proper burger box with their cute little logo stamped on the inside of the lid!

Battle of the Burger Leeds - Fat Hippo

HOWEVER. My personal preference was for my first burger, courtesy of Sela Bar’s BoozyQ. Their offering was christened All The Beerburger and they weren’t kidding; somewhere along the line they managed to include Camden Pale, Beavertown Black Betty and two different kinds of stout. I’m not a beer fan at all, but like any reasonable person I was seduced by the promise of caramelised onions and candied bacon, and I wasn’t disappointed. What really sealed the deal for me was the brioche bun – it was so light and fluffy but kept the burger together really well, avoiding the the sorry, soggy end suffered by more mediocre buns.

Battle of the Burger - Black Swan sign

Admittedly I’d had an early start so I was pretty hangry by the time I arrived around 5pm, which could have swayed my judgement, but BoozyQ was my winner. Unfortunately my attack of the hangries also meant I’d devoured most of the burger before it even occurred to me to get a photo. Big sadface, but here’s a picture of The Old Yorkshire Pit’s offering instead!

Battle of the Burger - The Yorkshire Pit

Were you at Battle of the Burger? Who was your winner?

5 Dull Chains and the Independents That Do It Better

Ever wander around a new city and get a vague sense of deja-vu? Everywhere you look things are the same, but slightly different, and you start to question whether you’ve been here before. Suddenly your gaze rests on a Starbucks, and you realise that your mind isn’t playing tricks on you, you’ve just seen this Starbucks a thousand times in a thousand different places.

Leeds is no different. In city centre alone, I believe we currently have 7 Starbucks, 6 Costa Coffee, 5 Subway and 3 each of McDonald’s and Nando’s. Those are some big numbers for a city so compact you’re rarely more than 15 minutes’ walk away from anything else. Luckily, the independents are fighting back, and despite being the underdog, they’ve got a lot on their side. Apart from having a spark of originality and staff who tend to have a genuine passion for what they’re doing, the product is higher quality, locally-sourced, and despite all this – wait for it – you often pay less money for all this indie delicious-ness.

Convinced that you should break up with your favourite chain immediately? Good. Now find out where you can go to ease the pain – I promise it won’t just be a one night stand…

Costa Coffee La Bottega Milanese

“You know what I could really go for? A bland cup of foam and a pre-packaged panini”… said nobody, ever. Enter La Bottega Milanese, blending the best of Milan and Yorkshire to create great coffee, fresh paninis and beautiful Italian desserts. Their method clearly works; they occupy a premium spot in The Light and last year opened their second location at Bond Court (where the staff can often be found using their chalkboard to direct playful insults at the Costa Coffee next door). The decor is a refreshing change from average Leeds coffee shop, and the cherry on top? Their Leeds Light location is open as late as 9pm.

La Bottega Milanese coffee, Leeds

Subway Brod

Amid claims of overly-salted bread, questionable additives and calorie counts to rival McDonald’s, I’ve never been a huge Subway fan. Anywhere that has to produce a synthetic smell and pump it out of every store is pretty suspicious in my book. Brod, on the other hand, is a lunchtime favourite that I seem to share with half of Leeds’ workforce – I don’t think I’ve ever seen the place without a queue out the door. Despite this, everyone gets served within 5 minutes and the sandwiches are amazing. Prices range from around £2.50-£3.50, and don’t forget to pick up a brownie.

Byron Burger Patty Smith’s

Byron has so many branches now and always seems to be full…am I ust missing something? I’m not saying i was terrible, but having been once I found their burgers to be a bit cold, exceedingly average, and not worth a second visit. Plus they are PRICEY – get yourself to Patty Smith’s at the Belgrave instead and you can get a Dirty Burger for a fiver, and add chips for £1.50. The brioche buns are Yorkshire-bred (pun intended), the patties are made on site, and the burger name is so appropriate. You’ll know what I mean when you try it.

