Dismayed, disgruntled or dissatisfied with our recent Sunday lunch outings, we decided to think outside the box, let our imaginations run free, get creative and divert from tradition on a recent visit to LeedsLeedsLeeds.
We also happened to be passing Trinity Kitchen.
Holed up inside said food-hall-for-the-modern-day-scoffer are a couple of places we’ve been wanting to try and who’ve had plenty of superlatives chucked in their direction already.
We’re late to the table. Literally.
Manjit’s Kitchen are nearing the end of their second stint at Trinity whilst Original Fry-Up Material will soon be bounding back to London in their converted ambulance after an extended run in t’north. Both will be missed.
We commenced proceedings with Manjit Kitchen’s much-heralded Chilli Paneer Wrap.
Often derided as a bland cheese, this was the sort of tart, acidic stuff where the last piece was halved so one didn’t have more than the other. The spiced pulses cleared the airways without blowing the head off.
The Samosa Chaat ticked the texture box with aplomb: crushed potato filling, crisp pastry and crunchy bits (technical term) mixed with yoghurty chutney and coriander for messy freshness and zing.
This was vibrant stuff and a stark contrast to the dreary efforts of a recent Sunday excursion.
Full of flavour, cooked with character and nearly healthy. A tenner.
Veg course inhaled there was time for a small break during which we sat back and observed the first-timers wandering round like frightened rabbits, searching in vain for chain-restaurant sanctuary.
For a food where, surely, best results are to be found in the Keep It Simple school of thought, there’s far too much shouting about who does the biggest bestest dirtiest burger in town.
Not so from the OFM boys, and theirs was all the better for the understatement.
It tasted as a burger should: of seasoned and charred beef. The meat was pink, not too tightly packed, with just-melting cheese adding, well, a cheesy flavour. The bun held it all together without, praise the lord, the need for cutlery. There was shredded lettuce too, for appearance’s sake.
Fries were salted with gusto and warranted another beer.
This was a lesson in less is more; an example of doing the classic stuff right, without resorting to gimmicks. Stylish simplicity, and bloody excellent.
There’s summat to be said for this kind of food cooked by Manjit’s Kitchen, OFM and the like. Short menus. Basics done well. Fair prices. A liberal dose of passion and character.
(Belgrave Music Hall, also take a bow.)
We won’t get on the high horse just yet, but for those places resting on their laurels, you get the gist.