Pistachios, potatoes, puddings and perfect puris
The food and drink team seem to have gone a bit nuts – the kind of nuts which can be found in walnut pesto, hazelnut brownie, pistachio cake. But, as they do every month, they have scoured the city (and a little way beyond) to recommend the best foodstuffs you should eating this month.
And not a single one costs more than £8.50.
Charred sweet potato - The Rise Restaurant, York (£7.50)
How far are you willing to travel for a potato and how long are you prepared to wait? Baked, you’ll be waiting best part of an hour, but in twenty minutes you can be strolling down the wide esplanade that reaches from York’s railway station, to the historic Grand Hotel. The Rise Restaurant’s charred sweet potato starter is worth the journey. An Ottolenghi-esque marriage of glossy walnut pesto, sharp balsamic and translucent melting pecorino, with a flame-grilled undertone that keeps you on your toes. You say potato, I say bravo. Sarah Cotterill
The Rise Restaurant, Terrace & Bar: The Grand Hotel, Station Rise, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 6GD
Chocolate, Espresso and Hazelnut Brownie - Cafe 164 (£3)
Tucked away inside Munro House, Cafe 164 doesn’t laud its presence over the city centre. Don’t be fooled by its unassuming presence - this place is definitely worth the extra few lunchtime steps. I’ve sampled my way through most of their hearty sandwiches, but this month, I went for sweet and discovered everything you could possibly want in a brownie; fudgy, rich and far too large to finish on your own (but like heck are you willing to share). Pair with a coffee, a phone on airplane mode and a good magazine from Colours May Vary- my idea of an afternoon well spent. Jenessa Williams
Café 164, Munro House, Duke St, Leeds LS9 8AG
Pistachio Cake, Matt Healy x The Foundry (£7)
Following a smashing review from The Guardian’s voice of food reason, Jay Rayner, last week, Matt Healy’s Saw Mill Street joint is the place to be this spring. That’s certainly the atmosphere exuding from the neon signs, bare brick walls and filament bulbs as I decide that no, I can’t resist one of the menu’s perfectly formed desserts – or pudding, as I prefer. A broken mound of green pistachio sponge arrives, happily adorned with a squelchy scoop of equally pistachio-y ice cream, and some more of nut in question crumbled on top. It’s light, sweet and fragrant – the perfect end to a great meal. Kate Ryrie
Matt Healy x The Foundry,1 Saw Mill St, Leeds LS11 5WH
Dahi Puri – Prashad (£6.95)
Leave your modesty at the door and get a portion of the brilliantly messy Dahi Puri down your neck at the Bundobust mothership, Prashad. Morsels of spiced potato and buttery chickpea loiter at the bottom of an impossibly crisp shell, there are crunchy bits and pieces on top, and a generous smothering of cool yoghurt and tangy tamarind sauce will have you looking particularly classy as it drips from your chin when you try to down each in one go. Richard Miller
Prashad, 137 Whitehall Road, BD11 1A
Vegetarian Thali - Indian Tiffin Room (£8.50)
I’m definitely cheating in regard to my ‘best dish’ this month, because this is actually several dishes. But when asked ‘what would you choose as your final meal?’ my response is always ‘a world dumpling buffet’, so you shouldn’t expect any better from me. The ITR thali selection is chosen by chef, and this time had rice, creamy dal makhani (my favourite comfort food), curried green beans and saag paneer. All accompanied by rice and a fluffy puri, followed up with a few spoonfuls of sweet kheer (Indian rice pudding). It’s excellent value and a nice variety of flavours. The decor makes it feel a little like dining on a theatre set, with decorative arches and plastic flowers strung across the ceiling. A little gaudy but somehow charming, and the service was brilliant. Anja Madhvani
(Please note ITR only serve Thali on weekdays).
Indian Tiffin Room, 31-32 Park Row (entrance on Greek Street) Leeds, LS1 5JD
Spicy Tuna Hand Roll – Blue Sakura, Merrion Centre, £4.20
With sushi, presentation is key. It’s got to look fiddly and meticulous, like it was made by tiny elves. Blue Sakura ticks all the right boxes, with a great selection of expertly constructed nigiri and uramaki, but it’s the temaki hand rolls that really stand out for me; satisfying seaweed cones filled with rice, strips of vegetable and your choice of extra – in this case, sweet, lightly-spiced tuna. You’ve got the crunch of the veg, the stickiness of the rice, sweet, savoury, salt, chilli and fish all in two or three bites. It’s a flavour and texture rollercoaster, but one that’s been well-thought out, so you aren’t overwhelmed and no one element overpowers another. The only difficulty is not eating about five of them, then being too full to enjoy the rest of the enormous all-you-can-eat menu (reviewed here) Simon Richardson
Blue Sakura, 2-3 Merrion Way, Leeds LS2 8BT