I am a freelance nutritionist living in Leeds City Centre. I enjoy trying new places with healthy food claims, and I give the low down on them.
Published October 12th 2012
James Martin's Food is no Gamble
Leeds kitchen is fronted by celebrity chef James Martin himself, and situated in Alea Casino, which is hard and shiny, echoey and reminded me of a train station. The French vintage posters try to give it the French chic look, but really just make the place look like Café Rouge.
But the food is good, modern, robust with flavour and comforting. I had soft pickled herrings, cured in-house, with a salad of beets and turnips and soda bread croutons.
My partner had a scotch egg made from smoked haddock on a sparky mess of creamed and acidulated leeks. We then went on to have a duck dish, the breast roasted, the leg braised, and a butch take on bœuf bourguignon.
What defined these dishes was not the work done on service, but everything done before: the balance of that cure on the herring, the forming of the scotch egg and the leeks beneath it. Best of all was that braised duck, spun through with orange zest then formed into a cigar and wrapped in crisped filo.
We finished with a caramelised orange tart, and a white chocolate and whisky croissant bread-and-butter pudding. This is James Martin's signature dessert.
Pricing for all this is steep by Leeds standards. £7 for starters and mid teens for mains. This is not helped by a wine list which accelerates from £14.50 upwards.