Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Create, Wakefield

If there's one restaurant in Leeds that I really regret failing to dine it while I had the chance, it's Create. At this point I could launch into a lengthy and fawning report on the Create organisation, explaining the great work that they do and why you should all give them your support, but given that I didn't bother giving them mine up until now, I won't. It would be patronising and I'd probably be preaching to the converted anyway.

On the off chance you didn't already know, Create are a social enterprise, widely lauded for their work with vulnerable people, sort of like Jamie Oliver's Fifteen without the super-celeb backing. Their Leeds restaurant recently closed for a refurbishment and restructure, from which I hope they return as soon as possible. News of the closure did seem a little ominous though, with talk of 'today's harsh economy' and 'tough commercial realities'.

The honest and truthful reason I hope they're back soon, any guilty feelings aside, is that the food sounded bloody wonderful. Praised by bloggers and critics alike, I don't think I read anything negative about the place, and the menus always read beautifully. You know the kind where deciding becomes a chore as it all sounds so damn good?

From the most recent menu, still online at the moment, how about 'Salt cod fritters, sweet pickled onion salad, radish, sourdough' to start, followed by 'Char-grilled skirt steak, wild mushroom gratin, chips, watercress'. And for pudding: 'Sticky toffee pudding, parkin crumble, caramel sauce and milk sorbet'. If that doesn't get you salivating there's something wrong with you.

So the Leeds restaurant may be on hiatus, but Create have also opened a new cafe in Wakefield One, the new building housing a range of council services including the city's museum and central library. First thing to mention: well done to Wakefield Council for giving the concession to Create, and not going for the obvious choice of either a) Costa, or b) one of the anonymous but equally crap giant catering co's.

I stopped in there for coffee and a snack last week, and was pleased to discover it lived up to the high expectations I had for the brand. The coffee, a flat white, wasn't particularly well made, coming from one of those funny auto-espresso machines, but still tasted pretty good as they're using quality beans from local roasters Grumpy Mule.

To eat, an Eccles cake. It might not look much, but what do you expect from currant stuffed pastry? Reassuringly mis-shapen, and a buttery delight to eat, I think it's safe to assume that they're making the food from scratch so I'm keen to return and try the lunchtime offerings.

The guy who served me was also lovely and friendly, and prices are very fair (cheaper than both the big chains and the more upmarket independents).

To sum up, let's hope Create can continue to succeed, and here's to the re-opening of the Leeds restaurant. I for one won't be missing out next time around.


Wakefield One
Burton Street


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