Local Leeds

Spring Tapas Menu @ Iberica Leeds

Posted on 5 min read

I think it’s safe to say spring has definitely sprung. With all these warm spells gracing our existence it actually feels more like summer arrived as soon as the clocks went forward, but if that means we get to enjoy more sunshine than our usual two days then who am I to complain?

As it happens, it was a beautiful, bright, and blissful day when I headed into town for my evening reservation with Iberica; the atmosphere feeling more like a night abroad – the humid air, choir of chants and laughs, and the whiff of food drifting making me all the more excited to get tucked into our treats. I’ve visited the plush restaurant before and absolutely loved every part – from the ornate interior, to the authentic feel, and the unusual yet delicious dishes that tempted my taste-buds to jump out of their comfort zone. This time, however, it had a more personal touch, as I experienced a proper dinner date with one of my best girls.

Amazing company, super attentive service, a platter of yummy tomato bread and Spanish meats to kickstart our feast, a palatable bottle of Castillo Perelada Rosé Reserva NV that I actually enjoyed (I’m admittedly not the biggest wine lover), and possibly overly deep conversations to be having in public once the bottle was empty and the tipsiness was flowing!

What more could I have asked for?

We were able to pick any six tapas dishes to showcase the seasonal stars on their newly launched spring menu, followed by any desserts and coffees of our choice, and my belly was just as pleased as the content smile spread on my face. The smile soon turned to concentration upon deciding which courses to go for! We were pondering for a good 15 minutes as there were so many inviting concoctions that had my mouth watering just by reading the title, but eventually we settled on an assorted variety of meats, salads, and typical carby sides.

First up we opted for a firm favourite of mine and the signature dish, Croquetas. I raved about the crispy potato and ham goodness right away and thankfully Hannah trusted my verdict (and of course I was proved right so it was 1-0 me).

Secondly we went for the Warm Lentil Salad as a lighter dish that contrasted the rest of the piping hot and heavy dishes with the refreshing mix of textures; soft cooked egg and those healthy greens.

Thirdly, we went for Spring Vegetables, once again to balance the options out. The cauliflower, carrots, asparagus and tomatoes came with a topping of melted cheese which gave it that extra tasty tang, and they were sauteed just right – not too soft nor hard and with that firm, fried zest.

Fourthly, we simply savoured the Chorizo, thick cut, cooked in cider and topped with chickpeas. The rich sauce really gave it that punchy flavour and added to the smokiness of the meat. Chorizo is my absolute number one garnish – throw it on kebab skewers, in a chicken dish, with a shit load of cheese, and you have a winner. But it turns out it works just as well on its own!

Fifthly, was the Crispy Chicken, small pieces of confit thigh with romesco sauce and hazelnuts. These were finger-licking good – quite literally. Just the right amount of soft, melt in the mouth, meat with a crisp, chargrilled edge and a succulent base sauce. Hazelnuts are another beloved topping of mine so I much appreciated this added touch!

We definitely saved the best till last with the Albondigas. I’m not usually a meatball kind of girl but these – wow – these were out of this world. The mini potatoes and distinctive Vizcaina sauce blended within certainly upped the vibrancy but it was the quality of the meat that had me mumbling inhumane noises. You could instantly detect the tenderness and it had such a juicy, pungent taste – I was actually sad when it came to an end but Hannah kindly let me have the last one. True friendship.

A post shared by Bridie (@bridiemia) on

The dishes all arrived separately straight from the kitchen as soon as they were cooked to perfection which meant I wasn’t able to snap the complete polished foodie flatlay I desired, but it was worth the loss with being able to enjoy and relish in the from-the-oven-freshness. I loved every single dish and the recipes really complimented the summer vibe (and I’m sure if we’d gone for others I’d say the exact same) but there were a couple that stood out! If there was a most delectable dish award, the chicken and the meatballs would be a definite tie!

I really underestimate tapas. As the plates arrive in small bits and bobs you tend to set the mindset that it won’t be enough to fulfil your appetite but every single time I end up full to the brim. I don’t think you’d even need as many as six to satisfy your stomach which makes the menu not only diverse but also great value.

