Hokkaido, Wakefield

Hokkaido, Wakefield Kirkgate

Another overrated Valentine weekend has crept upon us and I had simply planned on a Marks and Spencer dine in, until, that is, I was treated to a visit to Hokkaido, the only Japanese restaurant in Wakefield, once again. This would be the third visit of mine and what I can only describe as the best one yet. Edging slightly away from the usual menus, the valentines menu was of exceptional quality. Over £4 difference to my usual menu C and 11 courses to indulge in. The menu included Japanese chicken dumplings, sliced duck breast with brandy and soy sauce, sirloin steak wraps and a scallop in shell cooked in a traditional Japanese style.

The wait wasn’t too long and unsurprisingly a full house accompanied us as we sat to dine. The sitting is a rectangle table where you sit either side of your party with the ability to watch your chosen food being cooked. I chose a Pinot Grigio at £16.50, a fairly light wine to not overtake the tastes that was to come. A small jug of Sake wine came in at £7.50. Slightly expensive but worth it for the refreshing warm notes alongside the spices. The Teppanyaki chef was divine to watch, both articulate and methodical, his culinary skills never seem to be put to the test, confidently chopping, frying, cutting in front of mesmerised and hungry guests.

If heaven had a taste it would be the scallops on shell cooked traditional Japanese style. Simply perfect. Scallops coated in raw egg before being flame blasted and topped with caviar. The guy never stops. Two eggs go from cracked open to egg fried roll in a matter of seconds before each guest is invited to try and catch the cooked egg in their mouth as a ‘bit of humour’ to the occasion. Bucket loads of flavour swim over every dish, garlic, soy, sake to name a few, making the simplest of dishes such as beansprouts become delightful to the palette.

Cumin, spring onion, Brandy and garlic flakes added to dishes such as chicken, duck and steak elevated the senses and made the speciality menu an impressive feast for any foodie.

The menu came in at £33.90 each. Not taking into account the drinks on top. As far as Wakefield City goes, it’s at the top end when it comes to price. I once was unsure of its setting. It can be deemed as out of the way, positioned near the roundabout at Kirkgate. However, the quiet and peaceful setting no doubt works in its favour. People will visit this restaurant for the food and not the position. Overall, my latest visit was perfect in every way, dining, drinking, entertainment and service. I would thoroughly recommend this restaurant for people who love Japanese cuisine or for people who would maybe like to try something different. Hopefully some of the valentine menu will be incorporated into the standard one. 10/10

 

Iris, Wakefield

Iris, Wakefield

 

January turned out to be a pretty good month, albeit, a rather foodie one. A couple of celebratory birthdays meant the detox never really began. Wakefield has come on leaps and bounds in the culinary department in the last decade with more and more varied restaurants popping up to suit foodies like me. One of these is Iris. Iris only burst onto the scene back in 2012, offering contemporary dishes in a modern British setting. Being my third visit I notice the menu does vary to keep it fresh but chef Liam Duffy takes real care in making sure firm favourites are still centre stage. The seemingly now classic Haddock Scotch Egg and the humble steak still ready available.

The wine selection is equally varied and delectable. My choice? The Moko Black. A medium white. All the flavour and taste without the impending bill of doom. I started with the Haddock Scotch egg as the full day breakfast wasn’t available this time. I was pleased as the last time I ordered the egg it had changed to have a mayonnaise sauce accompany it. Personal preference said it didn’t quite go as well. This time we were treated to an onion and black pudding concoction. It worked much better. A medium rare steak to follow and it came exactly that. Spot on. The butternut squash was a perfect accompaniment and not too overpowering.

My partner and I opted for the sprout side dish with pancetta and it certainly didn’t disappoint. As for dessert I will (9 times out of 10) opt for whatever embodies chocolate, this for me was the shortcake, a chocolate fuelled delight and perfect for the sweet tooth. My fellow diners were not overwhelmed by their dessert (the warm pistachio cake and the banana ice cream) but none the less were satisfied with the meal overall. I must admit, the service could have been better. I do believe the waiters are genuinely nice people, however, I don’t believe they are at the standard you would expect for such an exceptionally high quality restaurant when it comes to etiquette. Again, not that this would put me off visiting for another hundred times. But I do believe this is what could improve. 9/10.

