Posted on August 18, 2017
It’s been almost a month since Alexander’s Bar and Restaurant opened. Last week I was invited along for ‘a taste of ‘. It wasn’t what I expected.
The (impressive) website said ‘European inspired’… and my self-talk went something like “European…Skipton… ok then!”
I LOVE that “Wow” was the first thing we said once through the doors.
I LOVE it when a place does that to you!
The above view is the back of the property (from the road-bridge across the canal), the entrance is round the front directly opposite the castle.
A tiled parlour is a welcoming entrance to this Grade II listed building. On arrival you’re greeted by a friendly face asking if you’re looking for drinks or have a reservation. With booths and stools, this is a bar area by night and serves morning coffee and pastries from 8am. A gelato bar is in the pipeline… (they’re big on gelato here).
Twelve meters of pewter bar runs along the walk-way from front of house to the back, attention to detail is what makes this environment so appealing – (or should I say a-peel-ing as the owners are PEEL Entertainment Group providing entertainment for many cruise ships round the world, hence the amazing screens!
The transition from the Edwardian front, to the modern feel at the back is effortless. Colonial palm prints and gold pineapples (chosen long before they began trending) take you away some place, as does the food!
We have small plates (think tapas) and it’s seriously good food (halloumi fries?! Genius!). The chef wearing a flat cap (they all have flat caps on here!) sits at our table and chats with us. We talk about the food but also about the challenges faced in opening and staffing a place like this given its location. He isn’t about ‘the sell’ or trying to impress us and neither is our host, both are genuine, honest and open – I like that.
Outdoors is a ‘not so’ Secret Garden. I’m a huge fan of al-fresco and this is a quality experience! Landscaped terrace with patio heaters, huge umbrellas and glass awnings mean our unpredictable British weather isn’t a problem for diners. The lower level overlooks the canal which is rather lovely and very Yorkshirey.
Whilst sat eating, my friend Sarah and I are talking about the people we’ll bring here and all the occasions this place will suit. We had a great first experience, and I for one think it’s a beautiful addition to Yorkshire.
You can visit Alexanders website here – (it’s worth it just to see the fancy moving palm leaves part and the day/night pics!)
Posted on June 8, 2017
Last month, an invitation to the northern flagship store of Carluccio’s came my way. Located on the premises of the legendary Terry’s chocolate shop and café on St Helen’s Square in York city centre, it is the largest and ‘most beautiful’ Carluccio’s restaurant to date.
Having already written about the Ilkley restaurant (purely because it happens to be our home town), I was inclined to turn down, however given the historical building that happens to be involved – accepted.
As part of the new site and exclusive to York, Carlucci’s have launched Terry’s Bar a new Italian cocktail and wine bar, it has undergone a detailed and meticulous refurbishment! Sat supping our gin, we exchanged the thought that this doesn’t feel like a Carluccio’s… or indeed the UK for that matter – we could’ve be anywhere (and I like that!).
Recognise the dome above a la The Titanic movie? Had we had more time, I would have taken more photos of the building because personally, that’s where the beauty lies.
Photo’s of other peoples’ food generally doesn’t interest me, so will keep these to a minimum. Our hosts were excellent (Dominic and Sebastian are charm itself) though we had to wait half an hour for mains to be served which tarnished the evening somewhat having to promptly throw a spoonful or two of dessert down our necks before rushing out for the train. Have fed this back to the team there who could only apologise – we’ve all been there, it happens!
Delays aside, will we return? Absolutely (I have a thing for their paté)! Most of you will know the Carluccio’s vibe so if you’re ever in York, would recommend a visit to this stunning building – if only for a G&T or two!
Posted on April 13, 2017
Every now and then, life presents an occasion for which a classic British afternoon tea is the answer. Outside of what can be, the busier eating times of lunch and dinner, it affords a far more relaxed setting in which to indulge a little luxury.
Crafthouse, located in Trinity Leeds launches it’s afternoon tea tomorrow (just in time for Easter); earlier this week I took Miss P to a preview tasting.
As any no-sugar, no-carb person would, I think agree, if you’re going to break rank on regular dietary disciplines, it needs to be worth it. This was!
The basic afternoon tea menu includes tea’s and coffee’s, with prosecco and Moet as optional extras.
One plate savoury, two sweet, I had wondered if Miss P would touch any of the savoury. The ‘mini burger’ style Yorkshire ham and tomato chutney buns went down a treat and in the end she only left the smoked salmon and charcoal cones for me.
Unlike other rather bland afternoon teas we’ve tasted, the flavours at play were superb and visually it looks fantastic – no standard three tier cake stands here!
The sweet plates were a delight. Raspberry tart, chocolate and praline torte (my favourite) and macaron were all simply heaven. The scones too (which can be a bad experience) were perfection.
Our afternoon tea experience at Crafthouse was one we didn’t pay for. It can be hard for any of us who read blogs, to know how genuinely authentic the author of a post is being if at all we have any idea whether or not they ‘got it free’. As a result, in summation, I try answer two very simple questions; “would I pay for it myself and would I return?” The answer is absolutely!
Afternoon Tea at Crafthouse is available Tuesday – Saturday 2pm – 4.45pm. Prices from £18pp. You can visit the Crafthouse website here
Posted on December 1, 2016
There’s something quite comforting about going to a country pub for Sunday lunch. The tradition of a roast, the smell of a roaring fire, no plans to hurry anywhere afterwards, it’s all rather a splendid affair and more so when it’s cold out!