There’s always enough room for dessert, however! Even if I have to sit back and unbutton my trousers, my eyes widen with the mention of afters. My sweet tooth was gagging for the Churros with melted chocolate sauce and they really didn’t disappoint – the portion was really generous and the gloriously warm, spongy, doughnut consistency was a pastry lovers dream. Han went for the Caramelised Rice Pudding and by the sensual reaction I’m guessing she very much relished in it. She said it was the best rice pudding she’s ever had in her lifetime and as she passed some over to me – as a non rice pudding expert – I can claim the sweetness was absolutely amazing.

Thank you so much to Jeanne for inviting me down to try out the menu! I had such a wonderful, relaxed evening to match the summery feel outdoors. Soaking up the luxury decor, spacious setting, and of course the most Instagramable toilets in Leeds – it was a fitting ending to a lovely day, and just what we both needed. I’ll definitely be back to make the most of these hot days!

Have you been lucky enough to experience the tapas at Iberica?

p.s. my stomach was rumbling just editing these photos, that’s when you know the food was faultless!

Share

A Three Course Secret Supper, Bar & Kitchen @LS1

Posted on 7 min read

A couple of months back I wrote about my visit to the Crowne Plaza in my Self Care post – raving about my super soothing spa experience and my appetising afternoon tea delight at the new and improved Bar & Kitchen @LS1 within the hotel. Fast forward a few weeks and, coincidentally, another email arrives in my inbox inviting me back along for a taste of the full package as part of their special secret supper event. One to one guidance and a chat from the renowned in-house head chef Lee Miller, an exclusive sneak peek at the brand new spring menu, and copious amounts of stupendously cooked cuisine straight from Yorkshire’s finest – it was set out to be a gratifying evening all round!

You know they say you notice the intricate details of something or someone on a second investigation? Well that’s exactly what happened with me strolling back into the restaurant tucked away at the corner of the lobby. The second time round I was really able to appreciate the cosy, homely essence of the place; especially at the time of day when the (lack of) sun was about to set and dusk was close by.

The hidden gem isn’t what you usually expect of a hotel – both in modern Scandi inspired setting and delectable food quality – and that’s what makes it so unique. With its laid back, relaxing feel, and interjection of a vast touch of local trade, it steps away from fine dining whilst still bringing in that passion and flare.

Greeted with a glass of prosecco and some fruit mixers upon a marble table, artsy decor, carefully laid tables, swinging chandeliers, and a host of hospitality top dogs, press, prs, and some other lovely Leeds bloggers for chatty, cordial, and welcoming company, any anxieties that I have about attending events alone had vanished in just a few seconds!

To get us started and warmed up before the big extravaganza from the main man behind the delicious dishes as he slaved away attentively in the kitchen, we were delivered a simple platter of tear and share Yorkshire puddings, rarebit, and marrowbone gravy for dipping which was renowned Liquid Gold by a fellow full time blogger Nadine on her first foodie visit (and she was more than right, fyi! I told you the company was grand), so that was of course an instant winner in the eyes of the self proclaimed Yorkshire pud enthusiast; aka me.

After some further musing around as we devoured our appetiser, it was time to gather together and sit down ready for the three course I was more than ready for (note to self: drinking on a fairly empty stomach in post gig recovery after a long day travelling to and fro Manchester isn’t always a swimmingly good idea, swimming being the main word here). I was seated with a bunch of friendly folk, including two staff members who were so affable, so easy to talk to, and genuinely interested in our thoughts, opinions, ideas, and any constructive criticism – it made the experience even more real and authentic.

Lee was just as warm and accommodating, although I was informed he is the feisty kind when he wants to be. I guess fantastic food comes at a price and that price is a streak of bossiness and extreme determination!

Himself and Stephen Hornsby, the general manager at Crowne Plaza, introduced us to the tasting night, telling us what we should expect, what the hard working team behind this newly refurbished and improved space stand for, and talked us through the spring dishes they’re ready to introduce widely.

