13 October 2014

Roast and Conch. Leeds

The lovely and wonderful Kellie of Big Fashionista fame recently invited me along to be her +1 at an event in Leeds. I knew very little about what the event would entail, but knew that it would involve chocolate, which was good enough for me!

chocolate made here

Turns out we were off to Roast and Conch in Leeds for an introduction to their tasty treats and chocolate experiences. I've called into Roast and Conch before, in the downstairs café bit for cake and hot chocolate, but the upstairs restaurant bit was new territory to me!

I've had my eye on the place for a while but if definitely seemed like for of a 'special occasion' restaurant rather than a 'I'm nearby and a bit peckish' sort of restaurant, and I'd had no good excuse to visit. I was very glad to finally have a reason to walk up those stairs...

cocoa nib pastry

...and oh, the treats to be found up there! We were first handed a glass of prosecco - always a good start! That taken care of, we got our first introduction the the wonderful food available to sample. 

The food at Roast and Conch all incorporates cocoa in some way or another - not chocolate, so you don't need to worry about sickly sweetness ruining your steak or anything - but a spicy, savoury roast cocoa to go with the West Indian influenced experience. 

The clearly well-informed staff were full of interesting facts about the influences, ingredients, amd recipes behind these dishes but unfortunately I was too distracted by how good everything was to really retain much information. I was definitely struck by the care, love and attention put into everything that comes out of the kitchen though. 

I didn't try either of the fish dishes available, as I'm just not keen on fish at all, but I heard from everyone they were pretty amazing. The mini-burgers were definitely a bit special though, and the Mac and Cheese in Cacao nib pastry was perfection in a pastry cup.

Obviously though, it is the more desserty options that most tickle my fancy, and the chocolate mousse - created for the 2014 BAFTA dinner - was just the luxuriously decadent square of awesomeness you'd expect. 

After we'd nibbled everything available, we headed back downstairs to learn a bit more about chocolate. The in-house chocolatier took us through some of the finer points of tasting chocolate, and Kellie had a go at doing some tempering (ie making a lot of chocolatey mess!) 

If you fancied a go at chocolate-making, a Bean to Bar Experience could be just the thing! 

After the hard work was all done, it was time to chill out in the bar where we were offered our choice of chocolate based cocktail. I opted for the Praline Soother - hazelnut liqueur, coconut cream, vodka, praline and white chocolate. This was incredible, a boozy dessert in a glass. I would like to live on these! 

praline soother

Not only were we incredibly spoilt on the night, but we were sent away with a bag of extra treats so the indulgence could continue at home. I've been working my way slowly through the Autumn Selection, and I've not come across as bad one yet (though the Treacle Tart remains a bit of a stand out, and the Sloe Gin Truffles are definitely something that I can see having a few fans!)

I was really glad to finally have an experience with the Hotel Chocolat restaurant but it appears that instead of quenching my interest, it's made me all the more eager to visit again and have myself a proper meal (and dessert!) there as soon as possible!

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