Monday, 28 July 2014


Running since earlier this year, Brandon Street Night Market has become established on the Leeds street food scene as a monthly event offering street food, craft beers, live art and music at Canal Mills.

On the last Friday of every month, the venue becomes a space for independent street food traders to showcase their food to new crowds. It's only a ten minute walk from the city centre, entrance is free and it runs from 5-12pm.

Last Friday there was Pizzafella, Afrikhokho, El Kantina and Afsaneh's Persian Kitchen. An interesting mix of talented traders.

First up we met the lovely Chris from Afrikhokho. Alongside selling his chocolate delights from his stall, he was also making his very own chocolate and let us have a try of the chocolate during the conching process. An 85% South African dark chocolate was in the making and it tasted intense, deep and rich. It was really interesting to here about the procedures of chocolate making and the passion that Chris puts into his product.

We also got to try his Beetroot and Mustard Cake (£2.50) and a slice of Pistachio and Chocolate Fudge (£1.50). Everything was reasonably priced between £1.50 and £3 which is the average fair you would pay for a cake in an independent cafe.

It was sweet before savoury on this occasion, but the winner for my money that night was Afsaneh's Persian Kitchen. With an interesting menu of Persian treats, I couldn't resist buying their Mezze (£5) which meant I could taste a bit of everything!

Run by Afsaneh Kaviani, her business came after her stint as a finalist on Masterchef in 2012. Operating on a street food level as well as a private chef for supper clubs and events, her food has been received very well.

With my Mezze in hand I ventured outside to find somewhere to eat it. Served with toasted bread was a selection of mezze items, including feta, herb salad, bulgar wheat, roasted aubergines and my absolute favourite, a dip made of tomato and aubergine (I think it was caled Mirza Ghasemi). It was a beautiful silky smokey paste that just made me go WOW. 

Great food and another great event for championing local independent street food traders.

Have you been to Brandon Street Night Market?

Thursday, 24 July 2014


Last week I was invited to come and try Chapel Allerton's newest venue, The Woods.

Opening earlier this month, the three floor venue hosts a restaurant, bar and stage area for film screenings and live music. With the food being my main area of interest I had a look at the menu before accepting and was intrigued by what was on offer.

The menu is large, which for some can be off putting. However, the Woods specialises in dishes cooked using a wood fired oven, there are plenty of options for wood fired meats, fish and pizzas, with a section dedicated to vegetarian affair. They also serve brunch every weekend and a weekly Sunday lunch.

Arriving at around 7.30pm, the restaurant on the second floor was busy but not full. We got to choose a table and sat down. The waiters were eager to take our orders immediately but we sent them away twice before we even managed to get through the whole menu!

First up is wine. We went for a bottle of the house red, a French wine called Soubremont Domain Merlot Grenache (£12.00). This was served quickly, however it was not poured into our glasses or asked to be tasted but just meekly plonked on the table by the very shy waiter.

The wine was good. Perfect temperature, nice and well... I'm no wine conniseaur. It was certainly quaffable and that's always a good thing.

We set down to ordering our starters and our mains. I went for the Mini Cured Meat Board (£2.90) off the bar snacks/tapas menu whilst my friend ordered the Mozzarella, Tomato with Basil Leaves (£4.50) from the starters menu.

The Mini Cured Meat Board was indeed rather twee! Served on a small wooden platter was one slice of salami, one and a half slices of chorizo and a slice of prosciutto. These were drizzled with oil and a sprinkling of rock salt, but served lonesome with no bread. Considering that tapas is usually based around the concept of sharing, this wasn't exactly ideal. Luckily I was dining with a vegetarian.

The Mozzarella, Tomato with Basil Leaves also took us by surprise. We were expecting something along the lines of a Caprese salad with sliced fresh mozzarella, but what was served was a stack of chopped, skinned tomatoes with hard mozzarella cubes, a single basil leaf and a drizzle of infused oil. It was moulded and stacks on the plate, with a little bit of a collapse on arrival.

On to our mains. We both ordered pizza at the same time as we ordered the starters. We waited a total of fifty five minutes before our mains came and that was a good forty minutes after the starters, with our dirty plates removed just as the mains were served.

Arriving at our table were two 12" wood fired pizzas. I ordered the Smoked Mackerel, Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Garlic and Basil (£7.90) - I ordered mine without cheese due to a mega cheese fest that had ensued that week. I also genuinely really like and in most cases prefer a pizza without cheese. The base was spot on, light but not soggy. This was a very nice pizza indeed and the interesting toppings were warmly welcomed as I have never had smoked mackerel on a pizza before.

The veggie got excited over the toppings that came on his pizza with Garlic Wild Mushrooms, Thyme, Artichoke, Lemon, Parsley and Pecorino Cheese (£7.90). As with mine, the base was crispy and light with a good crust. The flavours were all there and it made for a hearty feast at a good price.

We also ordered a Seasonal Leaf Salad (£2.50) on the side. This was also unfortunately forgotten and brought to the table after our mains were served.

We finished our mains and went straight to the pudding menu. Obviously we had to try the Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream (£3.50) and we opted to try their Vanilla Cheesecake (£3.50) too.

The puddings were hit and miss. First up was the cheesecake... the texture was rather unpleasant so we quickly left this and moved on to what was a winner! The brownie was warm, fudgey, dense and packed full of walnuts. Served with a scoop of proper vanilla ice cream and a toffee sauce this was very good indeed.

An overall interesting experience at The Woods. Service was not great but it also wasn't terrible. They have only been open a few weeks and as with all new venues and restaurants these are the toughest few to get things right.

I would be interested to return to see how the menu's differ as they change to reflect each season, as well as to see the service progress.

Have you been down to The Woods?

Disclaimer: I was invited to review this restaurant with a complimentary meal for myself and a guest, however all the views within this review are my own honest opinions.

Sunday, 6 July 2014


Following on from my previous post of eating in Kirkgate Market, this is also another gem which anyone who lives in Leeds would be happy to tell you about.

Cafe Moor serves up North African and Middle Eastern influenced street food and has a rather impressive stall situated into the left hand front entrance of Kirkgate Market.

Run by Kada, he says that "this is a great place for people who love good food, great value and authentic flavours and the market is the ideal location for us because we focus on affordable, fresh food made to order right in front of the customers, from really fresh ingredients".

If the food on display and wafting smells of shawarma and tagines aren't enough to get you going then their menu will do the trick. Affordable starters, meals, wraps and sandwiches are available from Monday-Saturday from 10-5pm, making this the perfect stop for a cheap and tasty lunch on the go.

On this occasion I ordered a wrap and went for the Falafel King (£4). A souped up falafel wrap containing falafel, grilled haloumi, roasted aubergine, chips, humous and gherkins served in an Arabic flatbread.

Placing my order I was given a complimentary cup of their mint tea which served as a refreshingly sweet palate cleanser.

With a quick service my food was made fresh before my eyes and served to me within five minutes. The wrap itself was stuffed full of all its components and looking pretty damn good!

All the flavours worked really well together however it was quite dry due to all the stodgey ingredients and could have benefited from some extra sauce. Despite this it was bloomin' tasty and made for a nice change to what you might come across from your favourite sandwich haunt.

I can also highly recommend their Humous Salad Wrap (£1.50) which is bargainous and great value for money and also healthier on the waistline too!

Have you been to Cafe Moor?
Do you have any other favourite places to eat in Kirkgate Market?