Category Archives: Food & Drink

6 ways to be more Danish

Yes, I know, there are lots of ways to be Danish, and we’re all meant to have taken our rose-tinted spectacles off when it comes to our Nordic neighbours. But Ant and I just had a long weekend in Copenhagen, and I’m obsessed. So here are some of the little ways I’d like to make my life slightly more Scandi.

Rethink your interior design

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Think white walls festooned with huge art prints. Bare wooden floors edged with rows of potted succulents. Candles everywhere – and by the way, mobiles aren’t just for kids any more. I could definitely take on board some of the minimalist, functional, everything-has-it’s-place principles of Danish design.

Stop complaining about the weather

Copenhagen is colder and just as rainy as Leeds, yet somehow the weather isn’t a daily topic of conversation. Also, when it’s raining, Danish people still arrive at their destination looking, on average, much more beautiful than me. I have a theory that this has a lot to do with coats and boots. Danish people wear a stunning variety of sleek coats and heeled boots, which also repel wind, rain, and the struggles of a daily commute (I assume).

Go green

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Fun fact: Over a third of Denmark’s electricity is generated by wind turbines. Another one: Denmark plans to be fossil fuel free by 2050. Danes love their recycling and they are gradually reducing the amount of energy they’re using. Add to this the fact that they cycle EVERYWHERE and you’ve got a seriously green nation. Am I likely to take up cycling? No, considering every which way seems to be uphill in Leeds, but I could significantly reduce my energy consumption and do more to support green energy.

Take the top off your sandwich

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It’s time to level up your lunch. Baring your butty’s contents means you need to think a bit harder about what you’re putting in there, which might explain why smørrebrød is one of the best looking snacks around. Beef, salmon, prawns, egg, pâté, chicken, beetroot: you name it, they’ll slap it on a slice of rye and pile on some salad, herbs and dressing. Alongside that, you’ll need a cup of really good coffee and a pastry. Whether it’s a sweet and sticky cinnabun or a fat, flaky fastelavnsbolle, you’ll be glad you didn’t skip dessert.

Stop saying please

Okay, this one’s a bit extreme. But this weekend I found out the Danish don’t have a word for please, and…. I kinda liked it. Even though part of me likes the idea of a word that’s pure social lubrication, aren’t there other ways to ask nicely? And with a decade of waitressing experience under my belt, I can promise you that just because someone says the word please, does not mean that what they are saying is polite. So whilst I won’t be dropping please from my vocabulary any time soon – Britain is so not ready for that – I will be thinking hard about other ways to make people feel appreciated.

Take care of your skin

The green philosophy definitely extends to the beauty department in Denmark. Brands like Rudolph and Olé Henriksen embrace natural luxury and organic ingredients. I’m not sure about the science stuff, but I do know that I’ve never seen skin like it. Every time we went anywhere, I found myself gazing at someone with high cheekbones and translucent skin in the corner; do Danes even have pores??

Are you still as obsessed with Scandi style as I am?



Filed under Culture, Food & Drink, Places

New menu at Bundobust

Bundobust is one of those outfits that only seems to have been on the scene for two minutes, but at the same time, I can’t imagine Leeds without it.

Ant and I headed down to Bundobust last night to try out the five new dishes they’ve recently popped on the menu, and we definitely weren’t disappointed.

My favourite was the egg bhurji, one of the more expensive dishes priced at £6. It’s an Indian style scrambled egg, cooked with cumin, coriander, peppers and chilli, but it’s only mildly spicy. It comes with a soft naan-like flatbread and is the best winter comfort food. It paired exceptionally well with my gin and tonic, which was garnished with grapefruit. I’m not sure what tonic was used but it was a very sweet, fruity, earthy version of a G&T that really complemented the food.

I also loved the far far, a bowl of colourful fried rice puffs tossed in Bundobust’s own spice blend. They reminded me of Walkers French Fries, texturally, but with an amazing sweet-tangy-spicy flavour. At £2.50, I would definitely order these as a bar snack if I was just heading in for drinks.

