Sunday, 29 January 2012

Friday - Create

This weekend Joe's mum (@mrs_ordinary) came to stay with us so we thought it would be a good opportunity to pop in to Leeds for some dinner delights.

Since Create opened towards the end of 2011, we have been promising we would go there for dinner.  I will say it now - we are not jumping on the Jay Rayner band wagon - yes he did do a lovely review a few weeks ago but that's not why we were going!  We went back in November 2011 for an early doors vodka tasting and food demonstration (vodka on a post night out empty stomach...hmmm.....) which was great so we're already fans of the place. I love the ethos of Create - it's a social enterprise restaurant that trains and employs the homeless, marginalised and vulnerable.  It's a great idea and something that deserves a lot of support.

As well as doing all this good work, Create also aims to provide great food and drink.  After all, this is how it makes its money. In a money spinning effort, Create is currently offering two starters and main courses for £18.50 from a limited menu, for at least a few more weeks.

Having been given both menus, all four of us opted for food off the main menu. I would have been more than happy to go from the £18.50 but the others were all too tempted by the main menu dishes.  Also, when Joe asked whether he could have a dish from that menu, he was told that if one person ordered from it, they would be charged £18.50, as the second person is effectively free.  There doesn't seem to be any flexibility on this point which is disappointing.

Anyway, having been tempted by the food from the tasting, we opted for a variety of dishes for starters:  potted duck with pickled plums for @mrs_ordinary, crispy pork belly, black pudding and celeriac for Dave Bro, chicken terrine for Joe and char grilled mackerel with Yorkshire rhubarb and beetroot for me. 

I'd tried the potted duck at the tasting, so already knew that was good - rich but the pickled plums cut right through it.  The crispy pork belly was small squares of belly, deep fried in breadcrumbs and looked fantastic.  I loved the char grilled mackerel - crispy skin, perfectly cooked mackerel and well balanced with the rhubarb and beetroot, although the horseradish cream was a bit bland, and probably unnecessary.  Joe was unfortunately a little underwhelmed by his terrine, and found a couple of bits of gristle which is always off putting.  I'd also mention that the bread given before the starter was not great - pallid and fairly tasteless I'm afraid.
Crispy pork belly with black pudding and celeriac (which is done like a remoulade, so always going to be a win for me)
Chicken terrine, also with remoulade! And sans toasted bread, which was missed.
Potted duck with pickled plums
Char grilled mackerel with rhubarb, beetroot and horseradish cream.  Loved the deep fried parsley.
Moving on to main courses, the thing that convinced both of the boys to go for the a la carte menu was the char grilled skirt steak with celeriac puree, shallot and red wine butter (obviously having a bit of a run on celeriac here!).  Sue chose the fish pie, while I asked for a recommendation and was advised to go for the pan fried bream.  This was a bit of an error as I went for the recommendation without realising it too came with beetroot and rhubarb!  Woops!  Good thing I like rhubarb and beetroot

Both Joe and Dave Bro were very pleased with their steak - thick, man sized and cooked to order perfectly.  Joe also had a side of chips which were very nice.  The fish pie also got very good reviews, and the sea bream was delightful with crispy skin and a lovely vanilla butter sauce.  It's just a shame that the two main fish dishes on the menu are virtually the same.

Rare skirt steak

Sea bream with beetroot and rhubarb
Fish pie
To round off the meal we had some desserts and cocktails - sticky toffee pudding for Joe and Dave and apple and golden raisin crumble for Sue.  The sticky toffee pudding was a bit average but the crumble was delicious with a nutty crust.  They were more than happy to go off piste for cocktails too - the amaretto sour, mojito, espresso martini and other fruity cocktail (forgotten the name I'm afraid) were all excellent.  I'd go back for the cocktails alone!

All in it was a pretty good meal - a few hiccups along the way and the service was pretty slow (inattentive almost) but the prices are very reasonable for Leeds (sub £5 for most starters and mains £10-£15) and it's doing some good work. 
Amaretto sour
Apple and golden raisin crumble
sticky toffee pudding
Espresso martini - my personal fave
The unknown cocktail

No comments: