Sunday, April 30, 2006

Beer, Thai, Beer

Sat 29 April 2006

As you may or may not be aware, my new year's resolution was/is to try every single one of the North Bar's excellent beer selection. This means that while I should be investigating as many different drinking holes as possible I do spend a disproportionate amount of time in North. IT'S JUST TOO GOOD!

So, my Saturday night kicked off in North, this time sampling Andy's favourite, the Lindeboom (their website seems to only be in Dutch, so no link), which is on draught. As far as lagers go I thought it was OK - not something I'd avoid and not something I'd particularly seek out either. I know that's not terribly descriptive of me but there just isn't a lot to say about this beer - a pleasant lager.

The evening's social activities meant there was no time for dawdling in North today ... our next mission was to find something to eat ... and fast! Andy came up with Cafe Thai [NOW CLOSED] - which is somewhere we've been meaning to go for a while and never quite managed. It's located in the Chinatown building which is on Templar Lane, near Vicar Lane and a couple of car parks. The restaurant is very basic - simple bench seats and long tables (I guess when busy there's a bit of a communal eating thing going on), a small fridge and till in the corner and a couple of TVs providing music videos. Hmm, that's probably not the most enticing description but it is pretty much spot on. We were eating quite early (6pm) and there were only two other couples in the restaurant, which is a great shame because it's a fabulously cheap, efficient and good place!

We went for a couple of Chang beers, a serve of Singapore noodles (with chicken) and pork stir fry with garlic and pepper (gratiem prig Thai). The stir fry included jasmine rice, so this little selection was more than enough for the two of us. The food was very good, although it could have been spicier ... However, the Singapore noodles had plenty of the extras (bean sprouts, chicken) and were nicely cooked. The stir fry was very tasty, with plenty of garlic and not drowned in sauce - just enough to make sure there was a bit left over to be soaked up with the rice.

We scoffed it all (which is a recommendation!) and came out spending about £16 which I think is cracking, given that our fish and chips at Bryan's cost almost the same, without alcohol and with discount! Cafe Thai also has lunch and early bird deals, so you could actually eat there for even less!

As an aside - I was particularly taken with the container on the table which held a roll of tissue, so you could just tear off what you needed, rather than messing around with paper napkins!

Given Bar 88's sudden (and stratospheric) loss of form it's fantastic to have found somewhere good, cheap and central to get a noodle fix!

We then moved onto Mook, in Hirst's Yard (off Boar Lane - behind the extremely dodgy looking Duncan pub). I was quite impressed because my mate, who was having birthday drinks here, had an area reserved (it's free), got them to make sangria to her recipe (she's Spanish), had them playing her CD for our area, and had some tapas laid on. Not bad! The beer selection was unexciting for bitter drinkers, so I went with San Miguel. There was some kind of Drambuie promotion, so we all ended up with Drambuie and soda too (I wasn't a fan).

As the night went on Mook got busier and busier and the clientele seemed to become younger and a lot more 'glamorous' (not my idea of glamour, but I'm sure you know what I mean!) - which means I probably won't be heading back for a late night drink but I could definitely be swayed in the afternoon.

1. North, 24 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NU, phone 0113 242 4540
2. Cafe Thai, China Town Shopping Arcade, Templar Lane, LS2 7LN, phone 0800 083 5552
3. Mook, Hirsts Yard, Leeds, LS1 6NJ, phone 0113 245 9967

How to get there: get yourself into the city centre by your favourite means, and then walk!

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