I have lived in Leeds my entire life and as a passionate foodie, been to my share of restaurants and cafes and delis in the quest for yummage. Most of which are now very dear to my heart.
From being in my early 20s and thinking Bibis was the height of Friday night food porn, or urging mid-week dates to take me for an intimate meal at Sous Le Nez, I have branched out and embraced the perfect vegetarian curry at Hansa's, a scrumptious lunch at Pickles & Potter or take out from Salt's Deli and been completely underwhelmed at Brasserie Blanc. We have lots of great places to eat that are unique to Leeds, in addition to the consistently nice chain restaurants like Browns, Piccolino's, Chaophraya or Jamie Oliver's restaurant that you could find in most major cities. Yorkshire chefs like James Martin have even returned to us, opening The Leeds Kitchen at The Alea casino.
Yesterday we went out for dinner with friends to The New Ellington, just down the road from Baby Jupiter; one of my favourite bars which will always be famed for the place I first experienced Sailor Jerry's... before they changed the recipe to the bottle of swill it since became.
But I digress... the New Ellington is a 35 room boutique hotel - named after Duke Ellington of course with a gin bar at street level, a restaurant in the basement and the hotel rooms above.
The gin bar was candlelit, decorated with pictures of The Duke and Ella Fitzgerald and decorated in muted hues and rich wood accents. A great place for the quiet sophisticate.
The restaurant decor was a nod to New Orleans with glazed mirrors, claret coloured velvet banquettes and hanging beads wherever the eye could see. Beautiful Tamara de Lempicka paintings on the walls and on the back of the gender-specific menus (Girl With Gloves for the ladies, Portrait of the Marquis Sommi for the men) set the art-deco theme perfectly.
One of our guests, Alex, remarked to me that she loved the grown up fantasy of the place which is exactly how I felt. Going out to dinner somewhere special where the food is so lovingly prepared and presented does make one feel rather inspired to behave ones self and be very nonchalant about it rather than bounce up and down in your seat saying "LOOK! LOOK! MY BEEF DRIPPING CHIPS ARE IN A LITTLE JENGA TOWER!"
To start I ordered the roasted globe artichoke with goats cheese which was served with a roast tomato, olive and samphire salad - absolutely stunning, the samphire was perfection and the goats cheese was beautifully rich.
For my main course I had vermicelli with a spinach and parmeggian sauce which could not have been more delicious had it been spread onto Robert Downey Jr for my licking pleasure.
For dessert I had the warm pistachio cake with sour cherries, chocolate ganache and a goats cheese and vanilla cream - words cannot describe the goats cheese and vanilla cream, I am definitely going to experiment with it for Everything Goes With Toast.
My companions had lamb cooked four ways, scallop risotto served in a clam shell, lobster ravioli, rose veal osso bucco, gnocchi... the menu was wonderfully varied and everything was both stunningly presented and absolutely delicious.
If you're ever in Leeds... in fact COME to Leeds, stay in the hotel and eat dinner there. It's absolutely spectacular.
Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.
Title: The Thin White Duke by David Bowie