Tattu, Leeds

This is a frustrating review, to write and to read, because I’m about to tell you all about the magic of Tattu , how it’s customer service ethos is on point and plenty of reasons why you might want to go. I’m also going to tell you why it’s unlikely that I’ll return.

I arrived with my family for our table at 6PM. Tattu was so popular that this was the only table I could book for the night despite it being booked in advance. I was so excited to try the place, I didn’t care what time the table was. When we arrived I gave my name and booking details. The member of staff appeared to find me on the list but then there was long period of time where we stood waiting for instruction and the staff spoke to each other uncomfortably as if something had gone horribly wrong. Eventually we were seated.

It’s a strange atmosphere at 6PM on a summery day. The restaurant decor is very dark and sleek and sexy. The juxtaposition of this against the bright sunny windows felt somewhat clashed. It felt like being in a nightclub in the middle of the day. On that point, the music is just awful. There was loud house/dance type music pounding away at 6pm. I asked our waitress if the music was this loud during the week and she  somewhat proudly announced that it was and it gets louder from 9pm. It doesn’t really go with the tranquil imagery I associate with Chinese culture and it certainly doesn’t make for a pleasant eating environment. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation across the table. This is the reason why I am unlikely to return. I can think of lots of friends and family that I would like to take to Tattu to show them the decor and the food but I would never subject any of them to the atmosphere.

The tables are beautifully decorated but feel a little crowded. There doesn’t seem enough room for everyone to look at the menu and you have to hold it up as there is nowhere to lay it down on the table. Unfortunately, along with the horrendous music, there was an alarm that kept going off continuously. It wasn’t Tattu’s fault, their alarm was being triggered by the alarm of a neighbouring bar. This brings me on to one of the best things about Tattu, the customer service. The alarm was annoying, very annoying. The staff recognised this and  both our waitress and the co-owner came to speak to us to apologise and the co-owner bought us a round of cocktails to apologise. In my opinion, you can tell a lot about a restaurant by the way they handle their mistakes. Tattu had it bang on. We also waited an extremely long time for our dessert to arrive. Again the waitress and co-owner spoke to us, apologised and we got another round of free cocktails. This time it was a sharing cocktail and it was certainly a showstopper! and very tasty too!

We ordered starters and they were all delicious. We had a mix of dim sum and small plates including Wagyu dumplings, lobster and prawn toast and mushroom spring rolls. They were presented beautifully and each tasted delicious. We ordered mains and again they were delicious and looked stunning. Between us we ordered Thai monkfish, caramel soy beef fillet and pork ribs. We had all ordered a different main initially but we were told that they had run out. This was extremely disappointing considering how early it was and that it was a Friday evening, the start of the weekend. I would expect a restaurant to be better stocked. We were advised to order two sides between the four of us as that was more than enough. The side portions are pretty small, I’d recommend ordering a starter each or maybe three between four. We waited an incredibly long time for dessert. Again they had run out of one of our choices, so we each ordered the cherry blossom dessert, which is a really fun and magical dish. It’s certainly worth ordering and is lots of fun but don’t expect anything as refined as the rest of the meal. It is cherry and chocolate flavour and involves candy floss. It makes you feel like a big kid but it just tastes like sugar, very lacking in flavour or quality. Unlike the rest of the food.

The cocktails are great but some are better than others. My first cocktail, recommended by the waitress, was very small and insignificant, not worth the £9. I was envious of everyone else’s that were bigger and better presented, some bubbled, some sparkled. I did later order a peepshow martini and it was incredible! Very good cocktails, I just wasn’t a fan of the ‘Eastside’.

Be careful when coming back from the toilets. They are pretty far away and when you get back through the door to the restaurant, everything is dark and there are mirrors everywhere. It’s hard to work out where to go and two of us walked in to a mirror!

While waiting for our bill a magician came over and did some tricks with us, he was very good and I liked the added fun. At one point, they had made a cocktail and didn’t know who to give it to so they gave it to my mum as it was her birthday, which was a nice touch.

The restaurant gets very smokey over the course of the evening. I wasn’t too bothered by it but it was irritating others.

