Tag Archives: friends of ham

Top Dishes of 2017

It’s that time of year again, a time to whip out the old phone pics and bag a quick blog post. Its my eating highlights of 2017. As ever there has been some great feeds. I have merely chipped a few down that seem worth mentioning. I’m sure I know I will have missed a few out, but here goes…..

First up, one of my fave new places, ‘Friends of Ham’ in Leeds. A simple slice of pigs cheek on sourdough with a potato salad and a pint of hazelnut mild. Simple but delicious. I urge everyone to try.


Had a super meal at the rejuvenated ‘Beastro’ (review here) in Spinningfields, Manchester. Steak is a speciality. They go from strength to strength. Well worth a visit anytime of day. The signature breakfast wrap sooths hangovers like a dream……


An unusual but rather splendid meal was had at a campsite in Conwy, North Wales. It was at ‘Signatures’. Despite catering for thirty odd people, a fine dining experience for just over thirty quid was enjoyed. Get your camping gear on chaps…..


One found oneself wholed up in Tenby, South Wales. A rather agreeable crab timbale and a fresh sea-trout at ‘The Plantagenet House’ by The Harbour worked wonders for the soul. recommended if you’re ever as far west in Wales as you can possibly get.


A surprisingly decent crab salad with herbs and asparagus was had at ‘The Rose and Crown’, which was sadly a rather garish and unassuming gastropub in Fishguard. That said they have a chef who knows what he is doing. Simple exquisite.


Ventured to old favourite ‘Baratxuri’ in Ramsbottom for a lunchtime snack, ended up sat in their new ‘comedor’ (dining room!) having a full chicken with all the trimmings! I’ve run out of superlatives for this place. You must go.


I love a reuben! Manchester’s street food heroes ‘Northern Soul’ do a superb New Yorker. Cheese toasties on steroids.


Seafood specialist and newcomer to Manchester ‘Randall and Aubin’ (reviewed here) provided a sumptuous array of oysters, crab and tuna for our wedding anniversary this year. Their twitter feed highlights many other delights. The fish and chips looks like a winner.


Talking of fish and chips, we stumbled on ‘The Ferry Tavern’ in Penketh near Warrington.  It’s all it does! It does it well though and a nice view of the Mersey gateway Bridge…..


Took a colleague for a corking lunch in Manchesters Nothern Quarter. They have a new authentic mexican restauraunt called ‘El Taquero’. We loved it.  Pork and pineapple taco anyone? Say yes when asked…..


I’ve mentioned many times that you can press a pin blindfold onto a map of The Ribble Valley and you will find somewhere decent to eat. Came by accident across ‘The Aspinall Arms’ in Mitton near Whalley. Corking pigeon starter amongst.


Trooped round Shoreditch on my own one Saturday. Fellow foodies pointed me to Smokestak. Unfortuantely I’d eaten but managed to squeeze these sticky pig tails in as a little snack. Will be back for a full feed one day.


The Boys hit Dublin in a rainy January. away from Temple Bar we stumbled on Darkey Kellys. Best Guiness and a blimnding Guiness stew for a hearty lunch. Recommended.


Finally and easily the best meal of the year for me. My birthday bash was spent at Simon Rogans’s Michelin starred L’Enclume. Stunning food in a fabulous setting with a glorious front of house. I need to go again and again. Review here.


So there it is for now. By no means exhaustive. I could have added many burger pics! but youve seen them before. Hope to add a bit more diversity in 2018, going to Cuba soon. What do they eat there?……


Shears Yard – Leeds

“Found another gem deep in the bowels of Leeds. Im starting to really like Leeds”

Whilst on the one hand I had to take The Flame to a James Blunt concert, it did mean on the other hand In could eat and drink in Leeds again! I like Leeds. We lunched on charcuterie at ‘Friends of Ham’ whilst quaffing Hazelnut Mild! And then hit The Reliance for an after show pint and whisky. Great start to the weekend.


Next day, a Sunday, we met up with long time chums who had setup lunch at ’Shears Yard’. Set in the old, cobbled, under developed section of the town, behind the incredible Corn exchange, we were greeted with a huge monolithic concrete arch. Some chap had skilfully chiselled the name into the plinth above. It’s a grand entrance.


It’s no less splendid inside as you step down into this former industrial yard. Its been stripped back and spruced and fitted out with stringy lights, blonde wood tables and chairs sprinkled with the odd sage upholstery. Lights beams in from the roof lights, bringing an orange glow to the open brickwork and concrete half walls. I loved it.

Decent choice of ales, though I actually chose a can of Sputnik IPA, very pleasant too. As it was a Sunday the menu was a single sheet of A4 extolling the virtues of a Sunday lunch. It read well. A variety of locally sourced produce listed.


We ordered up and soon our starters arrived. The Flame went for the soup of the day, which on the day was a fine, fiery red, tomato and chilli for £6. I went for the cured sea trout, smoked trout croquette, wasabi mayonnaise with cucumber and apple (£6.50). Very delicate and light, beautifully presented.

mackerel, cured trout, risotto

Others had the ‘risotto’ of pearl barley and Jerusalem artichoke, grapes, truffle butter, artichoke crips and parmesan (£6). Looked a little messy on the plate but rather good I’m told. The real winner for me was the mackerel fillet mi cuit, smoked mackerel mousse, pickled kohlrabi, leek oil, dill and black onion seeds. Looked super and tasted sensational, wished id have ordered it. Great start.


Mains for the male specimens in the troupe featured Sykes House farm sourced pork and beef for the trad Sunday lunch. Both £13.50, both splendid examples. The seasonal vegetables equally decent. The ladies both went for the salmon fillet with a brown butter sauce with capers and lemon, served with roast beetroot, chard and a dill yoghurt (£15). A bowl of hot, triple cooked, salted chips were used to mop up the juices.


From a fine range of desserts I went for the front of house recommended eton mess, which was flavoured with blackberry and green tea, a blackberry compote, matcha meringue and a yoghurt sorbet (£6). As good as it was the real gem was the Jerusalem artichoke and coconut cake with coconut cream frosting and frozen apple (£6). The cake was a moistened triumph. Ive never had Jerusalem artichoke in a cake before! Superb.

The menu changes quite a bit and is seasonal. Jerusalem artichokes did well this week! I would love to get back some time to try the a la carte. It’s a fine environment to eat and testament to the fine eateries that are popping up in Leeds. Its a thumbs up from me.

Shears Yard
11-15 Wharf Street,
The Calls,
tel: 0113 244 4144