Ant preferred the onion gobi bhaji bhaji (£4). It’s not actually one of the new dishes, but we couldn’t resist ordering it. These are the bhajis you hope for when you order a takeaway: light, golden and fluffy, a million miles away from the greasy overcooked mess that normally arrives. They come with a tangy tamarind and red pepper chutney that adds flavour and cuts right through the bhaji’s richness.

Had you told me a few months ago that I’d soon consider a vegetarian Indian restaurant one of the best post-work spots in Leeds, I’d have laughed. Thank you, Bundobust, for changing my mind!

Some of our meal and our drinks were complimentary, but this is my honest opinion as always.









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BurgerSearch 4: Twisted Burger Co at Jake’s Bar

BurgerSearch posts document my search to find the best burger in Leeds, as part of my 30by30 goals. I’ve got plenty of places on my list, but I’m very open to suggestions, too! Where was your best ever Leeds burger from?

Venue: Twisted Burger Company, in residence at Jake’s Bar, Call Lane
Burger: Club Classics Vol. One, £6.95

Burger Patty 18/25

I either like my burger patties massive and meaty, or thin and tasty. Twisted burgers are of the latter variety, and in most of their burgers you get two thin, tender patties that fill a hole without being too overfacing. Delicious!

Bun, toppings and fries 20/25

The patties are nestled into a potato bap, which was light and fluffy whilst having some serious staying power. The burger is packed with iceberg lettuce, as I firmly believe all burgers should be, and the techno burger sauce adds some creamy zing. The cheese is a little nondescript flavourwise, but perfectly gooey. My plain fries were hot, crispy and served in a huge basket – sharer portions are absolutely not for the faint-hearted.

Service and atmosphere 15/25

It’s a little surreal going to Jake’s Bar during the day, sober. Truth be told, the place scrubs up quite nicely and comes across as an altogether respectable place. It was a bit quiet, but I imagine weeknights have a bit more buzz about them than a Saturday lunchtime. In fact, things were already starting to pick up when we left. The service was smiley, attentive and efficient, especially considering that they were battling with a missing delivery and a malfunctioning POS system. I’m also a big fan of Jake’s cocktails, so it was nice to sip on a Blighty Mojito (a gin based mojito with a cucumber twist) while I ate.

Value for Money 22/25

Now would be a good time to mention that I was invited down to try these burgers for free. Having said that, though, I actually thought that for the quality this was really good value for money. The price for the Club Classics and the Notorious PIG that Ant had, plus sharing fries and two Cokes, was £20.15. The cocktail did boost the bill a bit, which is obviously to be expected.

Total 75/100

This puts Twisted Burger Company into second place so far, which I think is fair. Although this isn’t a permanent residency, it is the second one they’ve done in the last year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it extended or see it lead to a more permanent home in Leeds. I for one would welcome them with open arms!

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BurgerSearch 3: MEATliquor

BurgerSearch posts document my search to find the best burger in Leeds, as part of my 30by30 goals. I’ve got plenty of places on my list, but I’m very open to suggestions, too! Where was your best ever Leeds burger from?

I’ve fancied giving the Leeds MEATliquor a try since it first opened, and this review from Rich, who knows his food, only encouraged me.I headed down for a chilled weeknight burger and drink with a few friends last week.

Venue: MEATliquor, Trinity Centre, Bank Street
Burger: Bacon Cheeseburger, £8.50

Burger Patty 23/25

Huge. Juicy. Tender. Pink. Flavourful. This patty ticked every single box and then some.

Bun, toppings and fries 22/25

I need to talk about the bacon. It wasn’t rashers, it was some sort of reconstituted sheet (?) of bacon that absolutely blew my frickin’ mind. The cheese was plentiful and perfectly gooey, and the sauces oozed out of the bun and got everywhere – I made extensive use of the kitchen roll on the table. The cheese fries were perfect, loaded with generous handfuls of cheese and all hot and salty underneath. (Some might find them too salty; I thought they were perfect.) I gave an extra point because the bun wasn’t brioche, which was refreshing, but I took it back off again because the Dead Hippie sauce they rave about wasn’t all that.

