I love a food festival, and I love street food. Equally, I love a fancy pants Michelin Star restaurant. So when I saw that Tom Kerridge was holding his Pub in the Park event in Roundhay Park, Leeds, I’m sure you can imagine my excitement!
The event brings together award-winning food, Michelin-starred chefs and live-music for a day of, in my opinion, heaven. It’s the perfect opportunity to discover world-class, British restaurants without having to book a table months in advance and save up your hard-earned cash for one evening of luxury. It also means that you can get a taste (pun very much intended) of what each chef is about before committing to booking a meal there in the future.
Although I attended the event in Roundhay Park (perfect for a stroll beforehand to work up an appetite and a lakeside, wine-induced photo shoot afterwards), it’s held across the country in Chiswick, St Albans, Marlow, Knutsford, Bath, Warwick and Tunbridge Wells. The chef and music line up differ depending on the location to make sure that local restaurants are included, which is perfect for me as I love to eat local.
Before I move on to my highlights from Pub in the Park 2019, I will mention that there are still a couple of events left this year if this looks like your heaven too: Chiswick (6-8th September) and St Albans (13th-15th September) and you can book tickets here.
The Hand & Flowers – Tom Kerridge
The Hand & Flowers is the only UK pub to hold two Michelin stars, and I was very excited to sample what was on offer! Tom describes the pub as “a proper pub, but with proper food” and “bold, unpretentious cooking with brilliant, seasonal ingredients”. Sounds good to me!
The menu offered some excellent choices including Kerridge’s fried chicken with ranch dressing and pickled slaw and smoked hog taco with BBQ pineapple and sweetcorn salsa, but I couldn’t resist the minted lamb pie with mash and liquor. The food absolutely delivered against the above brief, and I can’t wait for the day that I have the opportunity to try out the pub in Marlow.
Black Swan Oldstead – Tommy Banks
I’d been desperate to try Tommy Banks’ food ever since Billy went to Roots in York and teased me with delicious looking food pictures. The Pub in the Park menu included short rib bao with fennel kimchi, mustard and gherkins; Crapaudine beetroot slowly cooked in beef fat; and tempura coley (my favourite fish!) with fermented fries and Oldstead chilli mayo. It was a very difficult choice but I went for the short rib bao. It was beautifully presented and tasted just as good! I’m hoping to try the evening tasting menu at The Black Swan in the next few months… so Tommy if you could get me a reservation in November that would be much appreciated!
The Angel at Hetton
The two dishes on The Angel‘s menu looked equally as good as each other, so I made sure Billy ordered the opposite to me so that we could share both. We had ‘Pig in the Park’ (pork pie, turnip pickle, pork scratching and concentrated ham hock) and Angel fried buttermilk chicken with Harissa and asian slaw. You could tell that each ingredient had been carefully selected, and the food was unpretentious and bursting with flavour.
The Star Inn – Andrew Pern
The Star Inn offered the most difficult of decisions of all of the pubs on offer at Pub in the Park. Lucky for indecisive me, the Yorkshire game & blue cheese burger with foie gras mayo, bubble ‘n’ squeak slaw and bacon brioche had sold out which made the decision a little easier. After much deliberating I went for the Harome pickled wild garlic risotto with Yorkshire curd, cracked hazelnuts, smoked potato puffs and hedgerow pesto. Not only was it beautifully satisfying (I was almost full afterwards) but there were so many textures going on… highly entertaining for the tongue!
Other options on offer were curried kedgeree broth of north sea smoked haddock, spiced raisins and cucumber raita, or dark chocolate pot with Yorkshire rhubarb and stem ginger – but a dessert at this stage would have been admitting defeat!
My memory is a little blurred by this point as we had made sure to accompany each dish with an alcoholic beverage. This also meant that I forgot to take a picture of my food, sorry! But I do still remember that the Tickled Trout‘s Tikka Dahl Balti pie was to die for! I was literally drooling waiting for it as the smell creeping towards me was beautiful, and the dish itself certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Pipe and Glass
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try The Pipe and Glass, the final pub on the line up, as I was feeling rather full by this point. Instead we enjoyed a carafe of wine and danced along to a live performance from Will Young before taking a few silly pictures. This means that I have no choice but to try the pub itself, so watch this space!
So, what next?
Obviously the goal is to try out these pubs for real, and I’m very partial to a tasting menu! So far I’ve managed to experience a lunch time snack at The Star Inn where I had a bowl of Yorkshire puddings with the thickest, most treacle like gravy – you can read about it here. I’m desperate to try their evening tasting menu at some point in the near future, and of course a blog post will follow when I get the chance to visit. As I’ve already mentioned, the Black Swan is also top of my list to visit and hope to tie this in a weekend away soon.
Which of these restaurants have you tried and what did you think?
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