Baked eggs, grilled cheese, and a very special venison vibe check
With another months' worth of munching under our belt, the Confidentials team have got a fresh set of dishes for you to try in December. There's everything from comfort food sandwiches to venison worth hopping on a train for in our mixed bag of belly fillers this month.
Keeping things hearty and gooey as we enter the yuletide rush, baked breakfasts and Xmas specials should all be going on your hit list.
Here's what you should be eating in and around Leeds this December.
Tataki of Venison, Skosh, (£13)
I’ll cut out the Google middleman for you straight up – “tataki” means marinating (usually in a soy-based preparation), then searing so that the outside is cooked but the middle is still raw. In this case, it’s then served with horseradish and elderberry, adding both sharpness and a kick to the dish.
The venison is supremely well-textured, almost melting in my mouth as I make that slightly exaggerated, embarrassing “mmmmmnnnnnmygod” noise. It’s the star of the “raw” section on Skosh’s brilliant menu of British/Scandinavian/East Asian inspired small plates, as well as being the best thing I ate across a weekend that included the tasting menu at Le Cochon Aveugle. No mean feat. Skosh has got absolutely everything right – service, décor, menu size and variety, and price points. But the stand-out is the atmosphere in the place. It’s got to be one of the most enjoyable places to eat in the country. Get it booked. Simon Richardson.
Skosh, 98 Mickelgate, York YO1 6JX
Baked Eggs, Brook’s (£8.50)
It’s bouncing at Brook’s on my visit for a late breakfast. Perhaps it’s down to the rapturous review bestowed upon them by some jazz pianist called Jay Rayner in that morning’s newspaper.
But, more likely, it’s for the buzzy atmosphere, the Bloody Marys and the sharp but gutsy cooking.
A spin on shakshuka, as filling as a full English but without the meat sweats after-party, is quite the vibrant plateful. A brace of eggs, just set, arrive in a still-bubbling tomato sauce laced with mellow spice and the salty tang of olives. The accompanying flatbread, homemade and deceptively weighty, is deployed for maximum dredging.
Knock it back with an excellent cup of Dark Woods coffee or two and you’ll be more than ready for that Sunday walk on the canal that you can’t really be arsed with. Richard Miller @eatingthenorth
Brook’s, 6 Bradford Road, HD6 1RW
Reuben Grilled Cheese, Miles & Co, (£4)
Miles & Co is my favourite new coffee spot located in a cosy corner of Leeds Kirkgate Market. You'll receive a warm welcome, and it's a wonderful spot for a little people watching. Great for coffee and cake to go, or if you're lucky, snag one of the three small tables inside with your lunch date.
Generous hunks of fresh bread are stacked high with cheddar, succulent and salty pastrami, a touch of mustard, and juicy pickled gherkins, and grilled to perfection. Best followed by a slab of cake, the options for which are many and varied. Anja Madhvani, @anjaism
Miles & Co, Unit 21, Market Hall, Vicar Ln, Leeds LS2 7HJ
Veggie Xmas Special, Doh’hut, £5.75
Step into Doh’hut and there’s a waft of sweet brioche from the huge silver ovens behind the counter. Bakers are busy cutting and weighing out dough on a long-floured worktop. Plump sugary doughnuts stand to attention in vertical rows on greaseproof paper inside the glass cabinet, but today it’s the toasties that I’m here for. One bite in, and the mere hint of sage tells you it’s the festive season. Cranberry sauce stains the fat buttery milk loaf, brie oozes shiny and yellow above mounds of squash stuffing. Stop with the denial, it’s December. Put your tree up, it’s time for a Christmas special. Sarah Cotterill, @scottnodot
Doh'hut, 2 Trevelyan Sq, Leeds LS1 6ED
Sunday dinner bagel, The Doghouse Bar and Bagel Shop (£7)
Look, I know it’s not pretty. But then arguably none of the best foods are. I’ve been known to enjoy a pretty tasting menu or two, but sometimes an uncouth wallop of comforting flavour is far preferable to a delicately arranged plate of elegant slivers. This nippy Sunday lunchtime I was after a big hunk of delicious stodge to throw on the ole belly furnace. The bagel I ended up with was so improbably crammed full of roast chicken, stuffing, red cabbage, cranberry sauce, cauliflower cheese (!) and gravy that eating it with any fragment of decorum was out of the question. Attempting to eat it while hot-footing across town all hangry and rushing to get back to wine school (yeah, I know), I got into such a state that I had to have a wash in the loos afterwards. I recommend eating in if you have the time. There’s a festive version (with turkey or nut roast and chestnuts as well as all of the above) on every day this month. Kelly Bishop @keliseating
Doghouse Bar and Bagel Shop 93 Kirkgate, Leeds LS2 7DJ
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