All in all, I had a good night, but I think that was mostly due to the free cocktails! The food is great and I would love to return but not with the music. I can’t think of anyone who I would recommend it to. I suppose if you are looking for a party atmosphere even while you eat then this could be the place. For me, it was so uncomfortable, I couldn’t wait to leave. Unfortunately, we were there for around three and a half hours in total due to all the waiting. I was over an hour late to the bar I had booked for after my meal. Luckily the bar were fine about it and we could all relax in a peaceful atmosphere once we got there.

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Atmosphere 2/10
Quality 8/10
Service 8.5/10
Value 8/10
Unique 9/10
Overall 5/10


The Cat’s Pyjamas, Eastgate, Leeds

I was attracted to The Cat’s Pyjamas because I love Indian food but I find most Indian places to be very similar, this place has a twist. I’m a big street food fan and I’ve not tried Indian street food before, so I was excited to try it here.

The venue itself is unique, it has a good atmospheric street food feel yet it’s not too crowded and doesn’t have that ‘canteen feel’ that other street food venues have. The open plan kitchen brings lots of lovely inviting smells into the arena!

We were greeted and seated and given a menu. The menu is small but has a good mix of traditional favourites and things you may not have tried before. I like that the menu is small compared to the giant menus you see in traditional curry houses. My only criticism is that a fair chunk of the menu is vegetarian. I don’t mind that so much but my husband is a firm believer of it not being a meal if it doesn’t contain meat! That said, it’s a great place for a group of mixed vegetarian and meat eaters to go together.

We ordered poppadoms and a pickle tray. You just get a standard basket of poppadoms rather than paying per poppadom. The pickle tray was small but tasty and the poppadoms were plentiful. I ordered pani puri to start. They were like little fried baskets filled with tamarind chutney, chilli, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas. They came with a little flavoured water on the side which I had been using as a dip until a waitress came over and explained that the idea was to pour the water in! I wish I had been told that when I received the starter! My husband ordered Keralan beef fry which was a generous portion of chunky tender rump steak cooked with onions and spices and topped with coconut flakes. Both starters were very generously sized.

For main, I ordered Lamb Rogan Josh. It was nice, not the best curry I’ve ever had, not the worst. My husband had the Goan chicken, a mild and almost sweet dish. I wasn’t a fan but then I don’t like mild, sweet curries. We shared rice and an onion and corriander naan bread. The naan was lovely, really tasty and perfectly cooked, fluffy with a delicate crisp. I washed it all down with a mango beer which was delicious and my husband had a nice IPA.

In terms of service, it was all pretty quick and efficient until the end. It really annoys me  when they give you the bill and then disappear for ages. Clearly if I’ve asked for the bill, I want to pay it. I don’t want to look at it while you wipe tables. Generally, the staff were good, checked if things were okay without hassling us. They gave good advice about the food in terms of portions, flavours and consistency. The only downfall was that I missed out on eating the majority of my starter the proper way because it wasn’t explained to me from the beginning.

I think I would go back. There are still things on the menu that I would like to try. If I was craving the full curry experience, I would probably still go to the usual popular places but I’d take friends and family here for something different.

Atmosphere 7.5/10
Quality 7/10
Service 8/10
Value 8/10
Unique 8/10
Overall 7.5/10

Bilboa bar, Leeds

We are spoilt for choice with tapas in Leeds but Bilboa should not be overlooked! I came here with a large group of women and the service was fantastic. They were the perfect combination of seamless efficiency and friendly attentiveness. We were welcomed by a friendly member of staff who guided us to our table and talked through the menus, making recommendations.

The menu has the classics on there that you want such as spanish omelette as well as different things t make them stand out, such as ox cheek in rioja. I went for the ox cheek, a special of scallops with black pudding and some chorizo in cider. Great flavours, decent portions and fast service. Happy customer!

The gin selection was good, with some of my favourite spanish gins including Gin Mare and Nordes. A gin and tonic was a little pricey at £10.50 but my glass was full and the garnish was almost perfect, missing an olive in the Gin Mare.

The waiters glided in and out of sight as and when needed and nobody seemed to be waiting long for anything, pretty impressive considering the size of our group. More impressive was the fact that they sorted us all out with individual bills and again this was done with no fuss in an efficient manner.

