The World Cup of Flavours (Part 2)
Words: Harry McMullen
As the FIFA 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia, we divert our eyes away from the all action on the pitch to the action in the kitchen. Leeds is a real melting pot of cultures and the cities restaurants act as a perfect exemplar. The World Cup of Flavours showcases an array of cuisines that can be found in restaurants around the city. 16 nations will battle it out. This week we see games 5-8. Who will reign supreme and who will be doing the dishes?
Game five –
Great Britain (George’s Great British Kitchen) v Japan (Little Tokyo)
If British food does not make you think of Queen Lizzie, Waterloo or a Lancaster Bomber then you just aren’t eating it correctly. British food is our societal staple, it disregards race, colour and political preference. It is one of the only systems that distributes consistent pleasure – and consistent pleasure and George’s Great British Kitchen (GGBK) go together like fish and chips. Based in The Light, GGBK offers customers a no nonsense, ‘proper‘ menu, taking food back to a basics. No gimmicks, no squid ink sandwiches, no edible cutlery, just practical and efficient tasty grub. GGBK could go far in this contest. Rule Britannia!
Konichiwa! Representing Japan in the World Cup of Flavours is Little Tokyo. A small, intimate establishment, Little Tokyo offers customers a real taste of Japan wrapped in a Dojo-esque decor. The menu consists of simple flavours with impressive presentation. From Sushi to Katsu, Little Tokyo could not be further removed from the British menu at GGBK. The delicacy and the passion of the cuisine give the land of the rising sun a real chance, as West meets East in the Round of 16.
Game six –
Greece (Souvlaki) v Ethiopia (Piassa Bar and Restaurant)
The Greeks may have been thinkers, conjuring up the societal constructions of mathematics, democracy and cartography but is their cuisine enough to put them on the map. Souvlaki can be found on Great George St, and after four years of trading, is firmly cemented in Leeds’ dining scene. Stepping into Souvlaki could be compared to stepping into the Mediterranean, murals of Greek seaside villages transform the urban eatery into a Ionian veranda. The menu consists of classic Greek dishes, cooked to perfection. From the restaurant’s namesake dish (Souvlaki), to a more traditional greek salad, Souvlaki has it all. A great atmosphere, great food and fair prices – a real dark horse in the contest.
The only African nation in the World Cup of Flavours, Ethiopia (Piassa Bar and Restaurant) have the responsibility of representing both Africa and the cradle of civilisation in the contest. Piassa sits on Roundhay Road and concisely gives diners a true African dining experience. The menu is mainly composed of traditional vegetarian dishes such as the injera based meal ‘ye tsome beyainetu’, each dish a homely portion. Ethiopian cuisine may not be a first choice when eating out but Piassa do their utmost to create an authentic sub-saharan atmosphere. The customer can sample the culture as well as the cuisine. So with a new taste, homely portions and very fair pricing, what is not to love about Piassa, a outsider in this competition.
Game seven –
India (Aagrah) v Cuba (Revolution de Cuba)
India may be home to over 1.2 billion people and curry may be the most consumed dish on the planet but the World Cup of Flavours is all about quality not quantity. Aagrah however is a champion of quality food. The chain of Indian buffet restaurants was first established in nearby Shipley in 1977, the brand now boasts 11 eateries across the north of England. The restaurant aims to give diners an authentic taste of Indian and is very popular given the region’s huge south Asian population. From Masala to Balti Aagrah offers a dish for every taste bud and the upholstery places diners in a Dravidian environment. A fantastic evening of flavour, Aagrah is a must-eat.
Cuba’s liberation revolution may be decades in the past but the Cuban’s still aim to liberate our taste buds, Revolution de Cuba can be found in the heart of Leeds’ nightlife district. Although Revs is a popular bar at night, we are here to talk about their food menu. A former Spanish colony, the food at Revs de Cuba is a concoction of two contrasting cuisines: imperial Iberian food and food from the Caribbean. Diners can start with Paella and enjoy Caribbean curry for their main. Revs de Cuba pride themselves on creating a relaxed hispanic environment for customer to sit back and enjoy their meal with friends and family. We’ll hope you’ll be Havana good time at Revolution de Cuba, a real contender in the tournament.
Game eight –
Thailand (My Thai) v Spain (Iberica)
My Thai resides in Leeds Merion centre in the northern quarter of the city and has recently been voted the best restaurant in Leeds at the British Restaurant Awards. From Thai green Curries to Tuk Tuk, the menu is very simple yet very efficient, providing diners with organic, affordable Thai food. Thai food is on the rise across Britain and the new kids on the block have a very good chance to go all the way in the World Cup of Flavours.
The siesta kings are culinary pioneers, the Spanish may have been a huge influence on much of the hispanic nations featured in the competition but are the colonies overtaking their imperial master. Representing Spain in the World Cup of Flavours is Iberica. A restaurant that offers diners a true authentic taste of Espana. Whether it’s Tapas or Paella washed down with Iberica excellent range of wines, you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Vamos!
Thanks for reading our World Cup of Flavours 2018 – be sure to check out all of our contestants and let us know what you think!