This blog is on the move

I’ve taken the plunge and am now moving this blog to a self-hosted version. The new version is live now at – if you subscribe by email or RSS it may be worth checking that you’re still signed up.

I look forward to seeing you on the other side 🙂

What the food inspectors found in Leeds

The latest part of my investigation into the food premises which received zero ratings during their hygiene inspections is now in and we can see what happened at Leeds takeaways.

Back in July  I started asking various councils across the north of England to open up their files and share what the inspectors found in your take-aways, restaurants and food stores.

The last council to respond has been Leeds which has now detailed the six premises judged to need “urgent action”.

The hygiene standards found at the time of inspection are rated on a scale. At the bottom of the scale is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required. At the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this means the hygiene standards are very good.”

The six were:

* Wike Ridge Inn, Leeds Golf Centre, Wike Ridge Lane, Alwoodley , Leeds LS17 9JW.
Last inspected 11.03.2011. Next Inspection due 9.8.12

* Chapeltown Supermarket, 170 Chapeltown Road
Chapeltown, Leeds LS7 4HP. Last inspected 11.03.2011. Next inspection due 11.9.12
(Note: this report hasn’t been posted yet)

* Shaan Pizza 27 Harehills Road, Leeds LS8 5HR.
Inspected 8.3.12
Next Inspection due 7.9.12

* Kamrans Tandoori, 77 King Street, Drighlington, Bradford. BD11 1EJ
Inspected 6.3.12
Next Inspection due 6.3.12

* Shawarma 73A Raglan Road, Woodhouse, Leeds LS2 9DZ
Inspected 7.3.12
Next Inspection due 7.9.12

* The Jade, 254 Tong Road, Farnley, Leeds LS12 3BG
Inspected 29.2.12
Next Inspection due 29.8.12

You can now read the full findings from the inspections of each of the premises by clicking on the appropriate place on the map or by downloading them here.

I used the Freedom of Information Act to ask five cities – Sunderland, Carlisle, Middlesbrough, Manchester and Leeds – to supply these details of the premises which their inspectors rated zero in the past year using a process that is open to anyone.

If you’d like to know what the inspector found in your local take-away, you can also join in with the investigation in other locations. The full instructions of how to submit a simple Freedom of Information Request and add your results to the map can be found here.

Street food fights, home delivery and other food news from the north

Hungry GeckoA round-up of foodie news and events from around the north this week:

* Fancy a meal cooked up by a chef and brought round your house? If you’re in Manchester a business doing just that is setting up in the city after running in the capital for the past year. says: “Housebites’ unique model allows customers to browse daily menus created by local chefs at, place an order for a specific time slot and have high quality meals delivered to their door, often by the chef themselves. Because chefs are limited to serve their immediate vicinity, food is never delivered long distance and given the time to go cold.” If you try it out, please do let us know how you get on.

* A celebration of street food is on the cards for Newcastle folk with an Urban Night Feast at the end of September. Organisers say: “The smells of Thai, Spanish, Caribbean, Indian and British food will fill the air, along with music and laughter – so come with friends, grab a drink and enjoy!”  The event runs from 6pm to mednight from 27-29 September.

* And more street food…..for the first time, the Bolton Food Festival (August 24 to 27) will include a designated al fresco dining area, called Gourmet Kitchen, featuring a variety of traders selling high-end international street food. Situated on the south side of Victoria Square (near Newport Street), the Gourmet Kitchen will include Harvey Nichols’ Gastronomique van selling French cuisine and The Hungry Gecko, Asian street food by Masterchef 2011 finalist Jackie Kearney

* And finally on the topic of street food…… The Guardian takes a look at the tensions that arise between established traders and the fly-ins of the streets in this round-up of clashes from from  Blackburn to Saltburn.

* Talking of thorny topics, the Liverpool food blog Food Fascination kicks off a debate about the responsibility food critics on local newspapers should take with keeping their reviews real. “Local newspapers have a duty to provide high quality accurate criticism, it’s only to the benefit of the city and it’s readers,” he writes before taking the Liverpool Echo to task for a recent write up.

