Saturday, 29 May 2010

Pannier Market - Granary Wharf, Leeds

Getting out of bed on this cold and wet Saturday morning was tougher than I’d expected. Hampered by the beginnings of a pounding hangover I wasn’t sure that going out to stand in the rain was a good idea but needs must. I had to find out what all the fuss was about with the new Pannier Market based at Granary Wharf, we braved the rain to head down.

Walking along the canal all seemed quite quiet when we got there at ten, I was expecting to see the stalls out on the little square but It quickly dawned on me that the whole thing was inside, the developers opened up the empty shops to let the stall holders set up inside. Perfect as the rain slowly running down my face was not doing my headache any favours.

We had a cheeky cuppa in the City Inn as people were still setting up but when we wandered over again it was getting into the swing of it. There is a really good mix of food and crafts on offer. The Pannier Market is definitely pushing the creative angle with an interesting selection of stalls, it was good to see Memo Helen down there with Larry the Squirrel as well.

Food wise we weren’t left wanting either, Calderdale Cheese had an impressive selection of wares and we left with some of the Cheddar and fresh milk in a bottle. I had to get some of Olley and Olley’s Sausages, I’m only writing this now as they’ve helped coax me back into the world of the living after a very restorative Cumberland Sausage sandwich.

My star of the show? Brown and Blondes cakes and fancies… The Malteser Brownie was awesome and the Meringues looked like little clouds waiting to float into my mouth. We walked away with some so I’ll show you the results soon enough.

All in all it’s inspired me to take the next step and I think I’ll be setting up my own stall soon enough, I can’t do it for June because of Glastonbury but watch this space. Now to just decide what to do!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Relish - Grassington, West Yorkshire

I love finding little gems just pottering about with no real plan. We were wandering round Grassington at the weekend and stumbled upon Relish.

A very surprising and well stocked deli and Greengrocers in the middle of what could be a quite traditional town otherwise. They had a truly amazing selection of cheese, I must admit though I made a bit of a mistake in the shop.

I let the Lady choose the cheese and we'd gone for Katy's White Lavender Cheese. It's basically a Ewe's milk cheese matured with Lavender leaves and tastes like something you'd find in a pot-pouri bowl.

I tried some of the meats on offer as well and sadly they were eaten too quickly to get any shots. The home cooked ham with a mustard crust went in a flash, the hot pepperoni and sauscison went soon after.

I'd recommend you ask him to cut them finely though as I'd got some hefty chunks of cured meat. This is a great little shop and it was still open at four o'clock in the afternoon on a Saturday when all but the Spar was closed so a pleasing find after some serious walking in the dales.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Old Hall Inn - Threshfield, West Yorkshire

Good old fashioned grub in a good old fashioned pub? The Old Hall Inn is a twee old place, in the seemingly two street village of Threshfield.

The solid Yorkshire stone of the building, the wooden furniture of the main bar and the trusty hand pulled beer on tap all set certain expectations into your mind.

They had Landlord on tap, the food was fine and the service friendly but why wasn't I impressed?

I went for the home-made pate, a rustic non-descript Liver variety, it wasn't indicated on the menu which animal had given up it's goodness...

For mains I went for the "Award winning Bangers and Mash". Again the menu didn't elaborate further, I was beginning to see a trend here.

The sausages were good and the gravy was rich and thick; the mash though let it down and was a bit lumpy.

All in all the food and service is fine, good in all honesty but only in the way that so many other country pubs are good. I could have had this meal anywhere in the Dales. If you are hungry and driving by you could do a lot worse.

Of the four of us everyone was happy with their meals and agreed it was good pub food but we didn't stick round for deserts. To kind of indicate my mild apathy towards it I couldn't be bothered to take photos of the food.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Three Mariners – Oare, Kent

It’s good to get out and about, a change of scene every now and again always helps to recharge the batteries. We’d travelled down to Kent at the weekend to visit the Lady’s folks and they very kindly took us out for dinner.

The Three Mariners is a quaint old pub, very charming with its wooden beams and neutral décor. The walls adorned with modern art and the open fire that all help towards painting that old world meets city bistro picture quite well.

Interestingly as well it opens as a post office on Mondays, Oare is well out of the way and like the rest of the countryside has lost those little services we get used to living in cities.

Now I can only really talk about what I’d chosen as we were chatting and the wine was flowing and I was enjoying myself rather than taking everything in the way I perhaps should have.

The menu is sourced locally where possible changing with the seasons and updated daily on the specials board as well. At the moment British Asparagus is in season and was proudly featured on the specials board, made all the more special by being sourced just down the road from the pub.

I didn’t choose it but I made sure that I stole a little while I had the chance. It was char-grilled fiercely so it was beautifully blackened in places and served with dry cured ham and the freshest baby mozzarellas I’ve tried in a long time.

I’d chosen the Potted Duck, a deep dish of the creamiest duck meat; confited then shredded and allowed to cool served with toasted brioche. It was perfect, I could honestly have eaten a lot more but as a starter it was a good size to get me going.

Mains wise the menu is centered round the spoils of the sea. Being a stones throw from the coast it’d be foolish to not take advantage of this and the menu has a good selection. I’d chosen Wild Sea Bass with Pepper Puree and New Potatoes.

The fish simply cooked the skin crisp and the flesh just set, working well with the sweet pepper puree. All the mains were healthy portions and presented well. For desert I went for the now traditional Crème Brulée, it’s my little barometer of taste if you like.

It was a hefty portion served in a mini Le Creuset dish. Though pretty it was actually a bit too much and certainly not the best Brulée I’ve had in the past twelve months but good all the same.

I’d definitely recommend the trip out to try the Three Mariners, the service was friendly and attentive and at £150 for four with a bottle of Prosseco and a bottle of Gavi di Gavi, I’d say it was pretty reasonable.