Friday, April 13, 2007

Round Up

Fri 13 April 2007

Another week has gone by without a post. This is partly Easter's fault, and also partly because our third assignment for the Gastronomy course was due on Thursday. We had to write about a fermented beverage: outlining the history, production and social role. We only had 1000 words to play with and I chose (somewhat predictably!) English beer (that's beer, not lager) so it was quite a big editing task.

As research, I've been reading Pete Brown's Man Walks into a Pub, which is a really entertaining read if you want to know an AWFUL lot about beer in Britain!

I finally got a chance to try out Boutique and not just once but twice! First of all Andy and I popped in for a Good Friday afternoon beer, to see if we should take some friends there. Given that Boutique is a cocktail bar, the bottled beer selection is good (8 in total) and includes Tiger, Quilmes, Modelo Especial and Krombacher. They are all priced at £3.50 which is a bit steep, but also not outrageous given that it's a trendy cocktail bar (but let's not talk about the prices at North!). Most importantly, my glass was clean - a basic which some bars manage to get wrong.

We returned with cocktail loving friends in tow on Saturday night. The cocktail list is long and very unique. I was more than happy drinking Pimm's and Pomegranate (incidentally, this will definitely be my drink for summer!) whereas the more adventurous tried a range of novel drinks which ranged in price from £6 to .. um ... £250! The general consensus was that Boutique ticked a lot of the right boxes. We had been sitting upstairs, receiving table service and having a conversation but by the time we left downstairs was very busy, so on a Saturday night I'd suggest making it your first stop, rather than your last.

From Boutique we headed across town to the Spice Bar. I just can't get my head around this place or make up my mind whether I like it. I used to go for the cheap beer, but I've been put off recently by price rises and the (I think) annoying shishas. We were there for cocktails and not just any cocktails, but ice cream cocktails. While the cocktails at Spice Bar are quite cheap, they take an age to arrive and the ice cream ones really just don't cut it when you've enjoyed the dessert like confections at Suburban. Next time, I think I'll aim for comfy seats at Boutique and stay put with my P&P.

Finally, another meal at Citrus in Headingley - and another venue about which I'm increasingly ambivalent. It's such a noisy place that, even on a relatively quiet late Sunday morning, it was tricky to hold a conversation. The food was really only so-so although it did have the advantage of being cheap. I ordered meat lasagne which was a very generous portion, very hot but also quite sweet. The vegetarian lasagne (also insanely hot) had some large, whole tinned tomatoes in it (please cook your sauce down properly!), the bowl of chilli was ... not chilli and the advertised salsa had to be requested, and the roast dinners (beef, which was actually not overcooked) came out on cold plates, and so turned into lukewarm before you could take a knife to them. I think there are some things Citrus does well (their sandwiches are pretty good), but it seems to be very hit and miss.

Blog of the week: Living to Eat. The lead article at the moment is a pigeon recipe so how could I NOT choose it this week?! I grew up eating far too many pigeons (my father bred them), and at one stage I thought I'd be happy never to eat them again (there are only so many weekends in a row you can eat roast anything, in my opinion), but for some reason I'm always on the look out for new pigeon recipes and the caramelised onions do look good!

And finally, you may not be aware the DK publishing and the Fairtrade Foundation are running a competition for amateur cooks. By 30 April you need to send off a family friendly recipe containing at least one Fairtrade ingredient and, if yours is one of the 150 best submissions, your recipe will appear in The Fairtrade Everyday Cookbook, which is due to be published next year. Apart from the glory of being published, winners also receive a copy of the book, an invitation to the launch party AND be entered into the draw to win a KitchenAid Artisan mixer. More details are available on the Fairtrade website. Obviously, my name is on the KitchenAid!

1. Boutique, 11-13 Hirsts Yard, Leeds, LS1 6NJ, phone: 0113 245 6595
2. Spice Quarter,
2 Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD, phone: 0113 246 9241
Suburban Bar, 27 Hartfield Road Wimbledon, SW19 3SG phone: 020 8543 9788
4. Citrus, 13a North Lane, Headingley, LS6 3HG, phone: 0113 274 9002
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Blogger Ros said...

Wow- I am honoured.:) I did see this post just after you published it but I've been offline for a while so never got a chance to comment.

As much as I love pigeon, I can imagine roast pigeon getting pretty dull after the fourth week of Sunday roasts. Good thing it didn't put you off for life.

5:03 pm  

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