I was instantly inspired by Lee and the way he spoke about his passion and his career, so much so that for the first time at a food event I took some notes down on my phone. You could really feel the enthusiasm and the zest that radiated from him as he took us on his journey to becoming a chef and what trademark he believes in bringing to a place he’s called home for 10 years.

Lee built his way up as a chef, beginning with an NVQ, a movement of work experience in different places, and now he holds a licence of 22 years in the making which makes him a man of knowledge and expert skills!

What stood out for me, personally, was the established creations he metaphorically and literally transports to the table. He is all about partnering with local Yorkshire produce; on the farms, in the suppliers trade, and even as nearby as down the road. His cheeses are sourced in Wakefield, and some even include the famous cheese served to the queen once upon a time!

The entire arrangement of carefully fabricated dishes are freshly prepared with the Yorkshire flair in mind and developed to match his own penchant for homely dishes. Using the finest ingredients from the local commerce, the menus are synonymous with the region, they incorporate some of the country’s favourite comfort food, bursting with flavours and taste and most important, a contemporary Yorkshire twist! Having this exclusively in their arsenal maintains a distinctive approach they can be proud of!

Something that caught my attention was the mention of how Lee bakes bread. Bread is my absolute weakness but I have to be careful what kind I eat as bloating and aggravation of IBS symptoms is often very common with my doughy indulgence. However, Lee spoke about bringing it back to basics, excluding e-numbers and minimising intolerance with his choices, and he was so on point with what he was saying. The wholesome warm roll straight from the oven wasn’t only just the most deliciously soft and mouth watering roll I’ve ever tasted, it also didn’t give me that horrible aftermath feeling and that in itself gets mega bonus points.

With our gold menu with the option of starter, main, and dessert, I felt like a queen myself as I rolled it out in front of me contemplating on what to go for. In the end I opted for the Yorkshire Charcuterie Board (which we all found out was a bit of a tongue twister to say), the 6 Hour Braised Beef Cheeks, and the Rhubarb and Strawberry Bakewell Tart with ice cream on the side – all absolutely cooked to perfection and probably the best three course meal I’ve had in years.

The board had a selection of cured meats; chorizo, salami, and air-dried royal ham, along with home marinated vegetables and the most pungent house Henderson relish which was gorgeous. I cleared my plate in the shortest amount of time and I couldn’t even stop myself, that’s how good it was. As a fussy meat eater, it’s a testament to the chef – it’s made me want to delve further into the chilled meat section of supermarkets, but I doubt any will live up to the impeccably presented platter.

The main was strips of beef on top of a ball of creamy colcannon mash potato and buried pockets of vegetables covered in Leeds’ very own brewery ale gravy. There’s only one word: scrumptious! The slow cooked meat was so succulent you didn’t even have to chew it, it just fell off the fork and melted in the month. The rich, relishing flavours oozed through with the combination of components and it really did just feel as though as I was back home savouring a traditional Sunday dinner made by the family cooking I adore.

As much as I didn’t want it to end, it had to sometime, and the rhubarb and strawberry bakewell tart was the optimal finisher to a worthy menu basking in the British! You could tell it was homemade straight away. You know when you’ve baked and the stench wafts through the house and then you bite into the spongy pastry and a rush of sweet heaven rushes through you? That’s exactly how it felt tucking into the slice that was crusty around the edges and soft in the middle. It was just the right amount of tangy and catered to my mega sweet tooth!

The attention to detail and care that takes place in the Bar & Kitchen @LS1 is obvious, and once again it was painted to us during the final stage of the night (handed over with the cutest box containing two miniature desserts to try for ourselves… culinary genius and generosity!).

Lee came back out to get the verdict and nothing but positive approval was fed back to him. He said the experience of the night helped him and his team during the constant learning curve and expression of the kitchen and that it put in that curveball helped them understand and develop, to be able to play with real foods and cater accordingly to society.