Service and atmosphere 20/25

Service was pleasant and efficient, which is all I ask for. I found the atmosphere fairly chilled – it had a late night diner/pool hall feeling to it, and was quite unlike the dark, loud basement I was expecting.

Value for Money 18/25

It’s on the pricey side, but it’s amazing. Three of us had a burger, a side and a drink each and it came to £56.65, including a service charge and a £1 charity donation. I’d consider that to be quite a lot for a one course meal, but it was a) very filling and b) bloody good.

Total 83/100

I had high hopes for MEATliquor and it has delivered. This is the first time I’ve walked away from a burger and thought: yes, that could have been the best burger in Leeds. I’ve got plenty more places to visit, so anything could happen, but I can definitely see myself returning here pretty soon as well.

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BurgerSearch 2: Get Baked

BurgerSearch posts document my search to find the best burger in Leeds, as part of my 30by30 goals. I’ve got plenty of places on my list, but I’m very open to suggestions, too! Where was your best ever Leeds burger from?

My latest burger venture came about after a long day of blogging in my pyjamas and not going out to fetch any food. I thought I might as well make it a full day of luxury and order in, because why the hell not?

Venue: Get Baked, Stainbeck Avenue, Meanwood
Burger: the Nice, £6.95

Burger Patty 15/25

Juicy, slightly pink and really tender. It seemed slightly peppery, not in an unpleasant way but it was a bit weird. It smelled amazing! My cats thought so too – you might be able to spot them in the pictures trying to get a piece of the action…

Bun, toppings and fries 18/25

The brioche bun was good and sturdy and the toppings were generous. You choose your own sauces and salad, which is always a bonus – picking out bits of onion is never fun. The fries, on the other hand, didn’t seem to travel well and were quite cold and chewy by the time they reached me. They were quite bland, too.

Service and atmosphere 19/25

I’m a homegirl at heart, so the atmosphere of ‘on my couch watching crap nineties box sets’ gets full marks from me. The food took absolutely ages to arrive – well over ninety minutes – but they’re very upfront about this on their website, saying they get very busy and cook everything to order. Plus, just as I was starting to wonder where my food might be, I got a call letting me know it was on the grill. Not bad.

Value for Money 20/25

At £6.95, I thought the burger was great value, but if I was ordering again I wouldn’t bother paying for the chips. The huge range of dessert options was a bit too much for me to resist, so the Kinder Bueno cheesecake (amazing) and delivery charge brought the bill up to £13.45.

Total 72/100

As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the better delivery options around. (I’m a big fan of The Sunshine Takeaway, who I’m sure will make an appearance here soon, but they don’t deliver.) I won’t bother with fries again, and it’s worth ordering a good hour before you start to even think about feeling hungry, but it’s a great burger for the price, especially considering you barely have to leave your couch.

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Spot my little helpers…

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Whoops! How did that get in there? (Delicious)

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BurgerSearch begins: Byron Burger

It’s been a great week for my 30by30 challenge! As well as collecting Christmas craft ideas, I’ve made a start on one of my other goals: find the best burger in Leeds. Most of the delay in this has been down to fine tuning the scoring system, trying to decide whether toppings are worth as many points as the bun, or how much the service should count for. Obviously, it doesn’t really matter, but tasks like this with numbers and neatness are right up my street- they appeal to my perfectionist side!

I’d also been wondering where to try first. I didn’t want to set the bar too high or have a disappointing first burger, so in the end it was a good thing the decision was taken out of my hands. We were in town at a loose end, and Ant picked Byron Burger for dinner. We had a lot of fun critiquing the burgers and tweaking the scoring system even more – sadly, I think we enjoyed this bit more than we enjoyed eating the burgers!

Venue: Byron Burger, Lands Lane, Leeds
Burger: The Byron, £9.50

Burger Patty 15/25

The burger was cooked medium and was perfectly pink in the middle. It was obviously good quality meat and was a really nice texture. However, I thought it could have had a bit more taste to it, honestly. I’d have liked it to be a bit more seasoned and a bit juicier. It was good, but not amazing.

Bun, toppings and fries 20/25

We opted for thick cut chips rather than fries, and they really were good. Hot, with fluffy insides, and with the crispy skin still on. The cheese was a really good mature Cheddar, and the bacon was salty and not too crispy. I know a lot of people like really crispy bacon, but I like it quite chewy and this was just right. There was also tons of iceberg lettuce which added a nice cool crunch. The bun (brioche OF COURSE) held together nicely, but because the burger wasn’t that juicy, it wasn’t much of a challenge.

Service and atmosphere 16/25

The atmosphere at Byron Burger was quite nice. It’s got a distinctive industrial, exposed brick sort of style, and the warm lighting and low level music was a refreshing change from some of the dark, noisy, nightclub style eateries that festoon the city centre. Service was fine, not especially friendly but efficient, which for me is more important.

Value for Money 10/25

Two burgers, the chips, aioli and two soft drinks came to £29.05. This is probably quite standard pricing for this style of burger joint – a sit down place that positions itself as a quality burger provider that’s all about the taste. Unfortunately, I just didn’t think the burgers were amazing and shelling out £15 each (bearing in mind we’d shared a side) felt a bit much.

Total 61/100

Not a bad score, but not great, and I think it reflects quite well on the experience. Not bad burgers, but with room for improvement, and not, I felt, at quite the right price point. If I’m paying £9.50 for a burger, and extra for a side, I want to feel really positive about it, instead of just okay. Not, for my money, the best burger in Leeds.







Filed under 30by30, Food & Drink, Life, Restaurants

Five incredible cakes I want to bake

I love getting my bake on. I make brownies, I make cheesecake, I make cupcakes, I make biscuits and I make macarons. But nothing, nothing, scratches the itch for me quite like a full-sized cake.

With my birthday approaching in a couple of weeks, I’ve been looking about for the perfect cake to bake myself. The spring makes me want something fluffy and creamy and fruity, but I can feel salted caramel and peanut butter calling to me, too. Elaborate royal icing decorations on a dull vanilla sponge do nothing for me: I want something that tastes as awesome as it looks.

Luckily, a whole range of baking bloggers know what I’m talking about. Take a look at these insane cakes, and click the names to see the recipes.


Salted Caramel Layer Cake by JavaCupcake

salted caramel layer cake java cupcake

I actually baked this cake for Ant’s birthday earlier this year and it went down an absolute storm. The brown sugar sponge has amazing depth and the frosting is so good I don’t even know how to tell you about it. Seriously, it rocked and JavaCupcake is a total go to for me now.


Raspberry and White Chocolate Layer Cake by Rosie Bakes It

Raspberry and white chocolate layer cake Rosie bakes it

This one is definitely a birthday cake contender. Raspberry and white chocolate is one of my favourite flavour combos and this looks so moist, light and creamy…I need to work on my chocolate curl making, though!


Carrot Cake by The Faux Martha

Carrot Cake The Faux Martha

This cake is just so elegant. Am I grown up enough for this cake? I’m erring towards no! But, brown butter cream cheese frosting? That deserves some investigation.


Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake by Recipe Girl

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake Recipe Girl

I’m drooling all over this one. I can only imagine how filling and rich this is, but surely it would be absolutely worth it! Red Velvet is a firm favourite and since I love it with cream cheese icing, this next step is right up my street.


Snickers cake by Brown Eyed Baker

Brown Eyed Baker Snickers cake

This one might be a bit divisive. The dark chocolate and coffee sponge, the peanut nougat filling, the salted caramel buttercream – it sounds incredibly sweet. But, what are birthdays for, if not for indulging?


I’ve got my work out picking a cake, and any of these would be incredibly challenging to bake as well!

Do any of them take your fancy? Do you have a favourite cake for birthdays?

All images are from the blogs mentioned.

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Filed under Baking, Food & Drink

Brunch at The Wardrobe

Brunch is absolutely hands down the best meal ever. Pancakes, french toast, bacon, syrup and all else that is good on a big sticky plate. Yum!