Great place, great food, great service, great gin list. I shall be back.

Atmosphere 9/10
Quality 8.5/10
Service 10/10
Value 8/10
Unique 8/10
Overall 8.5/10

Hessian, Oakwood, Leeds

I recently stopped off at the new Hessian cafe for a cappuccino, just to have a nosy at the new addition to Oakwood parade. After browsing the menus and meeting a member of staff there, I knew I would be returning.

Bank holiday weekend seemed like the perfect time to try it out for lunch. We were greeted by warm and welcoming staff. It was great to see a familiar smiley face from Sunshine Bakery amongst the staff crew, I hope he will be a permanent fixture. Hessian is only a small venue and it was bank holiday but I was pleasantly surprised to see how busy it was in there. I love that the menus are small, less pressure on the staff means better quality produce. The food is everything I love, healthy, hearty and wholesome. I love the Mediterranean theme.

I really like the decor and the feel of the place. The small dining area in front of the open plan kitchen has a real cosy, living room feel to it. The only drawback of this is that it is quite cramped and when it’s busy it can get really loud. The chef had a system where he rang the bell when a dish was ready for service to collect. It was so bustling in there that the waiting staff kept missing the bell.

We drew the short straw somewhat with the service. One of the best things about Hessian is the staff team. They are smiley, friendly, helpful and just the right level of chatty. Apart from the man who was serving us unfortunately. He was pleasant enough but it really seemed like he’d rather be anywhere else but there. I had ordered a salad that came with grains, when the salad came there were no grains. I raised this with our waiter and he seemed surprised, went away and came back and said “We ran out of grains, that’s why there weren’t any”. I can think of better, more apologetic ways of putting that message across. I believe a good staff team communicates and the waiting staff and chef should work together to ensure that everyone knows what is and isn’t available before the customer orders. I heard other customers order things and their waiter/waitress knew what was and wasn’t available. There did seem to be quite a lot of things they had run out of but they are new, it was a busy bank holiday and it was late in the afternoon. Overall, the rest of the staff are lovely and fit in well with the welcoming attitudes shown in the other venues on Oakwood parade.

I ordered the grilled halloumi salad which comes with super grains (if you’re lucky), avocado, leaves, roasted red peppers and honey and mustard dressing. My husband ordered Jamon, picante cheese, roasted red pepper and pesto grilled melt. We were both happy with our food. We had ordered polenta wedges but they had run out and in the end we were nicely full anyway. One thing to keep in mind is that they serve the food when it’s ready so you may not eat at the same time, we didn’t. I’m assuming that is usual practice but I’m not sure. Our waited didn’t mention it but as mentioned, he wasn’t exactly on the ball. I also noticed that they offer gluten free bread, always a bonus in my book.

We had some lovely drinks. A nice beer, gin and tonic and a gorgeous espresso martini. I’ve had great espresso martinis and I’ve had some awful ones and this one was definitely up there with the good’uns. The drinks are quite reasonably priced too, £5 for a prosecco, around £7 for a cocktail or gin and tonic.

Overall, I really like Hessian and hope it stays around. I can’t wait to come back for the evening menu and to sample some cakes. I did notice a message on their Facebook page apologising for not offering ‘the full Hessian experience’ over the bank holiday weekend. I think that’s fair enough and goes to show that they are a staff team that care.

Atmosphere 8.5/10
Quality 8.5/10
Service 8.5/10 (based on overall from both visits)
Value 8/10
Unique 8/10
Overall 8.5/10

Pintura, Leeds (Gluten Free friendly)

I have to admit that this is my third visit to Pintura and I love it more and more each time I go! This time was a little different as I wanted to see how easy it is to dine out when you are gluten free. Luckily I am gluten free at the moment by choice and not by necessity, but while I am doing it, I want to experience it fully. All I can say is that if everywhere is as helpful as Pintura was then we are getting it right as gluten free friendly society.

When the server had finished talking through the menu, I asked her which options were gluten free. She asked me if I was gluten free or Coeliac. Big tick. I responded and she replied saying that she would just check with the chef. Moments later, she comes back with my menu, altered to show what I can and can’t have. I was delighted to see that I could still have bread and dessert as I had completely written those off! I could even have cake!