With so much visible passion and time behind the food, the connection that Lee strives for is instinctively formed. Portions that are just enough to leave you comfortably content, and the simply sharp recipes, are five stars all round. The entirety of the food is totally seamless and not overpowering in the slightest; completely different to most of the naff and bland hotel food I’ve had in the past.

Bar & Kitchen is in a league of its own and although it’s not amongst the major central restaurants, it definitely has the same (if not more) power and promise. Trust me when I say it’s not to be overlooked and overshadowed just because it’s centred within a hotel!

There’s a constant theme running through Lee’s ethic and that’s customers enjoy what they believe in. The intimate community he aims to create is what food is about – getting people together and just purely enjoying it.

And that we did.

Thanks so much to Sam for inviting me, I had a whale of a time and was honoured to be part of an important bunch. I’ll definitely be back, I’ve already raved to my family about how we need to treat ourselves to a trip sooner rather than later!

Share

Dining Experience @ Lost and Found, Leeds Club

Posted on 4 min read

A few weeks back now (Galentines Day to be exact) I had the pleasure of spending my Tuesday evening in the company of three of my favourite ladies and the newest sumptuous joint in Leeds. The Lost & Found already has a site on Greek Street but now they’ve unveiled another free spirited professor in the iconic Leeds Club building on Albion Place (aka my ultimate spot for charming, traditional buildings that are not only picturesque but provide some of the best food and drink names in town!)

I was lucky enough to attend their soft launch event before they officially opened to the public on the 16th Feb… and oh how lucky I felt. Walking in there felt like stepping foot in an enchanting whimsical world of mixology, seasonal cuisine, and a bloggers’ dream, with its high ceilings, flowered, woodland trimmings, winding staircase, marble top tables, and extensive cocktail collection.

It’s such a beautiful restaurant, the kind of place that gives you a relaxed, cosy feel twinned with authentic class where you can’t help but feel a lot more high and mighty than you would at home on your sofa with your feet propped up and beans on toast on the menu. With two main rooms; the lavish bar downstairs set into separate areas, and the main restaurant area upstairs, along with an exquisite secret bar and the prettiest interior, you’re onto an all round winner right away.

The place was heaving with glory and delight from all walks of life; a warm and friendly atmosphere with the attentive service to match, and aside from the fixed sharing platter starter of mixed warm breads and antipasti – which were bladdy deliciously appetising may I add – we were able to choose anything we desired from the main menu, complete with unlimited cocktails and a dessert to finish.

Thankfully the choices complied to all our varied tastes! And when I say there was something for everyone I really mean there was something for everyone with my mum, the fussiest eater in Leeds, in attendance. Her having zero complaints about the feast is pretty much equivalent to a bachelors degree in cookery, to be honest. That’s when you know the quality of  food is at the very top!

We all ordered different – I went for the Chicken Milanese with a sourdough crumb (£12) and a side of skinny fries (£3.50) which tasted almost identical to McDonald’s chips – only with a little more savouring class.  I’d had the Chicken Milanese whilst in Spain a few times before and this one didn’t disappoint to the ones I’d already previously tried and tested, the sourdough adding that extra tang. My mum opted for the 8oz Sirloin Steak (£18) in a request of well done and she said it was cooked to perfection. It’s rare I head out to eat with my mum without her sending a steak back in disapproval so this really does determine the efforts of the chef. She asked for well done, she got well done! My friends, Beth and Jade, who aren’t bloggers just guests who got to experience a piece of the action for the night (they’re privileged to have a friend like me js), went for the Wagyu Beef Burger (£13) and a side order of fries, and the Peri Peri Chicken Pizza (£11.50) and by the looks of the empty plates and the thumbs up for being finger-licking good, it was thoroughly enjoyed all round. Plus, the look of the mountain of melted cheese alone is mouth watering!

Moving on to dessert (despite our stomachs being satisfyingly and maximally filled) we opted for the Millionaire’s Shortbread (£8) and Passion Fruit Cheesecake (£7). We were informed they would be served deconstructed which wasn’t something I was familiar with but something which I was definitely intrigued by. Turns out, there’s just a lot more crumby contents and it’s a little messier, but it tastes just as nice. The chocolatey essence in the shortbread was ravishing and totally addictive to a sweet tooth fanatic like moi but after a few minutes of stuffing my face it did get slightly overpowering. I reckon you could get away with sharing a dessert if you feel like shelving greedy cravings for the night (which isn’t always easy, I feel you. The more chocolate, the better.)

