Recently we haven’t ventured outside of Leeds too much – either we’re working or wedding organising. In fact, our wedding is next weekend so this is probably the last post before the big “I do”. I’m actually sitting here writing this in Seville, where I’m lucky enough to be speaking at Wordcamp Europe!
Lockwoods in Ripon is a beautiful place, both inside and out. It’s very Farrow & Ball – exactly the style that I love. Exposed brick and chalkboard pillars with specials written on give it the homely, bistro style. The restaurant slopes on the inside towards the door, meaning that during the lighter months of the year, everyone gets to see outside and enjoy the daylight. It also means that at no point do you ever feel too close to another table.
We started off with a cocktail each – I had the “Purple rinse” with gin, lemon, maraschino liqueur and creme de violette, which is my dream cocktail. I haven’t had a violet cocktail since Mr LTT and I went to Edinburgh early on in our relationship, where he forked out 12 quid for it in Harvey Nic’s. Not only did it look pretty, but it was absolutely delicious too. Mr LTT has a rhubarb gin and tonic, which really hit the spot too. Summer in a glass.
Starters were Szechuan pepper belly pork (with pickled fennel, granny smith apple and ginger). I don’t think I’ve ever eaten belly pork like this before. The combination of slightly spicy mixed with a little pickled aniseed-y sourness from the fennel, and the sweet crunch from the apple made it a texture and taste sensation. The belly pork was cooked to perfection, melting at the touch from my fork.
Mr LTT had a dairy-free version of their Scottish Salmon & east coast crab (with gravadlax & potato pancake, little fishcake, tartare sauce, potted white & brown crab , granary toast, caper & dill dressing). He loved the texture of the sweet and crispy fishcake, contrasting with the vinegary capers. It all had a really fresh taste. His only gripe was that nothing replaced the dairy free elements, so his starter was relatively small compared to mine. Adding a bit more salmon would have been good.
For main I had roast cod, crayfish & sweetcorn risotto, samphire, saffron & spring onion veloute. I’m now at a stage where I will happily order fish (previously a pesca-phobe) at a restaurant. The fish was beautiful cooked and you could just tell how fresh it was from the colour. The creamy risotto and salty samphire complemented the sweet crayfish and sweetcorn. Just thinking about this now is making me hungry!
Mr LTT had a very special veal t-bone steak with parmentier potatoes, fresh asparagus, and pancetta and mushroom jus (sorry I can’t remember exactly what it was since it was on the specials and I didn’t write it down). Veal has a delicate flavour but it really worked well with the earthy mushrooms. There was a little creaminess to the jus (we think it had marsala in) and the pancetta added a little saltiness deliciousness to the proceedings. What porcine eater does not enjoy pancetta? The meat was perfectly seasoned and it was really nice to see an unconventional cut of veal used in this way! More rose veal please!
Although I was full I couldn’t turn down dessert. I went for affogato because I wanted the coffee kick but with the edge taken off by smooth and creamy vanilla icecream. It didn’t disappoint. This was my first time eating affogato, but if it’s as good as this, then I’ll definitely be having it again.
Mr LTT had honey and spice roast pineapple with thai basil, lemongrass sorbet. It would usually come with a sesame seed dentelle but there was butter in it so he didn’t have that. I’m not lying when he said it was one of the best desserts he’s ever had (not by me of course haha!). I was surprised since normally he isn’t a big lemongrass fan but the flavours just mixed so well, it was pure heaven in a bowl. It was also really nice that he wasn’t relegated to bog-standard plain ol’ sorbet which he normally is for pudding.
Lockwoods is the perfect place for a dinner with friends or a romantic meal. I can’t wait to bring my mum here, I know she’ll love it. And Ripon seems like a rather quaint little town. It’s about an hour’s drive from Leeds, but it’s beautiful rural countryside on the way!
The menu has something to tickle everyone’s fancy. There’s all sorts of specials that when they’re sold out, they’re sold out. That’s what a good restaurant does. There’s nothing pretentious, but it feels more than just comfort food. The whole experience for me was thoroughly enjoyable.
PS If you get a chance to talk to Matt the owner, you should. He is really nice and clearly passionate about what he does, which is why Lockwoods has been around so long!
Find out more about Lockwoods Restaurant, Ripon.
Disclaimer: I ate here in return for writing an independent review.