Patty Smith's Dirty Burger

La Tasca Viva Cuba

La Tasca seem to do a hell of a lot of offers – 2 for 1s and the like – but they really should for the price of their dishes and mediocrity of the food. La Tasca has a lot of competition from independents tapas places in Leeds; Ambiente and Sandinista are fab, and there are several others on my to-visit list including Bilbao and Pintura. However there’ll always be a special place in my heart for Viva Cuba. Yes it looks like a dive from the outside, but inside is delicious food, colourful Cuban decor and sangria that goes down like fruit juice.

Pizza Express Ecco Pizzeria

I’m going to be totally honest here – I don’t completely totally hate Pizza Express. Occasionally I’ll pick up a decent discount voucher and head along for a pizza that’s actually quite tasty, but when eating at the Headingley branch I’m always haunted by the fact that Ecco is just down the street. They use a wood-fired oven and are dedicated to the authenticity of their Neapolitan pizzas, going so far as to import all the key ingredients from Naples. There are so many original toppings to choose from it always takes me a good 15 minutes to choose one, but I never dither over a scoop of homemade gelato for dessert.

Pizza at Ecco Pizzeria, Leeds

So guys, what chain have you sacked off for a better and brighter independent?

Review: Love Rouge Bakery, Headingley

If you live in Headingley and have a weakness for cake, you’re probably familiar with Love Rouge Bakery. If you’re struggling to place the name, it’s the almost painfully adorable cafe tucked away next to Dare, with a fabulous vintage interior and a random musing about cupcakes chalked on a board outside. You’ll have walked past it a million times, and possibly drooled on their window upon catching sight of the cakes.

Cupcakes at Love Rouge Bakery, Headingley

You may not have guessed this yet but I’m a big fan of the cupcakes from Love Rouge; there are so many different flavours and they always look so beautiful! Chocolate & peanut butter is one of my favourites; I’m of the personal opinion that everything is a little bit better with a schmear of peanut butter on it. What I didn’t know is that they also do a pretty awesome breakfast menu, which was revealed to me a few weekends ago when I went for a girly catch up with a few friends.

Love Rouge Bakery, HeadingleyLove Rouge Bakery, Headingley

I put in my usual coffee order of a latte; I’ve only recently started drinking coffee and still need a lot of milk to make it taste good to me. I’m also more than a little seduced by late art and Love Rouge are fantastic at it – on this occasion I got an expertly drawn rose on top of my froth! Also note the incredibly cute cup and saucer…

Latte at Love Rouge Bakery

We gazed longingly at the cakes in the counter as we queued up to order, but all reluctantly agreed that 10am was a pretty unacceptable time to eat cupcakes. Instead I went for American-style pancakes – a short stack of thick, fluffy pancakes topped with crispy bacon and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. I’m fairly convinced they contained my recommended calorie intake for the whole day, but I have absolutely no regrets; they were delicious. I only wish they looked more appealing through my camera lens – my friend’s Eggs Benedict was a lot more photogenic…

Pancake breakfast at Love Rouge Bakery, Headingley

I love going out for breakfast and Love Rouge has definitely been added to the list of go-to options. All that’s left for me to do is drop by to test out the lunch menu, probably with a cupcake for dessert…

Hotel Chocolat’s Summer Party

On Tuesday night I attended Hotel Chocolat’s summer party at their Roast & Conch Restaurant in Leeds. The event was held to promote the restaurant’s new summer menu, as well as showcasing some of their cocktails and new stock, and in exchange for my £15 ticket I was plied all night with cocktails, canapés and delicious chocolates. However I couldn’t help but feel that the night fell somewhat short…

Chocolate display, Hotel Chocolat Summer Party

I arrived with my friend just after 6pm, and we were greeted by a member of staff who took our tickets and directed us into the cafe where cocktails were lined up on the bar. We had the choice of a praline martini-type tipple called a praline soother, or a summery rum punch. After a lot of deliberation I chose the soother, which was deliciously cream without being too rich.

Praline Soother, Hotel Chocolat Summer PartyPraline Soother, Hotel Chocolat Summer Party

As we sipped our drinks we started to wander around the cafe. One table had a range of dishes from their menu laid out for show which was interesting; I never even knew that Roast & Conch did brunch! They all looked delicious but annoyingly none of them had labels to show what they were. I was perked up, however, by a delicious carrot cake chocolate!

