Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Salvo's - Headingley Lane, Leeds

Talk about Leeds institutions, this place is up there with the best. Recent winner of the F Words best Italian local restaurant and much deserved. Salvo’s has been cranking out Italian cuisine since 1976, that’s a long time and a good number of years before I was born, any way you should all know the back story.

If you don’t and you live in Leeds you probably don’t like food so I’m not sure why you are reading this. Sundays at Salvo’s and you can book, perfect as any other time you have to wait for a table!

We arrived just before 12.30 doors were still closed and the staff were having their briefing. I had promised myself I wouldn’t be one of these people who turns up at the doors of restaurant before it opens but I’m glad we were early.

Within moments of the door opening we were shown to our table and our coats whisked away, I turned around to survey the place and POW! It was packed...

Admittedly you do have to wait a little bit for service when it’s like this, the staff are getting everyone sat so it takes a while for everyone to get sorted.

A bottle of Lager takes the edge off while we are waiting to have our order taken and as my main action point for the afternoon is to have a nap a beer at lunch is in order.

They have a set menu to choose from which is fantastic value or you can choose from the full A’la Carte menu if you want. The lady had a Antipasto Alla Pecorara, which was smoked Ewes cheese with grilled Aubergines and Peppers, it looked beautiful.

I was sticking with the set menu and chose the Pate Della Casa. Which was typically smooth served with Orange Marmalade on crostini, could have done with a bit more bread as there was quite a lot of Pate which is not a bad situation to be in! The Orange citrus cutting through the creamy Liver.

Mains and I had to go for the Loin of Suckling pig served with roast Potatoes, Carrots and Parsnips with a Thyme Jus. The loin was deliciously marbled with creamy, velvet fat and the roast vegetables sat perfectly next to it.

I love pig so this was perfect, had the skin been a bit more like crackling I might have just had the perfect meal but as it was it was slightly chewy but beautiful all the same.

The lady went for the Tris, grilled red mullet, sea bass & king prawn with new potatoes and salsa Verde. Far too healthy for my liking but good god I almost thought I’d made the wrong choice for a moment.

I’ve been a number of times now and I’m yet to be disappointed with Salvo’s, long reign the Dammone clan!

Salvo's on Urbanspoon

Monday, 7 December 2009

Nation of Shopkeepers - Cookridge Street, Leeds

I’d been looking forwards to coming to this place for a while now, I’d heard good things about the food and wanted to know what had changed since the courtyard days. Climbing up the stairs we were greeted by a sullen Door Monkey.

Door Monkey: You got members cards?
Me: I wasn’t aware it was members only?
Door Monkey: Just wait...

Less than a minute later we were ushered in, apparently our now only moderately more friendly Door Monkey wanted some “Rugby Lads” to “fuck off” he wasn't letting them in so we had to wait.

I was not left with a great sense of hope about the place after our initial encounter with the door man, essentially the brand ambassador if you like. We got in... the bar was busy, dark and looked like it was getting into the swing of things... A band was setting up on Stage. This could be good me thinks...

Quick pit stop break was required so a few of us went. In the toilets chatting about the door debacle and another punter cheeps in with his view on situation “ I'm a member here, sometimes they don’t let people in if they don’t look cool enough”.

I politely explained the situation, he didn't seem to get that I wasn’t impressed with his insinuation that our group was possibly not cool enough to come in so my next response was slightly more condescending He mumbled “I don’t know why I bothered” as he walked away... “I don’t either... Thank you though” back to the bar.

The Lady and the rest of the group were still waiting to be served, the bar was busy so fair enough. Amstell on draft, nice! I think had we just walked straight in as we came in my view would be completely different right now but I hate the idea that people are not allowed because they don’t fit with the clique...

The guys who were refused entry didn't look like trouble and probably would have had one drink and moved on if they didn't like the place.

It could have just been the guy on the night, it might be completely different the next time but first impressions count a lot sadly. I’ll give it another go sometime but I’m not rushing back. There is an option for feedback on the website but sadly they don't give you the code...