 

 

 

 

Northumberland – Outstanding Natural Beauty 2015

Just returned from another outdoor pursuit touring up in the beautiful Northumberland. I didn’t think anywhere could beat my Yorkshire, however this area comes a very close second! Staying at South Meadows camp site near the sleepy town of Belford we were perfectly situated for all the attractions Northumberland has to offer.

Some areas of incredible natural beauty from the many castles, to the quaint coastal village Seahouses, which for me, had a ‘Robin Hoods Bay’ feel to it, to the bizarre crossover to get to the stunning Holy Island!

Bamborough Castle stands very intimidating over the tiny village and inside you will find an array of rooms filled with history and character as well as a museum filled with the story behind the famous Lord Armstrong and his engineering achievements.

Bamborough Castle from Seahouses Bamborough Castle Chillingham Castle Cross over at Holy Island Daz and Jack Holy Island Daz and Jack on Holy Island DSC_0215 DSC_0237 DSC_0318 DSC_0341 DSC_0349 DSC_0465 DSC_0433 View from Holy Island DSC_0584 DSC_0592 DSC_0633 DSC_0715 DSC_0718 DSC_0758 DSC_0765 smokehouse Jack on Lindisfarne Holy island Jack on Holy Island DSC_0783 DSC_0798 DSC_0524

We visited Craster with their famous Smoked Kipper house by L. Robson & Sons. The Yorkshire Snapper had to visit. Chillingham Castle was extremely creepy. Untouched by the National Trust, the castle was old school and privately owned and that’s what gave it its certain charm. Gothic and lonely, it was certainly worth the exploration.

I also managed to fit in a Hogwarts style broomstick lesson and visit the sets of Downton Abbey at the famous Alnwick Castle. It’s just a shame I wasn’t allowed to take many pics there.

The forever rolling landscape and coastal picturesque views were a photographers dream. I definitely will be going again!

Wakefield Rhubarb Festival

Had a fab day out today at the annual Wakefield Rhubarb Festival, where you will usually find all sorts of wonderful in terms of food and drink and more importantly, local produce! Food demonstrations were in the form of the ever charming television chef and local lad Brian Turner and Heather Copley from the famous Farmer Copleys on Pontefract Road. This is all only in one day as the festival also boasts a demonstration by Liam Duffy on Sunday, Head Chef of the downright delectable Iris Restaurant in Wakefield, a must for foodies in the region and one I shall be visiting again soon!!

Being a sweet tooth enthusiast I couldn’t resist the lure of all things cookie and cake so purchased four amazing cupcakes! All chocolate related of course. It was pork pie and pastry madness as well as a host of beverages alcoholic and non alcoholic including a ripping Yorkshire punch.

The entertainment provided was just as great in the guise of extravagantly dressed folk (and very tall ones too) musical treats and dancing and singing groups as well as a few ‘dodgy’ looking what I think were policemen helping me across the road!DSC_0453 DSC_0451 DSC_0448 DSC_0455 DSC_0456 DSC_0457 DSC_0458 DSC_0459 DSC_0460 DSC_0462 DSC_0463 DSC_0465 DSC_0469 DSC_0483 DSC_0479 DSC_0488 DSC_0489 DSC_0496 DSC_0497 DSC_0500 DSC_0461

Overall, a sunny, cold biting day but was warmed up nicely by the folk of Wakefield turning up to enjoy another year of a fantastic event that all the family can enjoy – even my ten month old!

Until my next blog – over and out and if you’re a fellow foodie follow me on @YorkshireSnap for all things food related, recipes, restaurants, reviews and more!

Nikon Christmas challenge

Leading up to the festive period I entered a few pics into the Nikon 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. Some of the winning entries were incredible and hopefully as I progress with my camera one day I can achieve such good looking images. I entered the following: Winter Wildlife, Generations, Festive Reflections, Feast, Christmas Lights, Fantasy Scene and Joy and Laughter.