Cocktail wise, we went somewhat overboard. Stocking up on the sparkling prosecco based cocktails and the classic spirits and managing to down three each until around 10:30pm. I think (my brain is still a little foggy from that night, I swear) we consumed multiple of the A Penny For The Cat (£8.95), St. Clementine’s Garden (£9.25), and Fine & Dandy (£8.75), which not only awakened the tastebuds but worked wonders for the ‘gram.

By the end of the night the general consensus was that A) we were delectably fed and watered more than we ever could have imagined, B) for what you are given and the quality of the grub, it’s well worth the price tag, and C) we definitely should have watched what we were drinking instead of giggling our way through the cold February evening.

Before we stayed fix abode until closing time, we made our way out as discreetly as possible – bellies heavier and heads lighter but with a fun few hours to treasure and a promise to head back sooner rather than later.

(I’m already thinking about summer plans with the natural light as an advantage. IMAGINE how stunning it would photograph in the daylight with a refreshing cocktail for company!!)

Have you headed down to Lost & Found yet?!

*Food and drink were all kindly complimentary in exchange for a review. All thoughts, opinions, and photos are my own.

Share

Taking Some Time Out For Self Care

Posted on 4 min read

Self care is talked about a lot these days. It’s a common topic with different implications on what it actually means but to me, I think it’s personal and discrete to the individual depending on what road their journey is taking them on.

Your journey is connected by your mind, your body, and your soul, and it’s okay for that to differ from day to day. Taking care of yourself and dedicating time to make your life easier, healthier, and happier, is not a standard one time deal nor concept.

Some days you can crave some luxury treatments. Some days you might just want to log off social media and take yourself off to bed earlier. It can be as simple as choosing to be selfish, or as complex as ridding of the toxic accompaniments you surround yourself with. You can associate it with self love, positive thinking, and being kinder to yourself, putting every reckless thought aside to remind yourself you are worth it even if you’re struggling to reach the standards. Or you can take your overworked mind and strenuously burned out body and give yourself a well needed rest.

There’s the basics; having a long bath, exercising, drinking lots of water, eating your favourite meal, laughing till you cry, then there’s the learning, the investing, and the maintaining power. It’s so ridiculously complex that it’s impossible to pinpoint, when the choices you make and the techniques you practice and carry out are for yourself and yourself only.

For me, most of the time, it’s about putting my mental health first.

Dealing with unpredictable and intolerable chronic pain that stops me from achieving so many normal things I’d love to do is damn difficult and although I’m skilled at masking a facade, it does get me down. Low mood and bouts of anxiety can often hit me without warning and I do find myself stuck in a dark place I’m fighting to get out of.

Not only that, I can be pretty tough on myself when it comes to comparison and belittling my worth, and paranoia is a real problem. Sometimes I find it difficult to separate what I should be doing and what I am doing, and I have this recurrent habit of feeling guilty for not being productive enough when I do focus on myself, chill out, and end up achieving a big fat nothing (if having a day in front of the TV and getting attached to more fictional characters counts as nothing, anyway).

But it’s time for that to stop.

Cutting off the real world for a little while, having some ‘me time’ and taking that time to just breathe and herd yourself to your eased peak can be so cleansing and healing – and it’s nothing to mull over when in the long term it can benefit your energy levels and your overall zest for life.

I found that out when I visited the spa within the Spirit Health Club at the Crowne Plaza in my delightful hometown of Leeds a week ago today. It was a joint Christmas present for me and my mum from my brother which in itself is enough to warm the heart strings because if there’s anything to spike some respite it’s some family thoughtfulness gifted to you, right?!

