Swine That Dines, Leeds
Tom McKenzie is a budding food writer and one half of the blogging partnership: The Dirty Pigs. We liked his style and invited him to review somewhere for Squidbeak. It seemed fitting to invite the ‘pig’ to join us at the Swine that Dines. Here is his first review for Squid. You can follow Tom and his eating partner Warren on Instagram: @apairofdirtypigs.
‘The Swine that Dines’ is tiny. A popular local cafe and sandwich shop by day under the guise ‘The Greedy Pig’, that becomes the Swine that Dines for evening eating. A blackboard offers ten small plates (eight savoury, two sweet) and at £5 a dish and £4 for desserts, it would have been rude not to order the lot.
The menu rotates Stuart Myers’ (ex Leodis and Harvey Nichols) philosophy of nose to tail, vegetarian and fish on a weekly basis. The first dish of buttermilk fried chicken, crispy and delicate on the outer, perfectly moist and salty on the inner, on a bed of creamed corn is followed by purple sprouting broccoli, lemon and chilli.
A salad of charred Romanesco cauliflower, with ricotta matched salty cheese with the sweetness of a caper and raisin puree and the nuttiness of cauliflower. Ox heart (a first for me) was perfectly cooked and full of the intensity that only comes with offal.
But the standout dish was Stuart’s take on a cotechino sausage – originally from Modena, the dish exemplifies Myers’ approach to cooking. Rich, intense and peppery, three slices of this humble sausage were enough for me to recommend the Swine that Dines to anyone. Each dish is like a snapshot from a thoroughly enjoyed holiday – a postcard from Italy, Greece, America.
Almost every dish hit a high note, bar some slightly flat squid and an overly bitter black dhal which was excused after we were told they had ‘almost never repeated a dish in the last six months.’ And why, after we had devoured the peanut butter cheesecake (peanut butter junkies should approach with caution, this stuff was Class A) and passion fruit tart, I will return to The Swine that Dines and why I suspect there was by now a queue now tailing out onto North Street.
Simple food done very well is remarkably hard to find, so cherish it when you do. Get yourself a reservation before it’s impossible. Take anyone who appreciates food or that you care about, for Stuart Myers’ simply beautiful food.