Food display, Hotel Chocolat Summer PartyFod display, Hotel Chocolat Summer Party

By the time we’d finished our cocktails, taken the necessary selfies and browsed the food display, it was nearing 7pm. This was where our issues started. Aside from being handed a few tasters by waiters bearing platters, no staff had come round to chat to us or let us know what was going to happen throughout the night, and truth be told we felt a little lost. We wandered upstairs, but were only met by more guests and food that, however beautiful it looked, we couldn’t eat. My one solace was a slice of salted caramel brownie, that I will definitely be sneaking back to the cafe for fairly soon. Probably more than once.

Desserts at Hotel Chocolat Summer Party Desserts at Hotel Chocolat Summer Party

We floated around for a while longer, had a few more free drinks and some chocolate samples, but ultimately left around 8pm. When my friend heard about the event from a sales assistant at the store she was given the impression that there were going to be lots of things going on, but after two hours we had eaten all the chocolate we could stomach and were, to be honest, a little bored. Speaking of freebies though, we did get a pretty beautiful goodie bag, featuring a chocolate lolly, delicious fruit bombes, and some mojito chocolates with more of a kick than your average cocktail.

Hotel Chocolat Summer Party goodie bag Hotel Chocolat Summer Party goodie bag

As someone who currently spends a large portion of her working week planning events, I felt frustrated because I felt like the organisers had missed so many opportunities to make the evening into more than just a night of free food and drink. There could have been chocolate-making demonstrations, cocktail masterclasses, food and wine pairing workshops, chefs talking guests through the dishes on display…but instead it was just your standard night at a bar, with more free stuff. A lovely night, but at £15 a ticket I felt short-changed. Thanks for the freebies Hotel Chocolat, but next year let’s see some fireworks!

Review: Gusto, Leeds

Last week I managed to score a great deal; my colleagues and I were offered the chance to go to the new Gusto restaurant on Greek Street for the soft launch and enjoy all the food we wanted…absolutely free! Of course we would have been mad to turn this down, so we booked our table and headed town for what would become a very, very long lunch.

We had to pay for our own drinks, but as we were getting an entire meal free of charge we didn’t mind splashing out on some rosé prosecco to kick us off. At £25 a bottle between three of us it doesn’t break the bank, and also meant we didn’t go back to work sloshed for the afternoon.

Prosecco at Gusto, Leeds

We were seated quickly and our waitress immediately arrived with menus to run us through the specials. It was a busy lunchtime and some of the starters had already run out when we arrived at 1.30, but luckily nothing I wanted to order. We were offered some nibbles while we looked at the menu which we accepted, and a server brought over focaccia bread with oil and balsamic vinegar, olives and sun dried tomatoes. The tomatoes were a little bland and could have benefited from a drizzle of olive oil, but the focaccia was delicious – my ongoing struggle to not fill up on bread before a big meal continues!

Focaccia at Gusto, LeedsAntipasti at Gusto, Leeds

I ordered tomato and basil bruschetta to start, followed by a medium rare fillet steak with roasted tomatoes and fries. The bruschetta topping was gorgeous, the fresh tomato soaked in oil (if you hadn’t already realised, yes I am a bit obsessed with olive oil), but the bread base was quite hard and brittle. It would possibly have been easier to eat if I’d abandoned my cutlery, but Gusto doesn’t really feel like a finger-food kind of place…

My steak was pretty delicious, chargrilled on the outside but the perfect ‘rare side of medium rare’ on the inside, and flavoured with a splash of garlic butter. However I would comment that there are plenty of better places to get a good steak in Leeds, and if I came back to Gusto I’d probably go with a pasta dish and save my money for a specialist steak restaurant.

Steak at Gusto, Leeds

We were all pretty full by this point but the dessert menu was a strong list, tempting most of my table. I caved to peer pressure and decided on a chocolate and coffee mousse, but when I came to order I found it was sold out. I was initially disappointed, but when my second choice – a strawberry and passionfruit mess – arrived, I found myself thanking my lucky stars for all the people who had scoffed the mousses. The mess was perfect; flaky meringue filled with a light, fluffy cream and drizzled with fresh strawberries and passionfruit. Its flawless presentation was just the cherry on top.