Despite being ten minutes away and walking past it on several occasions I’d never been inside and I was unaware of what they offered, but boy was I missing out! From its stunning interior, to its rustic design, their conspicuously alluring staircase, cosy bar and restaurant area, and their heavenly spa – it has everything you’ll ever need to bring some tranquillising peace and calamity to your busy schedule, your hardship, and your negative thoughts.

We started off in the pool area – with our towels, gowns, and sassy swimsuits to hand – and ended with a belly pleasingly delicious afternoon tea for two. The bright and airy room featuring some loungers, the sauna, steam room, heated pool, and jacuzzi was so instantly inviting, the huge windows letting in the prettiest natural sunlight and the quiet of the place spiritually soothing to the senses. If you closed your eyes for ten seconds, you could almost imagine you were abroad in paradise and not in the middle of a rural city on a freezing cold February day.

It was just such unwinding bliss. Having a few hours to cherish that quality mum/daughter time, soaking in the warm bubbles, chatting about the trivial matters, replenishing and ridding of the toxins in the stifling spaces, and clearing the mindset to a wholesome mark.

Finishing the day with some finger sandwiches, homemade scones, and the daintiest collection of cakes completed such a lovely, carefree, comfortable day of opulence.

I got home and felt absolutely wiped out and loose on the limbs but that just goes to show how much I needed to release that tension.

It’s so easy to forget to dedicate that essential break to recover from your battered exhaustion and that mental fog when you’re constantly on the go and stranded in that negligent bubble that’s hard to shift. Sometimes you just have to press pause, deflect from the stuff bringing you down, and find a way to uplift your spirits and make yourself feel better.

And with today being both Galentine’s Day and Pancake Day you can use that as an excuse to pamper your taste-buds, your skin, and your soul; either alone or partnered with your solid friendships. Or failing that, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner which means us singletons can take this advice and put it into action for ourselves.

Because there’s nobody more important than you.

Share

New Dessert House On The Block: Kaspa’s Leeds

Posted on 4 min read

 

If you tend to lose all sense of control around sweet treats, then I’d find the nearest comfortable place to pop yourself down on to gather some composure before I continue, because there’s a new haven in town and it’s about to take the Leeds’ restaurant scene by storm! Not that you can pick up a three course Italian here, of course, but it’s about the equivalent in pudding form – an actual eatery dedicated to all your favourite after indulgences. Gelato and waffles being their speciality but catering for all your candied needs in one pink paradise.

 

 

I was kindly invited down to Kaspa’s to have a taste of their dining experience, quite literally. Walking in there feels like a 1950s diner, the animated interior and darkened vibe mixed with bright blush hues, star print and sparkles; giving it that real American feel. In exchange for some outfit photo taking I took my brother along with me  (I like to innocently bribe him but he definitely wasn’t going to turn down a chance to stuff his face with sugar, either). It was no surprise that on a late Saturday afternoon the crowds were starting to flood in but by the sight of the diverse enjoyment it seems it’s gonna be a popular venue to visit!

 

To cut a long story short: the menu is insane; extensive in all areas, no matter what chocolatey combination tickles your fancy. We must have taken at least 15 minutes deciding what to choose from and if I’m being completely honest, I could have easily sampled one of each. From waffles and crepes, to ice-cream sundaes, milkshakes and smoothie, the gateaus and cheesecakes displayed beside the counter and even those proper traditional staples such as sticky toffee pudding and fudge cake – the heart eyes were seriously burgeoning.

 

 

We decided to go all out and order a feast to share. I opted for the Ferrero Rocher Gateau that I eyed up as soon as I stepped foot into the waiting to be seated area (thanks, glass counter) and my brother went for the Brownie Waffle with a joint side portion of a Bubblelicious sundae, Oreo Cookies milkshake and a Mango Dream smoothie.