So, on to the food. We went for the garlic and tomato bread, Chorizo, Sirloin steak and fries, Marinated prawns and a pork special. The bread was delicious and you couldn’t tell any difference with it being gluten free bread. I said so at the time to my husband who replied saying he had forgotten that it was gluten free. The chorizo was gorgeous, it had a powerful taste without being overpoweringly strong and acidic like it can be. The texture was nice and soft, a good quality Chorizo. The steak was melt in your mouth and so tasty. My only criticism of this dish was that it came with fries and mustard but nothing to dip the fries in. Luckily I had alioli left over from the prawns. Also I would have liked some more fries as there wasn’t much when sharing between two. The prawns were beautifully fat and juicy, really tasty. I couldn’t taste any garlic in the alioli and would have liked it to be stronger, but that’s my personal preference. The pork trio special was a lovely treat. It came with steak, fillet and a rib, with a celeriac puree accompaniment and some sort of jus type thing. It also came with a separate tiny little crunchy apple, like a very mini toffee apple. Well that just made the evening for me! My only criticism of the special is that it’s pretty hard to share a small rib. Then came the desserts, chocolate mousse and Spanish almond cake, gluten free cake! The desserts were delicious, I didn’t want the cake to end. I’ve had the mousse before and it is deliciously rich and I love the way that it’s presented.

You can’t talk about Pintura without talking about gin. Their gin list is immense. I think it’s best list I’ve ever seen outside of the gin festival brochure. In fact I’m sure it is. A fabulous mix of local and international gins. I love the way that they actually give you a brief description of the gins, rather than just listing the names. They also offer some favourite gin and tonic combinations and of course they are all served with premium tonic, in a decent glass, with a garnish. Another big attraction for Pintura is the service. The staff are just so nice! I have thought this each time I’ve visited. A server came over to see if we needed more drinks. I asked for a Slingsby Rhubarb which is a favourite. The lady told me how she likes to drink it and offered to have one made up for me. I accepted the offer and let me tell you, Slingsby rhubarb with Double Dutch cucumber and melon is an absolute dream!

The other thing that I have yet to mention is the decor. Pintura is just a really lovely place to be. The entire place has a relaxed vibe, particularly the gin bar downstairs. They have managed a unique combination of modern, trendy, urban, relaxed and something almost vintage. I even loved the toilet!

I would urge anyone to go. It makes a fantastic date night but also somewhere to relax with friends and family. I can’t wait for my next trip, I have several gins left to try!

Atmosphere 10/10
Quality 10/10
Service 10/10
Value 9/10
Unique 10/10
Overall 9.99/10

(I really want to give it full marks but there were just a couple of teeny tiny little tweaks required. My full marks are hard to come by!)


Gluten free afternoon tea: 2 Oxford Place, Leeds

It’s no secret that I’m an afternoon tea fan. After a month of being gluten free, I had spent all week looking forward to a gluten free afternoon tea.

2 Oxford Place is a lovely little venue. Tucked away from the masses but still central, it has the feel of a cosy living room yet the convenience of being easy to get to. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed and a couple of hours whizzed by in no time. Although that could have been down to catching up with friends!

You can see from the pictures that the food was plentiful. Too much food in fact for the three of us to manage. We each took home a box of leftovers! It all came beautifully presented. The china cups and saucers were gorgeous and I loved the glass bottle of water.

So on to the main bit, the food. The sandwiches were lovely and such a treat for a gluten free eater. Some gluten free breads are awful! I would have liked to see some meat options and perhaps some smoked salmon. The choices we had were salmon paste,egg, cucumber and cheese and chutney. Although perfectly pleasant, a somewhat disappointing selection.  There was a LOT of cake! Never a bad thing! The cakes were nice and again a welcome treat for a gluten free eater. You can definitely tell the difference between a normal scone and a  gluten free scone. It was really nice but not quite like the real deal.  I didn’t try every cake because there was just way too much but everything I did try was nice. I took some Bakewell tart home for my husband who was pleasantly surprised and said he wouldn’t have known it was gluten free. On balance I personally would have preferred some more savoury selections and a little less on the sweet side.