* Experienced north west restaurateur Jaf Siddiqi has promised his latest venture, premium Indian restaurant Malai, will help bring back the authenticity of the famous ‘Curry Mile’ area of south Manchester, the Big Hospitality website reports.

* Remember the announcement about the re-opening of the Wetherby Whaler? Well Leeds Grub has a guest blog trying out the famous old Harry Ramsden’s – from the somewhat challenging viewpoint of someone who doesn’t eat fish. Mel of Yummy in Yorkshire explains: “Now it’s important that I confess that as a “flexitarian” I don’t eat fish and so go to places like this for the chips instead – but I had a fish fan with me so I can comment on the quality of the fish!”

* A York pub only opened within the last nine months has already won a nationally recognised award by being chosen as the regional winner in the Best Cask Beer Pub section of the prestigious Great British Pub Awards. One and Other reports:

“The York Tap based on Platform 3 at York station is the brainchild of the owners of fellow beer emporiums Pivni and Sheffield’s own Tap, and has been serving up a wide range of speciality and artisan beers and ales, as well as their Czech house beer Bernard, to thirsty commuters, tourists and keen locals willing to make the trip.”

* Liverpool-born celebrity chef Aiden Byrne has backed a campaign to promote food from Liverpool City Region.
Food Tourism Connect is funded by the Rural Development Programme for England.  The initiative is a commitment to raising the profile of rurally produced food among visitors to Liverpool City Region and to drive demand by promoting it direct to consumers, buyers and wholesaler. Kirkby-born Aiden, formerly head chef at the Dorchester and the youngest ever chef to receive a Michelin Star, supports the campaign because of his own commitment to using locally grown, fresh ingredients. “This region has a great deal to celebrate when it comes to food production. The food we produce is of the highest quality and it is about time we started creating a strong brand in the way other food producing regions have.’

* The exploits of  food nut blog reports from the weekend’s Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival and finds a ginga ninja rather too hot to handle.
If you’ve some food news to share, feel free to add it via the comments below or drop me an email foodiesarah AT or tweet @foodiesarah.

Leeds to host new ‘pop up’ restaurant Chateau Marmot

Have you heard of Chateau Marmot?

If you’re in Leeds then you might be about to discover this new restaurant – it’s just I just don’t know exactly when or where it will be!

Claiming to offer a “mind blowing gastronomic experience” on August the 17, 18 or 19th  the evening is being cooked up by chef Miles Dupree (pictured) who is taking a break from London’s  Ottolenghi..

Organisers say the event follows on from a celebrated sell-out run in York, for two nights and a Sunday lunch the Chateau will pop up in a secret venue in the centre of Leeds to serve up a five course tasting menu featuring creative, locally sourced, Modern British food with an international twist and new cooking techniques courtesy of Dupree:

“I want to share some exciting takes on classic dishes as well as interesting new techniques and flavour pairings with people in Yorkshire this summer.  Our forager in Harrogate is out raiding the hedgerows and our organic farmers in North Yorkshire are selecting their best meat and veggies for us as we speak.  It’s going to be fun!”

Owners Theo Cooper and Danielle Treanor got in touch to explain that Chateau Marmot will feature a tasting menu able to compete with the best but minus the formality of a Michelin starred restaurant, as Danielle explains:

“We want to outlaw the stuffiness associated with eating amazing food; for people to have a fantastic time and be blown away by the food they’ve eaten in a friendly and unexpected context. I’m from Yorkshire and I know the passion people have for food here.”

Duck egg pop quinoa

Guests will dine on a five course tasting menu for just £28 per head with dishes such as roast duck breast, orange puree, black olive, quinoa and almonds or poached snapper, turnips, radish, butter dashi and Dupree’s secret recipe liquorice powder. Drinks will be primarily BYO with wine pairings suggested by their sommelier on their website, they will also serve award winning Rudgate Brewery beer and feature a cheese cart, packed with Yorkshire cheeses.