 

Anything hazelnut is my weakness. It was a real tough decision between the cake and a Nutella based dessert, but I think I made the right choice. Soft and spongy, melt in the mouth, and beautifully nutty. The waffle was H-U-G-E, going spare on the portions is definitely out of the question here and even my brother struggled to finish – that’s coming from a gym fanatic who could eat an entire banquet and still crave more! He did report back with the deliciousness, though; fluffy, dense, fulfilling and super appetising. Both were drizzled with chocolate sauce and that was the ultimate pinnacle topping! The ice-cream sundae totally transported me back to my childhood; the bubblegum flavour reminding me of running up the street as though as I was on a Bond mission handing a pound over for a screwball or a cornet with sprinkles. A tendency to be sickly but oh so moreish and oh so good. Oreo milkshakes have become my thing at the moment and this was just as heavenly as the others I’ve had elsewhere, really giving a distinctive taste of those divine biscuits. The smoothie was thick and rich, not as blended as I’d usually have it but it worked – the mango and pear building the perfect yellowy fruit concoction.

 

 

The desserts at Kaspa’s aren’t only just appealing on the eye and for achieving the ideal flatlay for the gram (almost too charming to eat I’d say), they’re also all cooked fresh to instruction and served up orderly which means you get hands on service and a bonus whiff of the sublime scents as you wait. Service was efficient so you won’t be waiting too long – even on a busy weekend – and the surroundings are enough to draw you in instantly. The staff were lovely and tentative which is certainly what you look for in era where there’s so many things going on at once! All in all a wonderful experience.

 

 

I can’t say I’ve eaten specifically for desserts before, I do love an assorted dessert selection on an ordinary restaurant menu when I’m out for the evening, and I do enjoy a cake from the local cliche coffee shop but it’s not quite the same as the wholehearted encounter you receive at Kaspa’s. An absolute drool worthy dream – even if you do leave there with a stomach that’s crying out to you. I totally pigged out but I’m also pretty damn okay with that.

 

Have you been to Kaspa’s before? Check their site for your nearest location if your sweet tooth yearns for some delightful-ness on a regular basis. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Bridie x

 


twitter | facebook | instagram

Share

Jamie’s Italian Leeds: Super Lunch Menu

Posted on 6 min read

It’s no secret that I’m partial to a good Italian dish. In fact, if I had to make an ultimate decision and eat at the same restaurant for the rest of my life it would have to contain a menu filled with Italian cuisine; no ifs, no buts. I shouldn’t be thinking about pizza, pasta, bread specialities and fresh cuts of meat after a hefty indulgence on holiday but that can’t be avoided when looking back on my complimentary visit to Jamie’s Italian on a pleasant, sunny day last month.

 

 

Situated in the centre of Leeds on Park Row, right beside the main attractions and just a short distance from the station, I even surprised myself when I realised I’d never eaten in there before. I’d heard plenty of positives but this is the first time I saw for myself just what all the fuss was about. Turns out, it’s a definite new favourite of mine, and one I’m planning on making the go to for satisfying grub and celebrations. The rustic interior with dark wood and subtle hints of simple colour was both inviting and relaxing, and the food was on another level of scrumptious!

 

I took my mum along as my partner for the day after a busy day at work and she was grateful for such a treat (you know the whole boasting of ‘my daughter is a blogger and I’m gonna check in on Facebook to make out I’m some sort of VIP exclusive’ sort of behaviour). Whisked away to our table right away we opted for the super lunch menu which gave us the option of two courses for £11.95 or £13.95 for three courses – both incredibly inexpensive and great value; running weekdays from Monday to Friday 12pm-6pm. Being an advocate of the go big or go home motto, we both went for the three course but couldn’t begin on an entirely empty stomach – first up, we just had to order in those cocktails.

I went for the Espresso Martini because I’ve become a real coffee lover lately and thankfully seem to have moved past the shaky effect it used to give me! With both a mix of Kahlua and Kimbo you could taste the sweet bitterness of the natural coffee and the tang of the vodka and liqueur creating a killer creamy combination. My mum settled for the Passion Fruit Royale as she does love her quenching flavours and she was every bit delighted. Served in a tall glass and rich in orangey yellow tones it was more representative of a bucks fizz or a cava but amongst her enjoyment she let me have a sip and I can confirm it was as deliciously zesty as expected. They lasted us for the entire duration of our gradually expanding stomachs so a little definitely went a long way!