What let the experience down slightly was the service. The staff were polite and did check on us a couple of times but overall there were too many things that let them down. We had pre-paid a deposit for afternoon tea with a glass of fizz, yet we had to ask for the fizz. I would have expected them to come over and ask us if we are ready for said fizz. A member of staff brought the glasses over while wearing her coat and clearly on her way out. I probably wouldn’t have noticed this so much if she hadn’t repeated how unprofessional it was to her colleague as she served us. I had ordered Earl Grey tea and was brought some sort of smokey tea. To be fair, the smokey tea was really nice. However, it wasn’t what I asked for. We had a menu on our table which listed everything that was in the afternoon tea. Not happy with the mountain of cake we already had, we noticed that there was Victoria sponge on the list but not on our cake stand. We mentioned this to a waitress who went to investigate. She came back and explained that the Victoria Sponge was only on their sample menu. This was a little odd as everything on that menu was on our stand except the sponge. We were sitting right in front of the bar yet it seemed to take ages to get anything, the fizz, the bill, the card machine etc.

Overall, it was a nice experience. If you are 100% gluten free and need an afternoon tea then I would recommend it. Personally, I wouldn’t return for afternoon tea. At £25.00 per head, I’ve had a lot better and a lot cheaper. BUT, that is me who plays gluten free and could take the hit and eat gluten full. I would consider returning to 2 Oxford Place for lunch or dinner but I would hope for better service.

Atmosphere 9/10
Quality 6.5/10
Service 6/10
Value 6/10
Unique 10/10
Overall 6.5/10

2 Oxford Place, Leeds, LS1 3ZX, 0113 234 1294




Pintura pop up

Next month I am booked to go back to Pintura and I cannot wait! I have been a few times and I’ve loved it more each time! For those of you that don’t know, Pintura is a Spanish tapas bar in the centre of Leeds. It’s a gorgeous venue with amazing food and divine gin bar on the bottom floor.  Thinking about it made me think back to Yorkshire Day last year.

To celebrate Yorkshire Day, Pintura did a pop up bar in the Trinity Centre in Leeds. They served Spanish Pintxos with a Yorkshire twist. For example above you can see salmon and cucumber sandwich in squid ink bread buns and toad in the hole made with Chorizo. It was gorgeous. Pintura are known for good gin and they did not let us down. They served a number of Yorkshire style cocktails but the best one by far was one that was made with Slingsby rhubarb gin. If you are looking for a good rhubarb gin look no further than Slingsby, also referred to as ‘The spirit of Harrogate’. I’ve had a lot of Rhubarb gin, I’ve made Rhubarb gin. I’ve never had one as good as Slingsby’s!

I can’t wait to return next month and sample more gin and tapas! Review to follow…

Sunday lunch, The Midnight Bell, Leeds

Walking in to the The Midnight Bell felt like having a really good cuddle. Stepping in from the bitter cold winds in to a warm and homely pub felt heavenly. I brought with me guests from Spain and I wanted to give them a fantastic Sunday roast experience. I knew instantly that I had chosen a good place, warm, cosy and brilliantly British.

The decor and atmosphere were exactly what I was looking for, there was mulled wine on the bar, everything was looking good….. I just hoped the food would match.

I was very pleased! We all chose roast beef but I’m sure the other options would be equally as delicious. The beef was cooked to perfection, juicy and flavourful, good Yorkshire pudding, great veg and beautiful beef and ale gravy. I have never tasted cabbage as nice! When even the cabbage impresses me, you know it’s a winner! There was plenty of food, enough to make you feel like you needed a nap afterwards but not so much that quality was compromised. In fact, the only thing I would change is that I would add stuffing. I was looking forward to showing our Spanish guests a proper roast experience in Leeds and was disappointed in the lack of stuffing. That said, they loved it and I can’t wait to return!

Atmosphere 10/10
Quality 9/10
Service 9/10
Value 9/10
Unique 9/10
Overall 9.5/10


Vice and Virtue, Leeds


A recent trip to the theatre gave me the perfect opportunity to visit a restaurant from my ‘On my radar’ section, Vice and Virtue.