All of this will be taking place in a secret central Leeds location to be revealed to guests a few days before their booking. There will be art pieces from the Marmot’s own private collection on display and occasional special guests.

To book a ticket go to

Follow the Marmot’s foodie exploits on Twitter @chateaumarmot

The hunt to find the north’s best food and drink blog is on

The Blog North Awards opened for nominations earlier this week giving readers the chance to mark their appreciation for the hours of dedicated blogging going on across our vast region.

It’s an expansion of what was previously the Manchester Blog Awards (I’ve blogged more on that here) and there’s a dedicated food and drink section.

I’ve already singled out a few of the food blogs I enjoy following and given them a nomination – have you? The entries remain open until September 7.

If you’re not yet a signed up food blog subscriber, you can browse the ones I know about via the map here, I hope that leads to a journey of discovery. The nomination form for the awards is here.

Good luck to all nominees and, should any of my regular readers fancy giving this blog a mention, then I’d be most honoured too!

Product trial: Guinness gourmet peanuts and cashews


Nuts and beer. Beer and nuts. Go together like …..well beer and nuts. So some bright spark has decided to put them together and come up with beery nuts.

Packaging: Being Guinness branded, they’re in quality packaging with the black wrapping and distinctive gold harp. They look pricey – and they are £1.49 for 90g.

Taste: The packaging says they are “seasoned with the flavours of Guinness and Steak”. They have a deep flavour and fairly sweet. A bit more-ish but given them blind I would have been hard pushed to identify the flavour as Guinness I think.

Verdict: They’re something a bit different – a lot less harsh and bitty than a standard dry roast. Why not try them with beer?

* The goods were provided free of charge for review purposes. Please note, if you wish to provide goods for review, they are accepted on the understanding that good, bad or indifferent, this blog’s product trials section says it as it finds it.

Yorkshire brewery’s Olympic Medal Pursuit

As Yorkshire sits at seventh place in the Olympic medal table it seems  medal fever is now even spreading to food and drink.

Inspired by Otley’s silver medal athlete Lizzie Armitstead, Pool-in-Wharfedale based independent brewery WharfeBank has produced Medal Pursuit.

The brewer says it’s already proving to be a popular drink at Wharfebank’s Otley riverside pub, The Fleece, as the town unites in toasting her success.

Martin Kellaway, M.D of WharfeBank Brewery said: “Lizzie’s success further highlights that this area is full of ambition and determination –we were behind her from the start and love what she’s achieved and wanted to mark it with something fitting in our own special way”.

“We think it’s key she knows how proud her town is of her and we hope she gets the chance to come and have a drink when she gets back!”

Medal Pursuit is “A refreshing deep golden traditional bitter brewed using maris otter pale ale malt and English Pilgrim and Challenger hops, creating a wonderful session beer. Brewed to celebrate our Olympic successes and show our support for our own Yorkshire girl.”

Yorkshire Day launch of new food website out of Yorkshire has launched today. It’s an expansion of the Leeds-based coffee and smoothie chain Out of the Woods which, the owners say, will offer British folk the opportunity to discover food and drink from independent suppliers across Yorkshire.

Out of the Woods opened its first shop on Water Lane in 2006 and after four years, Jon Baldwin and co-owner Ross Halliday, were able to open a second shop in Granary Wharf in 2010, where they offer people in the city healthy alternatives in a relaxed and natural environment.

Jon said: “Our customers have told us that they love the locally sourced produce available in our cafes and so the next logical step was to take this online and share these quality ingredients and products with everyone who shares our passion for great tasting food from local suppliers. will also provide pre-prepared hampers for people that are looking to give the perfect gift to food lovers or Yorkshire expats.”

Suppliers stocked on the site will range from well-known sweet producer Farrah’s of Harrogate, to the up and coming Harrogate Preserves and Toftly Treats.

This new venture has been brought to life with the help of employee Chris Large who has a background in e-commerce and shared enthusiasm for local produce. will also provide corporate packages for client gifts or hotels.

Products can be delivered to your home or office, or collected from Out of the Woods’ shop in Granary Wharf, Leeds.