Reading the menu I knew it was going to be a tough choice because despite it being a limited selection, the variety ticked all the appetising boxes. Starting off with what we know best, we both went for the bruschetta; mine a Tomato Bruschetta and mum’s a Silky Pate Bruschetta. Now let me start off with proclaiming my love for bread; you really can’t go wrong whether it be plain or dressed up in ingredients but this was seriously the most incredible bread based delicacy. I savoured every flavoursome bite, from the crispiness of the slice to the pairing of light ricotta and juicy tomatoes combined. As did my mum, in particular she complimented the tastiness of the smoky pancetta ham and the overall presentation. Let’s just say there were plenty of mmmm sounds all round. It may have looked too appealing to eat but I never wanted it to end once I’d tucked in!

 

Moving on to mains, our eyes grew wider and our mouth’s watered before the plates (or boards that specifically fit into the rustic theme) even reached our magnified viewpoint. Once again there were plenty of options to choose from but the Gennaro’s Chicken Club struck me right away. Essentially a chargrilled chicken burger with pancetta, spicy ‘nduja mayo, cheese, tomato & rocket, stuffed in a brioche bun. Calorific but irresistible! So amazing in fact that the guy and his wife sat on the next table tapped me on the shoulder and asked me what I’d ordered because it looked delicious. Of course I informed him it didn’t just look palatable but tasted even better; effortlessly tender, the chicken cooked to perfection, and the sharpness of the mayo being a definite highlight. He took my word for it and joined me in savouring every mouthful. Influencing and making friends, I’m all about that life! Although my all time favourite sweet potato fries were available to order as a separate side along with it, I fancied the ordinary fries in traditional style of burger and chips and I was more than happy with my decision as they were thin and crispy on the outside with soft and fluffy potato inside just how I like them!

 

Mum’s signature restaurant order is always steak and always requested as well done. Although the Steak & Fries on the menu is advertised as marinated skirt steak flash grilled (aka quickly cooked up), the chefs were on hand to ensure she received it just how she likes it – and that she did. From the very moment she cut into she knew it was going to be up there with one of the most succulent steaks she’s ever encountered. The super thin cut contributed towards the divine softness, melt-in-the-mouth kind of texture and the added garlic butter was the cherry on top, especially for someone like my mum who would bathe in garlic until heartburn took over. She’s the fussiest person I know when it comes to red meat so for her to not have a bad word to say is an achievement in itself (she even devoured the side of homemade coleslaw!). I also had a cheeky taste and was seriously impressed; from someone who always chooses chicken as a safe meat option – I’d certainly be persuaded to move over to the red side if this was frequently served up!

 

 

For the price, the portion sizes were pretty decent and you could most certainly be fulfilled from just a main never mind a starter and a dessert on top of that. By the time our desserts arrived we were about to burst but never too stuffed for an epic chocolate brownie with rich chocolate sauce, salted caramel popcorn gelato & caramelised popcorn. Yes, popcorn *insert heart eye emoji as desired*. As huge chocolate lovers, mum and I both went for the same. You could definitely tell it had been baked fresh, no sign of over chewiness, just pure soft squishy consistency with an endearing sweetness. We demolished every last speckle and had no regrets.

 

I think I speak for us both here when I say I honestly don’t think we’ve enjoyed a meal like that in a long time. I can’t fault anything – from the impeccable and attentive service, warm welcome, constant check ups to the luscious food, the moreish tastes of our favourite come to life and the standard of appearance! I’d recommend for all: a quick bite at lunch time, an after work meal or even a place for a family birthday meal. It’s my brother’s birthday next month and guess where me and mum have both requested to go? He also worships his grub so I don’t think but whatever the answer, I’ll be returning without a doubt.

 

Have you ever visited a Jamie’s Italian in your located area before?


Bridie x


 

twitter | facebook | instagram

 

 

 

*this post is in collaboration with Jamie’s Italian Leeds but all words, thoughts, photography and current hunger is my own. Thanks so much to Jack for inviting me along!

Share