Cooking Experiences

Sophisticated & Seasonal: An elderflower evening at Crafthouse

As a Leeds food blogger, I’m lucky enough to be invited to a fair few food-related events, but some of these succeed only in whetting my appetite, leaving me wanting more food and/or drink once I leave! Despite this, the opportunity to try out Crafthouse in Leeds Trinity for the first time was pretty exciting, even more so with the event focusing on one of my favourite ingredients: elderflower.

The event was all about looking into local and seasonal produce and finding unique ways to make it shine in food and drink. Crafthouse’s head pastry chef Stefan Rose (who has previously worked at the likes of The Box Tree) was running the evening alongside the fantastic host Jenny, and simply put, I was not at all let down by my evening.

Arriving at Crafthouse, you are immediately given the chance to admire the view of the southern half of Leeds. It offers one of the best views of the city and, if you fancy a pre-drink before dining at Crafthouse, you can always improve on it by visiting sister restaurant Angelica (Angelica was voted as having one of the top 10 restaurant views in the UK recently). The modern and relaxed environment oozes class in Crafthouse, suggesting that the food is likely to be sophisticated and a bit edgy, much like the unisex toilets in fact!

Having sat down to a wonderful prosecco and elderflower cocktail, handed to us at one of the tables that overlooks the kitchen area, it soon became clear that this wasn’t going to be your usual foodie opportunity to review a change in menu or a new restaurant opening. This became even clearer when Stefan popped out the kitchen wearing his coat to let us know that he would be guiding us to a location where you can forage elderflower in Leeds city centre!

Crafthouse in Leeds

Crafthouse in Leeds

We were shown to a location near the Royal Armories where you can pick elderflower (and later in the year elderberries). However, we were advised by Stefan that they would need to be soaked for a few days if picked from the city centre. This was enlightening as it showed that even in the heart of Leeds there are many hidden and unexpected foodie opportunities!

Once we arrived back at Crafthouse and our elderflowers had been taken away to be soaked, we were presented with a look at the fantastic pre-theatre menu. Although I was very tempted by the ham hock terrine, I ended up going for mackerel tartare and was not let down at all. The fish was superbly seasoned and presented in a delightful, but not overly complicated manner. The range of textures on the plate were enhanced by the fact that the dish included a lovely flat bread and salad. All in all, it was an excellent starter.

Crafthouse in Leeds

For my main, I opted to go for east coast mussels and fries. Whilst I could have a slight whinge that the dish was a touch too salty for my taste, it was still very good and I regretted not saving some of the bread we had received earlier on in the meal to mop up the sauce! A delicious dish but not particularly demure, unlike the Josper grilled gammon steak that several other guests ordered, which looked an absolutely stonking dish! I tried to avoid having openly obvious food envy but I don’t think I succeeded very well.

Crafthouse in Leeds

The main event of the evening was of course going to be the desserts created specially by Stefan and indeed these did prove to be the highlight of an excellent night. The first palate cleansing dessert offered was a wonderful elderflower granita that was simply divine. With the granita itself perfectly created, the taste of elderflower running through it made this a truly wonderful dish that really showed how such a simple idea can be so effective.

Crafthouse in Leeds

The final dessert that we were offered boasted a wonderful array of textures, taste and aromas! While the idea of elderflower sorbet, doughnuts with gooseberry and a wonderful gooseberry mousse (disguised magnificently as ice cream!) might sound a little odd, the result was a truly amazing dish. The doughnuts were not overly fatty and were clearly well cooked, the sorbet was balanced beautifully with an excellent granola and the mousse was one of the nicest I have ever eaten. Michelin starred Crafthouse may not be, but this was a dessert that rivals the puds offered by some of the top places I have ever eaten at. All this with seasonal and local ingredients as well…

Crafthouse in Leeds

Whilst I was lucky enough to be invited to this event, you haven’t yet missed out, as there is a public event taking place on the 10th June that you can try out. To get tickets, visit this link. I should point out that Crafthouse didn’t actually ask me to promote this event but I want to recommend it for foodies purely from my own experience.

If you do go, let me know how you get on and how your evening was compared to mine.

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