Blink and you miss it, Vice and Virtue is situated in a building in the Northern Quarter over the road from Sandanista. The building used to be home to a strip club and although they have done their best with it, there are still some reminders left behind in the bar, such as the stage and the rope barrier.

That said, the bar is cosy and well stocked. The cocktail list is good, varied and creative. We had a strawberry and basil gin cocktail and a rhubarb flavoured gin cocktail, which was called Yorkshire Lass. Both were dreamy! The barman was very friendly and enthusiastic and offered to make us whatever our hearts desired.

Being pushed for time, we moved quite quickly to the restaurant upstairs. The friendly barman happily gathered our drinks and carried them upstairs to our table for us. The dining room was also cosy and well laid out. It was pretty quiet as we were the only people there, but it was only 5.30pm. The staff upstairs were just as friendly and enthusiastic as the barman downstairs. We were presented with several tasting menus at various prices to peruse. They do an extremely reasonable pre-theatre menu at £23 per person. I was, however, tempted by the classic menu at £35 per person. There were also two other more ‘prestige’ menus available.


Let’s start with the food -tastes great, looks great, creative, exciting. I love it when a meal surprises me (in a good way!) and this didn’t fail. The amuse bouche paired quails scotch egg with a blackberry coulis. Egg and blackberry you say? together? but wait…it works! Smoked oyster – delicious. The first dessert came with half the plate covered in red powder. I fast reverted to a child and had to dip my finger in it and taste it. I was smacked in the face with a blast of zing raspberry, just delightful. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Thyme ice cream but it was actually really nice and went well with the treacle pave. The pave itself I wasn’t that keen on. It was well executed but just not for me. The orange curd was absolutely gorgeous.

The staff here really stand out as being friendly, passionate and creative. I wanted a gin and tonic and asked the staff to surprise me with which gin they brought. The waiter immediately took on the challenge and with a look of excitement expressed that they relish the opportunity to get creative. I was assured that they were working on something special for me at the bar. Moments later I was presented with a beautiful copa glass of Old tom gin with rose liqueur and elderflower tonic, decorated with a rose head and petals. It looked and tasted absolutely beautiful.

I really liked it here. It’s different and it’s creative and it has a good vibe. Furthermore, it has potential to be even better and I would bet that the staff know that and embrace the challenge with passion and excitement. I’m looking forward to seeing how this place develops. My only concern is that it’s not somewhere you would walk past and drop in so it relies on people actively seeking it out. I’ll be doing my best to recommend it to people, I’d love to see this place a bit more busy.

Atmosphere 8/10
Quality 8.5/10
Service 10/10
Value 9/10
Unique 9/10
Overall 9/10



Little Tokyo, Leeds

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Little Tokyo is one of the many hidden gems in Leeds. Tucked away behind House of Fraser, if you found yourself walking that way, you could be forgiven for walking straight past it. You would do better not to though.

The place itself is truly unique, with traditional seating and  big bridge over a fish pond. The atmosphere and setting transports you to a world well away from the back streets of Leeds City Centre. Occasionally on Friday and Saturday evenings you might even catch sight of the staff wearing strange costumes and fighting with light sabers. An unusual event and not quite fitting with the tranquil setting, but hey if that’s what they want to do, then why not!?

I have been here several times and the food never disappoints! I generally always go for my usual, Dim Sum Sui Mai with sweet chilli sauce to start and Chicken Teriyaki Bento box. The chilli sauce that comes with the starter is incredible! I have also tried some of the sushi and noodles dishes and they have been gorgeous too. They also cater for vegetarians and vegans – not just token dishes but a decent selection. If you ask me, a Bento box is the way to go. It comes in a tray separated into sections. Each box comes with salad, tempura vegetables, rice with a seaweed topping and a section for your chosen main. The salad dressing is just beautiful! It is wonderfully tangy with a hint of ginger. The boxes come in at around £15 and I have never left anything other than bursting full! Great value for money in my opinion. Unfortunately the lighting in my photos do not do it justice. I’ve been here on several date nights (with my husband!), with small groups of friends and larger groups and the atmosphere has been spot on. Now I’ve been talking about it, I’ll be craving it until I go again!

Atmosphere 9/10
Quality 8/10
Service 7/10
Value 8/10
Unique 9/10
Overall 8.5/10