Right in the middle of my resolution to give up sugar and live free of this insulin-buggering addiction, I was given the task of writing this article. What could I do? Horrified by Simon Binns’ Whitelocks pudding nightmare (click here), and convinced journalism could legitimise any vice, I set out on my quest to prove Leeds’ credentials in the sweet-stakes.
1. Arts Cafe Bar - Arts ‘Millionaires’ Shortbread’
Millionaires’ shortbread has to be a king among casual cakes. But in Art’s Cafe Bar, served in a glass tumbler, the king reaches almighty proportions. An inch of chocolate ganache twists against your spoon as you gouge for the caramel mousse below. After an eye-glazing journey through this velvet beginning, you are rewarded with a river of caramel covering a crisp, crumble base. For pudding devotees of Leeds, this is Mecca.
2. Distrikt - Roasted Banana with amaretto, chocolate and cream
Resting in a pie dish, winking at me as if it knew I’d always choose it over a pie, the boozy banana arrived. Almond and chocolate fumes steamed up my nose. The soft flesh, with its smoky roasted undertones slipped perfectly beneath the cool cream, as amaretto dripped through each bite. I didn’t know a piece of fruit could be so wickedly transformed.
3. Hansa’s - Fruit Shrikhand
Like a gluttonous magpie, I could not resist the plethora of unknown ingredients that glittered like candy-diamonds from the dessert menu. But no words could really do justice to this delightful Shrikhand. A plate of what looked like fruit and yoghurt arrived and my heart sank a little, but the silky yoghurt’s floral aroma combined with the delicate melon and berries were fit for a heavenly banquet.
4. Roots & Fruits - Lemon and ginger cheesecake
Although this rather small slice of cheesecake seemed lacking in stature, it was more than capable in the tasting. It was crumbly, yet smooth. As tongue-twisting as cheesecake but as light as ice cream. The lemon lay on the top, lightning powerful, whilst the ginger hid below, subtly laced within the thick base. It made me do a chubby-cheeked smile with a glee I thought I’d left in the pockets of my childhood dungarees.
5. LS6 - Knickerbocker Glory
A dish with such a name and reputation has a lot to live up to, and LS6 did not fall short of the tradition. Layers of fluffy cream wound around mounds of satin-smooth strawberry ice-cream; raspberries, blueberries and strawberries appearing out of nowhere, occasionally punctuated with the crunch of a pecan. Even a connoisseur in the field, dissatisfied with the lack of jelly, could not criticise the sheer size of the thing - a bear would’ve been satisfied.
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