We were spoilt for choice
I must be honest; I rarely choose to dine out at a steak restaurant, as I believe I can cook a steak at home for a third of the price and cook it just as well. If I dine out, I usually want something I would struggle to cook at home. That said, I had heard many reports about how much better
The Ilkley Cow is now it’s not ‘The Moody Cow’! I had also heard gossip about it going bust, alongside a plethora of varied reports.
Let’s set the record straight; the restaurant has never gone bust. It’s awful when any business is trying hard and gossipers endeavour to hurt that business with misinformation – this is one of the reasons I chose to review it. Rob, the new owner, bought the restaurant from the previous owners. Rob was the head chef at the highly acclaimed Gaucho in Leeds.
The Ilkley Cow does suffer from limited street-parking; however, there is lots of parking directly behind it but, with no signs, you would be forgiven for not knowing this.
The food – I could genuinely have chosen literally everything on the menu. It is very rare that I struggle to choose from a menu because everything appeals. My wife and daughter were in a similar mind-set. We eventually ordered mussels and a sharing platter for two; however, it could easily have fed three. The pulled pork Scotch egg was mind-blowingly good. I could have just eaten four or five and left a happy man – eat your heart out, Cool Hand Luke! The sharing platter consisted of BBQ ribs, Scotch egg, chicken bites, smoked wings and brisket croquets; all with sauces and divine pickles.
For mains we had a sirloin, a fillet and a T-bone, with blue cheese, smoked bacon and peppercorn sauces, coleslaw, garlic mash, chips, tomatoes and mushrooms. Where was Desperate Dan when you needed him? The show-stopping 20-oz T-bone was right out of the Dandy comic. Each steak was cooked as ordered, seasoned well and presented perfectly. The sides were hearty, that’s for sure.
The serving staff were very attentive and certainly knew their job, as well as half the diners; this restaurant appeared to have lots of regulars, which is always a good sign.
Overall The Ilkley Cow is on a par with any steak restaurant I have ever been to. In fact, the menu is better than any steak restaurant I have dined at. But, and it’s a big but – the T-bone and the Scotch egg were the stars of the show. The Ilkley Cow is introducing a new, exciting summer menu, packed with salads and sumptuous local summer produce. Let’s hope the Scotch egg stays …
It’s a great restaurant, with great staff, great food and a nice ambiance. Yes, I would go again and I never thought I would say that about a steak restaurant.
1-2 New Brook St, Ilkley LS29 8DQ
T: 01943 602030
Not what you might expect!
After taking 10 minutes to find the place, we were greeted with great music, exuberant staff, and people laughing and having fun. It was kind of like an adult playground, with the most eclectic bunch of people in one place you may ever see – from suits to mums, and young couples to groups of hipsters.
There is no getting away from the fact that this place is a bit hidden; however, once you have found it, it is worth it. If you like funky venues with lots of quirk then Roxy Lanes is for you. Oh, also it has bowling alleys, American-style food, an amazing bar and beer pong. There is something going on in every corner.
We decided to eat first, as we were out on a session. We needed the obligatory stodge to soak up the copious amounts of alcohol we were getting ready to consume that day. Yes ‘day’, as we arrived at 1 pm on a Friday.
The menu is mainly homemade pizzas, burgers and sides. The food is best described as ‘gourmet fast food’, I guess. We ordered a Dirty bird pizza, a Hot shot pizza, a Roxy beast burger (the biggest burger you will ever see) and sides. The pizzas were lush and not what I was expecting, to be honest; these kinds of venues usually throw out mass-produced crap. The produce was fresh, cooked well and tasted really very good. The burger was astonishing. It was about 8 inches tall with two burgers, two chicken breasts, bacon, cheese, sauce and whatever else. I was embarrassed eating it, or trying to eat it; however, it was bloody good, as were the pizzas and the sides of chicken wings – you get the picture.
We had several beers; this place prides itself on artisan beers, it turns out. I did end up on G&Ts, as I always do, and they had enough brands to keep me going. We then had two games of bowling. The bowling allies are not as long as the usual ones, which was good as I could not see to the end by this stage …
We stayed for around two hours and had a lot of fun. I have to be realistic with this review – I would not normally choose this kind of venue to go to on a Friday as I am a Bar & Grill type of guy. But we all had a great time and we got talking to some really nice people.
The bowling is almost a side thing to the bar. Many people were there just drinking, some had just gone in for food, whilst others wanted everything.
Roxy Lanes is a super alternative bar to your usual night/day out. Yes, there are single people and lots of ‘em, so it’s also a good place to socialise and show off your beer pong skills – not that I had any.
Loud, funky fun that offers an alternative to the humdrum.
Bond Street, Leeds, LS1 5BQ
T: 0113 467 2300
If you have not been, go!
It’s a long time since I have been to a restaurant that’s wowed me; in fact, it’s a long time since I have been to a restaurant and wondered why I have not been here before.
Issho is, in essence, a high-end Japanese tapas restaurant, but so much more. It is hidden down an alleyway on the third floor in Victoria Gate, Leeds centre. As you leave the shopping centre, head to the lifts, then out onto the third floor where everything is quiet in the evening, then you walk into the coolest, most vibrant bar in Leeds. It is totally shocking.
We thought we were going to be the only people there, but wow – it was packed to the rafters with über-cool guests. All the men had no socks and the ladies looked like models. The music was upbeat Ronnie Scotts in style. The atmosphere was electric. The fully-heated outdoor veranda was also full. Why had I not been here before? Plus it’s open until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
We were shown through to the other side, which is completely separate, to the super trendy, London-style restaurant area with an open kitchen. I was shocked, to say the least. We were seated and a very pleasant lady explained the concept which is like Japanese tapas, with some full meals on offer, too. She explained the menu and we were good to go.