Strawberry and passionfruit mess, Gusto Leeds

Gusto definitely has its work cut out; I had a good meal and the suburban branch in Cookridge does well, but it will be interesting to see how it fares in the more competitive environment of city centre. It’s a tough scene – stalwarts Bibis and Salvo’s (Headingley) have been dominating the Leeds Italian scene for years, while newer independents such as LIVIN’italy and Ipsum Vinoteca are enjoying brilliant success. Chains have their place in any city, but with Zizzi, Carluccio’s and San Carlo already at home here, Gusto may struggle to distinguish itself from the crowd. Welcome to Leeds Gusto, hope you can handle it!

Review: Rare, Leeds

Saturday night was a bit of a departure from the norm for me. I love eating out but generally prefer street food or casual bar settings to the ceremony of formal restaurants, so I was almost surprised to find myself dressed in an LBP (little black playsuit) and heels, rocking up at upscale steak restaurant Rare to claim my booking. It probably goes without saying that I’m normally a ‘show up and hope there’s room’ kind of girl…

I’ve had my eye on Rare for a while but have kept postponing a visit, in large part due to a wish for it to be an occasion and in small part due to fear that it might not measure up to expectations. I have a love/hate relationship with steak whereby if it’s perfectly cooked it’s one of my favourite things in the world, but if even slightly overdone I find it tasteless and dull and have zero interest in even eating it. A big risk to take when steak is the priciest thing on most menus.

Rare Leeds-wine

Before we took our seats we were introduced to the steak board, a huge chalk board detailing the special cuts available. The hostess talked us through each cut really well, and throughout the night I found all the staff to be helpful and knowledgeable about the menu. Rare has clearly invested a lot of effort in the level of service they provide; our waitress was friendly and attentive without being overbearing, and our food was served promptly with just the right break between courses.

For my starter I chose the Tamworth pork belly ribs, and honestly I think this might have been the highlight of my meal. The meat was so tender it practically fell off the bone, and the sweet sauce was perfectly offset by the red cabbage and beetroot pickle that accompanied it. My friend went for the black pudding hash brown, and though he said it was delicious I’m pretty sure he was jealous of my ribs. Needless to say I was unwilling to give away more than a mouthful…

Rare Leeds-pork belly ribs

Next came the main event. My friend opted for the 450g porterhouse from the steak board, while I went for the more reasonably-sized 300g rump steak on the standard menu. I needn’t have worried about the quality; the waitress listened indulgently as I detailed my wish for a steak that was ‘the rare side of medium rare’ and I got exactly what I asked for. Browned and slightly crispy on the outside but pink all the way through the middle, the meat sliced easily and was juicy, tender and full of flavour.

Rare Leeds-rump steakRare Leeds-porterhouse steak

We accompanied our steaks with a side of chips and an avocado, papaya and mango salad. The chips were delicious but it was the salad that I really fell for; I struggle with meat-dominated meals so a side salad is essential, and the fruit provided a refreshing respite from my steak. Unfortunately my meal got the best of me and I had to call it a night with just a few mouthfuls to go; I laid down my knife and fork cursing my tiny stomach.

Rare Leeds-avocado salad

I had worried that I’d be unnerved by the stuffed cow occupying the centre of the restaurant, but I loved the understated décor, exposed brick and candlelit ambience of the basement space (although my friend, who got the seat facing the cow, did comment that it was looking at him). Our two starters, two mains and two sides plus a pot of peppercorn sauce and a beautiful bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon brought the bill to around £100; not the kind of expenditure you’d want every week but one I was happy to pay as a one-off for the quality of food and experience we had. My bank account won’t allow me to return any time soon, but my first visit definitely won’t be my last.

Yorkshire Post Food and Drink Show 2015

Today marks the end of the fantastic Leeds Food Month, and I said goodbye to it in fitting style at the Yorkshire Post Food and Drink Show, visiting twice over the weekend to make sure I got a bite of everything I wanted! I started on Friday, heading over just 90 minutes after it had opened (along with half my colleagues) to treat myself to lunch in the sunshine away from my stuffy office.

After a circuit and a half of the stalls and a lot of dithering, it was pointed out to me that half my lunch hour was already gone and if I didn’t choose soon I’d be going back to the office empty-stomached. I followed my heart to Thai Edge and enjoyed a delicious helping of duck with cashew nuts for just £4.50, topped up with a few free samples of chicken satay while I was waiting in the queue!

Yorshire Post Food and Drink Show - Thai Edge

Conscious that Friday sugar cravings were sure to kick in at some point during the afternoon, I went back for dessert, making a beeline for Northern Bloc for a scoop of ginger caramel ice cream. I also dropped by Tarte & Berry, a Yorkshire-based team of sisters pedalling some of the best brownies I’ve ever tasted – I split a salted caramel and a white chocolate + raspberry with one of my workmates and they were so rich it took me most of the afternoon to get through them. Rumour has it they’re living in Trinity Kitchen during June and July and I doubt I’ll be able to keep myself away!

Yorkshire Post Food and Drink Show - Tarte & Berry

The necessity to conform to the rules of professionalism kept me away from the drinks tents, so when Sunday arrived in sun-soaked glory I knew a second visit was in order. Arriving around 4pm having skipped lunch I had a serious case of the munchies, and opted for a fruity hot dog from the Yorkshire Hot Dog Company; pork sausage topped with a chunky apple and cranberry garnish. My friend opted for a box of starter goodies from Chaophraya – tempura prawns and vegetable spring rolls!

Yorkshire Post Food and Drink Show - Yorkshire Hot Dog CoYorkshire Post Food and Drink Show - Chaophraya

Stomachs lined and craving gin, we were drawn to The Maven’s beautiful Hendrick’s-themed Gin Garden, complete with fake grass and rose-bordered entrance gate. My friend stuck with the classic G&T, while I was distracted by an Elderflower Collins that turned out to be the perfect choice.

Yorkshire Post Food and Drink Show - The Maven Gin Garden

This month has made me so proud to be a Loiner – there’s been a lot of debate recently about the quality of Leeds’ food scene and whether it will ever measure up to London, and I think Leeds Food and Drink Festival coupled with newcomer Leeds Indie Food have shown that there is indeed life outside the capital. Cheers, guys!

Eating Art at the Great Edible Art Show

Leeds Indie Food has been a blast, but there were few events I was looking forward to as much as the Great Edible Art Show at The Gallery at Munro House. As soon as I saw the event listing I knew I had to be there – famous works of contemporary art recreated in cake, biscuit and icing by the Tattooed Bakers for our viewing pleasure and then offered up for our eating pleasure; what could be better? I don’t pretend to be any kind of art expert, but in a world where even touching artwork is generally frowned upon if not forbidden, this was clearly something special.

Tutti Frutti at The Gallery

I got off to a bad start when the first eating event, Feed Me Art, sold out ridiculously fast and I missed out on a ticket – a regular occurrence in my life due to a dangerous mix of an unwillingness to commit and just general forgetfulness. You can’t even imagine my relief when I found out the organisers had decided to respond to the event’s obvious popularity by expanding the evening into two separate sessions, allowing twice the people to come and stuff their face with cakey goodness. I immediately bought a ticket to the later session, The Second Slice, and started mentally saving room in my belly…

Edible Art Show menu

Aware that the artworks would be half-eaten by the time I arrived, I ran down to The Gallery on my lunch hour to check out the pieces in all their untouched glory. The line-up was impressive, featuring some of the most well-known pieces from the world of contemporary art. Damien Hirst’s ‘Away From The Flock’ was the most attention-grabbing piece in the room, a real sheep corpse preserved in formaldehyde that had been recreated as a rainbow sponge cake covered in white icing.

Nud Cycladic 14 at Edible Art Show

Sharing the room were Sarah Lucas’ ‘Nud Cycladic 14’ as a vegan lemon sponge cake and Tracey Ermin’s applique blanket ‘No Chance’ reimagined as a huge slab of shortcake with the piece’s patchwork of colours and quotes copied in colourful icing. Grayson Perry’s ‘Mr S*** Sex’ was my personal highlight, an intricately decorated vase made from chocolate and prune fruitcake and covered in printed rice paper. This was my favourite piece just for the detail of the vase; I’d already seen the original and the cake version matched up almost perfectly.