It seems to me like Leeds has been lacking a good, casual brunch spot. Breakfast is covered thanks to The Greedy Pig, and we’ve got countless good lunch venues, but brunch is either a formal affair or an afterthought.

Enter: The Soul Kitchen at The Wardrobe.

I found out about The Wardrobe’s new brunch menu via a blogger’s event, where we signed up for brunch without knowing what the venue would be – you might have seen some chat about this on the #brunchiscoming hashtag on Twitter. When I found out we were headed to The Wardrobe, I was a bit surprised. It’s a great bar but not particularly on my radar as a place to eat, and definitely not somewhere I’d think to go during the day.

After sampling the food though, that all changed!

We tried four dishes from the menu, which is based on traditional dishes, with twists inspired by Caribbean and Creole cooking. I had the lemon curd and mascarpone pancakes, which I could not fault in the slightest. The homemade lemon curd was creamy and tangy, perfect against the cool mascarpone. The four huge, fluffy pancakes held up their end with no problem, not too heavy but a crazy generous portion to overindulge in on a Sunday morning.

I also got a taste of the bacon and egg muffins – eggs baked in a bacon wrapper – that Ant ordered, which were hot and salty with soft, rich yolks, a little lighter as a meal but still filling and served with a slab of fresh bread. Alice had waffles, which we were all looking forward to seeing but which were sadly a bit of a disappointment. They were slightly overcooked and a bit dry, but otherwise tasty and had potential to be another great dish. Finally, between us we all sampled the French toast with maple syrup and banana, which was a bit mushy, texture-wise but really sweet and tasty and possibly the ideal hangover food.

Don’t forget to check out the shakes too! They’re pricey for the size but amazing. I tried the million dollar shake featuring salted caramel, chocolate and shortbread but there are a few options which all sounded delicious.

I’m looking forward to taking friends here when they visit – it’s the perfect place for a lazy Sunday morning after a big Saturday night!

This time, we ate for free but I can’t wait to get back there and will be happy to pay.

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In other (foodie) news…

Get the scoop on all new foodie happenings in Leeds with Diane over on A Tale of Two Sittings

I haven’t been to Angelica but Amy makes it sound oh-so-swanky in her lovely review

This morning I’ve been giggling over this picture doing the rounds on Twitter. I do love eating somewhere a bit different but I also like rolling my eyes at a hipster cliche or a place that’s just too trendy for words.

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Twisted Burger Company at Aire Bar

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last couple of weeks, you’re probably aware of the Twisted Burger Company residency that’s just started at Aire Bar. TBC hail from Sheffield, where they’ve been churning out burgers at The Harley for over three years. It’s great to see a Yorkshire brand doing well, and as far as I can tell these guys deserve their success.

Although I couldn’t make the official launch, I decided to pop in on opening night to check things out the old-fashioned way. The sun was shining, we nabbed a seat on the deck, the burgers were half price – it seemed like everything was in our favour.

I’ve never been to Aire Bar, and although I knew where it was it’s not a place I’ve ever even thought about going. It’s a bit out of the way of my usual haunts and I’ve never really heard anyone say much about it. I’m glad I had a reason to go now! It’s got a great atmosphere and was full of professionals grabbing a post-work beverage. The deck was perfect for a sunny day, and even though the Leeds river bank isn’t always the prettiest place, it wasn’t a bad view at all and I enjoyed having five peaceful minutes before my date arrived.

I was a bit sceptical about how the service would be, after some recent poor experiences at hipster pop-ups, but these guys knew what they were doing. Despite the opening night crowds, there were no nerves and we got our grub in about fifteen minutes.

There’s plenty of choice in the menu, including a patty made from bacon, a fearsome looking triple burger, and some tempting sides such as jalapeno poppers, mac ‘n’ cheese or loaded fries.

I plumped for the Smokin’ Joe Frazier, boasting two chicken patties, bacon, cheese, homemade ranch dressing and relish. I asked for sauces on the side, as I’m picky about ranch and I thought the relish might be a bit too hot for me. I should have been more trusting of the chef, because I would do pretty much anything to get my hands on that ranch recipe. It was garlicky and tangy, with quite a thin consistency – not too oily or creamy. I seriously could not get enough of the stuff and whatever I ordered in the future, I’d have that on the side. I will not forget that ranch dressing!

The chicken patties – apparently made from 90% thigh meat and 10% chicken livers – were a bit new to me! They weren’t quite as nice as a really good chicken breast can be, but it made a nice change from the dry, overcooked chicken breasts that inferior places seem to think are worth charging a tenner for.

Overall it was a good burger, moist but not too sloppy, really filling, and served with wickedly moreish crispy French fries. The offbeat, casual vibe makes Twisted perfect for a post-work bite with friends and beers and sunshine.

If you’re following Twisted Burger on any of their social media (such as their twitter, which is here), your burger is half price until 20th April, so why not give it a try?

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In other news…

Here’s my other half’s review of the same meal over at The Indie Chef

This blog on The Culture Vulture about having fun with our city is a thought-provoking read

Some of these mini desserts look better than others, but on the whole the list makes me want to throw a dessert tapas party

DO NOT MISS Amazing Graze this weekend. See my review of the last Amazing Graze event here

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The Hungry Bear, Meanwood

Last weekend we headed over to Meanwood for a lazy Sunday lunch with some friends at The Hungry Bear. We’ve been meaning to go for a while, and I’m so glad we made the effort to visit this small but perfectly formed eatery that will surely help Meanwood make the leap from ‘up and coming’ to ‘trendy North Leeds suburb.’

After getting the important stuff out of the way (ordering Prosecco), I made my food choices, plumping for a smoked duck salad starter and a beef blade main. We also had a little surprise appetiser of a beautifully rich and smooth tomato and basil soup.

As a blue cheese hater – sorry – I requested that the smoked duck, pear and walnut salad come without that odorous addition, and had it with goat’s cheese instead. The duck was perfectly pink and flavourful, while the soft pears and crunchy walnuts added texture. I’m not sure the whole dish quite worked for me, but that’s very much my own fault for getting into the whole goat’s cheese situation. The individual ingredients were all fabulous.

The beef arrived swimming in gravy and with a Yorkshire pudding the size of my head (this is a good thing). The roast root vegetables were sweet with a touch of crunch, and the roast potatoes? Incredibly moreish. The beef itself was so tender it fell apart at the touch of my fork and had an intense flavour after 24 hours of cooking low and slow.

I still decided to squeeze in a dessert – might as well do it properly – and opted for the pistachio sponge with a lime crème fraiche. I love pistachio and I wasn’t disappointed by this light, tasty sponge. The lime crème fraiche had quite a zing and made a lovely alternative to heavy cream or ice cream, leaving a freshness on the palate.

The service was efficient and attentive throughout. It’s a small place but spread over two floors, so I did feel a bit sorry for the poor serving staff trooping up and down the steps with heavy plates! Other than that, though, the atmosphere is quite cosy, and we barely noticed that we were just a few feet from the main road through Meanwood.

We made quite an expensive do of this, with three courses and wine coming to £125 for 4. But, there are mains between £8 and £15 with starters and desserts at £6-7, so I wouldn’t rule it out for a good value lunch.

We make a point of trying a new restaurant at least every month or so (when funds allow!) and The Hungry Bear is the best we’ve tried in ages. It was the perfect place for a Sunday afternoon, with cosy, relaxed service and a stylish neighbourhood restaurant feel but top notch food and drink. Can’t wait to go back.

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In other news…

This Leeds Inspired round up of gigs in Leeds throughout February and March is a cracker.

Since neither of us work in town, the market isn’t that accessible to us, so lately we’ve been getting our fruit and veg via Market Delivered. Full post to follow, but I’m a fan.

Claire’s review of the pizzas at Sela Bar has left me dying to try them for myself!


Filed under Food & Drink, Restaurants