I was so busy people-watching (mainly trying to spot the men with socks) and looking at the chefs doing their thing that I forgot about the menu.
We ordered the Emperor tasting menu
which is £65 per head (min 2 people)
Pea Guac, Crackers
Chicken Karaage, Wasabi Mayo
Tomato Salad, Whipped Tofu
Miso Braised Lamb Bao
Cornish Squid Tempura
Issho Sushi & Sashimi Selection
Rib Eye Steak
Miso Black Cod
Issho Dessert Selection
Set menus start at £25/head
The food was astonishingly good. Every single mouthful was a taste explosion; the textures, flavours, innovation and food expertise was superb. How can a tomato salad be one of the finest dishes I have ever had the pleasure of eating? How can rice miso be so fluffy and light with a filling that literally exploded with flavour in my mouth? How can tuna sushi be so invigoratingly fresh and packed with flavours of the sea? It was so good that my wife and I were talking about the flavours all the way home.
The pudding – oh the pudding! It was a delicious assiette of rice pudding with banana; ice cream; sorbets (each one better than the previous); a unique crème caramel, and lollypop doughnuts with sides of melted dark and white chocolate – a visual and oral feast.
All this was washed down with a super chilled, yet vibrant atmosphere, superb service and even though £130 for food for two is on the pricey side it was worth every penny and more.
This restaurant is quite frankly fantastic! We have never in 18 years raved about
a restaurant like this and awarded so
Victoria Gate 3rd Floor Rooftop, Ludgate Hill, Leeds LS2 7AU
T: 0113 426 5000
Every day we make choices in our lives that affect the environment. From what we eat to how many children we decide to have, there’s a lot we can do improve.
Think twice before shopping
Every product we purchase has an environmental footprint, from the materials used to create it, to the pollution emitted during manufacturing, to the packaging that ends up in landfills. So, before you buy, ask yourself if you really need it and look for minimal packaging and shipping. For example, if you are buying wine have a look at British company www.hattingleyvalley.com, which uses the latest technology and equipment from continental Europe, has a sophisticated waste disposal facility and was the first UK winery to adopt solar power.
Make sure your big purchases have big environmental benefits
Not everyone can run out and trade in their old gas-guzzling clunker for the latest planet-friendly hybrid car. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing; manufacturing new cars takes a lot of resources, too. But if you’re in the market for a new car, look for a fuel-efficient model. If you’re buying a new refrigerator, washer or dryer, look for the Energy Star label to find the most efficient appliances. Need a new water heater? Consider upgrading to solar.
Boycott products that endanger wildlife
Products made from animals on the endangered species list are illegal to buy, sell, import or trade. Some products harm endangered species by threatening their habitat, from cutting down old-growth forests to using up the water that riparian species need to survive. To avoid contributing to the endangerment of wildlife, shop conscientiously and look for products made from sustainable materials like bamboo, and dine at restaurants that refuse to serve imperilled species like bluefin tuna. Try Waterside restaurant in Saltaire.
Pay attention to labels
Choose Fairtrade-certified goods when possible, to support companies dedicated to sustainable production and paying labourers a fair wage. Buy organic food whenever you can; it may cost a little more, but it keeps harmful pesticides out of our land and water, protecting farm workers, wildlife and your family.
Green your home
Make sure your home has adequate insulation and energy-saving windows, and use a programmable thermostat for more efficient heating and cooling – and, of course, energy-saving lightbulbs for more efficient lighting.
Take extinction off your plate
Meat production is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet, responsible for massive amounts of water use, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and habitat destruction. You have three chances a day to improve the health of the planet – by reducing your meat consumption you can reduce your environmental footprint.
Sustainability, provenance and exquisite cooking served with Yorkshire wine
Waterside’s owner-chef, Paul (pictured above), has trained with the best – Marco Pierre White at London’s famous Criterion. So it goes without saying that the food served at this Shipley restaurant is stunning.
Paul is more than just passionate about food, presentation and quality; he is relentless about sustainability and the provenance of literally everything on offer at this restaurant. I was inspired by his ethics, as this year ESTEEM is focusing on sustainability.
The fact that almost everything he uses is from our great county of Yorkshire, means that the carbon footprint is reduced significantly. Personally, I have never understood why restaurants promote, for example, Argentinian steak or French cheese, etc. We produce some of the finest ingredients in the world on our doorstep.
The Waterside restaurant has embraced this wonderful concept and is producing some of the region’s finest food. The day we met, Paul’s delivery included vegetables from a Bradford farm; meat from R&J Farm, York and fish from Whitby. Every morning Chef inspects the deliveries and either accepts or rejects the food.
The gins are from Leeds, Harrogate and Howarth; the extensive cheeseboard is all from Yorkshire. Trust me on this; if you are a turophile (a lover of cheese) you will adore this cheeseboard. Research is also underway to stock Yorkshire wine.
The milk, the cold-pressed rapeseed oil, even the micro herbs (I adore micro herbs) and the beer, is from our fine county – including Wild Greens and Saltaire.
On top of all this you can ask Chef about the provenance of anything, such as which farm your rib-eye came from and how old it is, to the day. You can ask which ship the fish came from; when it was caught.
We live in an era where we are becoming more and more environmentally aware and indeed how much harm and strain we are putting the planet under. So, guys, let’s tip our hats to this inspirational restaurant, whose chef is driving it forward in an ethical direction.
Having eaten here let me assure everyone the food is uncompromisingly good. To my mind just knowing they are making a difference means we should try to not only support them but to give them a big thumbs up and tell people about this amazing restaurant.
Waterside, we applaud you!
7 Wharf Street, Shipley BD17 7DW
T: 01274 594444