No Chance at Edible Art Show

I headed back to work wondering if the taste of the cakes would match up to the impressive appearances, and I was not disappointed. On arriving at the Gallery in the evening I accepted my free glass of punch and headed straight for ‘Away From The Flock’, which looked even better now that it had been sliced open to reveal the brightly coloured sponge cake on the inside. The cake was served with a side of raspberry jelly, and I felt like I was revisiting my childhood as I tucked in, feeling the E numbers coursing through me even as I swallowed.

Away From The Flock at Edible Art Show

The cake was delicious but super sweet, and even after just one slice I was already aware I’d probably only be able to handle one more. I had to choose carefully. After some back and forth I went for ‘Nud Cycladic 14’, a lemon sponge cake with lemon buttercream. I was more than happy with my choice, although I had to fight the impulse to get some chocolate fruitcake to take away!

Mr S*** Sex at Edible Art Show

The Edible Art Show was originally conceived as a way to promote the real British Art Show being held in Leeds later this year, but I believe the success of Feed Me Art has gone beyond that. I think events like this are invaluable in drawing new enthusiasts to the art world; an art novice myself, I was nonetheless attracted to this event by the novelty value of it and as a result gained tons of new knowledge about a subject that I was previously hazy on at best. It is fun, sociable events like this that make a sometimes intimidating subject accessible, and ensure that our art galleries and museums will be full for generations to come.

Review: Bundobust, Leeds

Bundobust is easily one of my favourite bars in Leeds; the atmosphere is great, the drink selection vast, and there’s a remarkable variation in clientele that makes it impossible for anyone to feel out of place. But for all my visits I’ve only ever snacked on the odd dish here and there; it was only recently that I went for a proper meal and got to sample a decent portion of the menu. The vegetarian aspect has always been a problem; I have no issue eating veggie but on several occasions I’ve met resistance from stubbornly carnivorous dining partners. Just a few weeks ago I took a friend along who, upon realising the menu was meat-free, glared at me as if I had committed an act of great treachery, finished his beer and announced we were going for burgers.

Bundobust Leeds curry

Last weekend I had a dinner date with my parents, and after singing Bundobust’s praises for weeks finally convinced them to give it a try with me. It was busy when we arrived but as we got our drinks a table became available and we swooped in, claiming it stubbornly with our beers. I’m not a huge fan of beer (the most I can generally stand is a light European lager) but Bundobust do a beautiful mango beer that I’m a little in love with, plus the glasses are super cute!

Bundobust egg bhurji

We weren’t in the mood for an absolute feast so we ordered five dishes between three of us, opting for veg rice stir fry, onion bhajis, Bundo chaat, egg bhurji and dhal lentil curry. I felt pretty god about our choices; the dhal, while not the most appetising of colours, turned out to be spicier than I expected and packed a real punch, while the onion bhajis came with a gorgeous red pepper chutney that I scraped eagerly out of the bottom of the tub.

Bundobust onion bhaji

Our rice dish was packed with fresh vegetables that kept it from being bland, and the bhurji was a real surprise; I generally can’t stand egg in any form but somehow this didn’t taste or feel anything like egg. The texture was light and fluffy, and it came with a side of flatbread to make tiny egg sandwiches (it also came in handy mopping up the bhaji chutney)! My only regret was not ordering a second batch of chaat – it’s my go-to snack and favourite thing on the menu, and it soon became apparent that it was everybody else’s favourite too.

Bundobust Bundo chaat

Despite originally worrying we hadn’t ordered enough, I felt unexpectedly full by the time we’d finished, which was slightly disappointing as I’m intrigued to try the Indian ice cream dessert. However if you’re feeling particularly hungry I’d err on the side of caution and order at least two per person; there’s a good chance you’ll end up with more just through the sheer impossibility of being able to choose what to have. There’s still about half the menu I haven’t tasted yet; I’ll soon be returning to rectify that…