Stu and Jo Myers have run the Swine That Dines Restaurant for over three years close to the heart of Leeds on North Street LS2
Booking into this popular restaurant takes patience, I must admit. I tried for three nights before getting the on line booking I wanted. We went on a Wednesday in January, a bitter cold night- icy roads and possibly the most hazardous driving conditions this year. But the warm glow I got from this restaurant as I left was worth it, a class act all around.
The 12 swine tiles dotted around the high walls in this privately run restaurant are quirky and damned proud of it.
We sat next to a book shelf with some interesting cook books Pride and Pudding ( I know the author and I am a fan) and the Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer – I knew we were in for a feast.
We knew it was a “bring your own” restaurant and in the remnants of Dry January we had not bothered to bring any alcohol, quite happy to drink what soft drinks were on offer.
Jo runs front of house and is bubbly and good fun. She explained every first week of the month they run a vegetarian menu but they had decided to run this menu all through January. It was thrilling to see a chef embrace vegetables like Stu did. His talent shone through.
The atmosphere was relaxed, and in the dim light with plenty of other diners we felt the chill of the night air melt away.
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It is a seven course tasting menu, and dinner for two is £49.50 we added bread at £3.50 made by Roops Organic, sour dough served with organic butter for a great plate of wholesomeness. We were offered an extra course of goat’s cheese croquettes for £7 which we went for too, but more about those later.
Celeriac, Yellow mustard and Mizuna arrived and the party soon started, with a slice of celeriac terrine with a subtle flavour and creamy texture. The yellow mustard was punchy, and like a mustard popping candy, with mini bursts exploding in your mouth. We loved it and knew then and there we were in culinary safe hands.
Then came the weakest course of the night for me-cauliflower, green olive, lemon and parsley. The cauliflower was battered and deep-fried, and for me the green olive cut through this, but the cauliflower lacked a little flavour. Compared to the dazzling dish before, I am not sure it worked as well.
Parsnip, pear, ginger and rye- came next and provoked a “Wow” puree was smooth and rich, rye grains toasted to give that lovely crunch, and chunky parsnip with ginger and pear. What a combination, with strands of radicchio.
Oyster mushroom, lentil, walnut and truffle – brought a real Umami, unctuous, lip smacking, flavour and the lentils were just right. What a dish of champions! I loved the pickled walnut – haven’t had one of those for years.
Next up carrots, chickpea, Nigella, Miel de Cana molasses that glazed the carrots and made them shine like “Chantanay” jewels in a shop window. The last two courses brought the mains of the menu and we were excited to see our goat’s cheese croquette – four perfect shapes of deep-fried crispy molten goat’s cheese arrived over a figgy chutney, sharp and sweet, with frisse leaves. Just one word for these – BOOM- everyone should have a goat’s cheese croquette at least once in their lives!
These small plates really were building into a culinary master class on vegetarianism, Pumpkin, sour-dough, cashew and caraway arrived like a savoury bread and butter pudding.
The last savoury offering was a potato terrine, with sage and leek and a cheddar sauce that added a dairy richness which paired beautifully.
Now our menu was over, but would we like pudding?
Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a sucker for rhubarb, and passing this up on the menu was hard for me. But I saw Blood orange polenta cake with sweet labneh and cardamon, and ended my meal with some peppermint tea and a sweet treat.
It was a vegetarian feast... an interesting start to the culinary year. If pigs can fly, The Swine That Dines has taken off to a fine start.
Address: 58 North St, Leeds LS2 7PN
Tel: 0113 244 0387
Opening times: Sun-Tues closed, Weds-Sat noon-3pm, 5.30pm-9pm