The restaurants doing something different with sprouts this Christmas
We all know the traditional recipe for Christmas sprouts: score the stalk with a cross-shape, and bring to the boil in salted water for around 2-3 weeks, or until tender enough to pass through a sieve without any force. No wonder they get such a bad rep. That’s not the way it has to be, though. These five Leeds restaurants are doing sprouts a little differently:
On a pizza:
The ever eccentric Dough Boys’ criteria for pizza toppings seems to be that 1. It tastes good, and 2. It fits on a pizza. Ticking both boxes, sprouts have earned their rightful place on both the regular and vegan Christmas specials. Mr Claus makes his grand return, with a sack full of turkey, pigs-in-blankets, and sprout leaves finished off with cranberry sauce, and the vegan special is topped with butternut squash puree, roast sprouts and chestnut, and cranberry salsa verde.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen, 1A Cross Belgrave St, Leeds LS2 8JP
As a bhaji:
Keeping up with the tradition of wise, wise men from the East delivering precious gifts, Bundobust’s now-legendary sprout bhajis are back. Spicy deep-fried fritters of sprout, broccoli, and onion, spiced with fennel, chilli, and ajwain, and a limited edition festive plum version of their signature tamarind ketchup.
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ
On their own:
The Swine That Dines goes out of its way to take overlooked, underappreciated, and occasionally unappealing ingredients, and transforming them into something worthy of its own course on their tasting menu. On December’s menu they’re pairing poor, misunderstood sprouts with nutty sesame and mushroom ketchup - if this doesn’t win you over, nothing will.
The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds LS2 7PN
The fine-dining way:
Fine dining has had a bit of a resurgence in Leeds this year, with a few key players bringing it right up to date and helping it ditch the tired cliches. One of them is Crafthouse, and their version of a classic Christmas dinner is something to behold: as well as white turkey, there’s a fritter made from the dark leg meat (the best bit, just as any chef), boudin rolled in crispy bacon makes a fine substitute for pigs-in-blankets, and it’s finished off with chanternay carrots, sprout leaves, and red wine jus. First person to joke about needing a kebab afterwards has to peel the spuds on Christmas day.
Crafthouse, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds LS1 6HW
The Basque way:
Feliz Navidad may be the all-time worst ever Christmas song, but at least the Spanish know how to do something right when it comes to Christmas. Pintura are keeping it simple by taking the classic combination of sprouts, chestnut, and bacon, and putting a Northern-Spanish twist on it by using pine nuts and jamón ibérica, available as part of their Christmas Banquet.
Pintura, 1 Trinity Street, Leeds LS1 6AP