Recently we visited The Dunsforth, a truly superb gastro-pub in North Yorkshire.
The only pub in Yorkshire to hold a Michelin Bib Gourmand Award, owners Paul and Janine Cunliffe have a simple ethic of serving quality food using the best ingredients. The proof is in the pudding (oh Dad joke, I’m sorry … do I leave it in?).
For me it all starts with the wine, a place has got to get their chardonnay right – it was perfect! Four of us had three courses and other than the edge of the beef being a little tough, were completely satisfied. The starters were incredible; my tomatoes with sorbet and goats cheese was delightfully unusual!
As you’ve probably gathered, I’m no food blogger, but us Braithwaite’s do enjoy our food and would absolutely return here owing to our excellent first visit.
You can visit The Dunsforth Website here (I think they’re developing a new one at present but the basic info’s there).
Posted on November 20, 2016
If a Sunday well-spent brings a week of content, then The Botanist, York is the perfect setting. Visitors to York will no doubt know of the iconic Mulberry Hall on Stonegate which closed earlier this year after 60 years of trading. The Botanist now sits on these premises in the beautiful 1943 building on one of the most picturesque cobbled streets in the city.
Having seen friends’ shenanigans at the Leeds restaurant in my social media feeds, I was excited to be invited to the pre-opening launch of the York venue last week.
The Botanist vibe is laid-back living. Expect comfort-food classics accompanied by botanically-infused cocktails and beers whilst listening to live music sets; a country pub in the city if you will. It’s the kind of place you forget the world outside as the hours while away… it’s ‘a third-place’, kind of place.
Our food and drinks experience matched the setting. There are few places we visit about which can be said “I wouldn’t change a thing” but The Botanist was an exception. The cocktails and wines were amazing, every dish of our three-courses was bang-on (probably not a food writer term); the service, impeccable. The hanging skewers shown (jerk salmon & lamb) are a Botanist signature dish we’re told, and they were something to brag about. The prices are reasonable with starters from £4.95 and mains from £9.95.
We’re already looking forward to returning, no doubt now there’s the Christmas Decorations up… (even more reason to go!)
When the composition of place, product and people is as well-matched as this, the result will always be a little bit special for those party to it. One can only hope that everyone will have the same experience!
You can visit The Botanist Website here.
Posted on May 5, 2016
Banyan Leeds is the fourth ‘Banyan Bar & Kitchen’ to be opened in Yorkshire. Though you wouldn’t know from the exotic name, the ingredients are sourced from local suppliers; Banyan is very much a Yorkshire affair (and there’s 20% off for Lifestyle Yorkshire readers at the end of the post!)
Situated on the site of the Old Post Office in Leeds City Square, (directly opposite The Queens Hotel), it is in a fantastic location. Outdoor seating is always a must when the warmer temperatures arrive and there’s 120 covers to ensure not a moments rays will be missed.
Ahead of it’s launch on April 22nd I was invited to a blogger event which involved tasting bite-sized food and sampling cocktails. My taste buds were delighted!
The restaurant is split over two levels, downstairs has a simple industrial feel; upstairs is dark and decadent.
As the blogger event began, it became quickly apparent that they know what they’re talking about. From navigating the industry they’re in (hospitality/catering), to the details of the cocktails, wine and food… there’s thought gone into Banyan.
What results for you and I is a tantalising (and may I add, affordable) menu for breakfast, lunch, evening meal and late-night drinks.
Fussy eaters welcomed (my words not theirs); CEO Martin Wolstencroft reiterated the need to be on the ball with ever-increasing spectrum of dietary requirements. For example, at breakfast you could have a Full English, or pancakes. If neither of those is to your liking, there’s smashed avocado on toast, or you could go for Super Granola (No grains, no dairy, no gluten, no wheat, no sulphites)!
Our arrival drink, a pea and mint bellini.
Teriyaki belly pork. Am not a great lover of pork – these bites were incredible!
Crushed avocado & pea toasts. Crispy duck spring rolls. Vanilla cheesecake. Salted caramel and chocolate torte
When you’re left wanting more, it’s always a good sign. My return date to Banyan is booked for a few weeks time and am looking forward to full-sized meals, hopefully sat outside!
Banyan Leeds have kindly offered readers of LIFESTYLE YORKSHIRE 20% off. Simply quote LIFESTYLEYORKSHIRE20.
Posted on February 18, 2016
Though chain restaurants can get a bit of the down-thumbing among small independents, the bottom line has got to be, does the space serve a purpose for the community and those it wishes to attract? Carluccio’s opened in Ilkley this week and having received nothing but excellent service every time we have visited others in the area, (mainly Trinity Leeds), we were pleased to see its arrival on our high street.
Suffice to say as we only had a drinks and pastry, this isn’t a review of the food, but to show you the space. The coffee wasn’t anything I remember as particularly special but we enjoyed our time there and the staff were friendly. (Hands-down the best coffee in Ilkley and the place that ticks all three boxes every time is still Toast House.)
Carluccio’s is a safe bet…a good call. We can already see us visiting it more than we did The Grove (which was there before) and we’ve always had great food and service in the past – what’s not to like?!