Once upon a time there was a cafe called the Greedy Pig Kitchen and it lived in North Street in Leeds, just outside the inner ring road.

The Swine That Dines
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It was a very good cafe and even when its big brother The Swine That Dines arrived with a full-blown restaurant there in the evenings, the Greedy Pig carried on with its all-day breakfast, pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, flatbreads topped with aubergine and delicious cakes.
Lots of locals loved the Pig but the Swine was so good that people came from far and wide. They came for Stu Myers’ innovative six-course menu, featuring thoughtful dishes like buttermilk chicken and cotechino with lentils, perfect fruit tarts and Jo Myers’ ice cream that explored the flavour wheel from blue cheese to tobacco and tonka bean. The menu changed every month and at the start of every month they bravely put on an intelligent plant-based vegetarian and vegan menu.
But it was all very hard work looking after these two popular but different pigs all day and night and in May they reluctantly decided to kill off the Greedy Pig. So many people came in its final week that they enjoyed record takings.
Still, it was a happy ending for those, including this columnist, who have loved the Swine since it opened three years ago and now it means you can have lunch there, too, with its new expanded openings of lunch Wednesday to Saturday and dinner Thursday to Saturday.

The changeover has seen some change but not too much. It would hardly be possible in such a confined space. Now it’s smarter for a fresh coat of paint, new signage and rough wooden pallets hung on the wall and filled with pot plants. The mezzanine room can still just about squeeze in 24 covers, at its simple wooden tables.
Drink from Duralex glasses or BYO wine (they’ve applied for a licence to sell their own alcohol). The evening menu keeps the same formula – seven courses for £49.50 for two people to share. The new lunch menu is more a la carte with a dozen small dishes priced at between £4 and £9. Three per head will make up a filling meal.
More importantly, Stu is turning out plates of consistent quality and verve. First up at lunch was chewy, flavoursome sourdough from Leeds’s Roops Bakery with a mildly flavoured matcha butter and lovely sweet and grainy pumpkin jam topped with seeds. I’d have happily lunched on this alone.
From six dishes between the two of us, I can highlight delicious bone marrow croquettes atop a little stew of soft and crunchy chickpeas with some finely diced veg and a modest hit of chilli. The grey mullet was gorgeous, too, a small, sweet fillet with a heap of finely shaved fennel, dressed with tarragon and lemon and a spoonful of chilli aioli. Chicory, dressed with cured duck egg and buttermilk with a scattering of sourdough crumbs provided a salad refresher. More veg came from skewered oyster mushrooms with spring onions and black garlic.

If you are squeamish about offal, pass on the skewered chicken hearts with bacon. They took a chew, kindly softened by pureed sweet potato and miso. Nor is the GPK Scotch egg for softies. GPK you will remember is the Greedy Pig Kitchen where these big boys wowed the regulars and apparently went down a bomb at the Leeds Beer Festival. No wonder, it’s a perfectly boiled egg (firm white, just runny yolk) wrapped in chorizo sausage meat.
Even with that lot inside me, I wanted all the desserts: the tobacco and tonka bean ice cream; Leeds blue cheese ice cream with poached pear; Richard III Wensleydale and homemade Eccles cakes; chocolate torte; buckwheat, honey, crème caramel; custard tart; and finally affogato.
We settled for the blue cheese ice cream which was a fabulous combo answering my sweet/savoury craving with a creamy ice cream and just a waft of blue cheese while the sweetly poached pears made it a heavenly match.
And if you’ve never had the perfect custard tart then here it is from the hands of Stu Myers or possibly Jo who is the pastry queen: a thin, crisp pastry base, rich egg custard with a perfect wobble, topped with all-important grated nutmeg. A classic and after a series of mediocre, samey desserts from all sorts of restaurants, trust me, I know a good ’un.

You’ve got to love the Swine. You could call it humble, homely and honest and I mean all three of those adjectives as compliments. It’s a small enterprise, a husband and wife team that’s stuck to its guns of quality sourcing, integrity and creativity through more hard work than I can imagine. Even if that list doesn’t impress you, there is a bottom line: the food tastes great. And that’s no fairytale.
The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds LS2 7PN, 0113 244 0387, www.swinethatdines.co.uk. Open: Wednesday-Saturday, 12 noon-3pm; Thursday-Saturday, 5.30-9.30pm. Price: lunch for two including service approximately £60.

About The Author

Jill Turton

Jill Turton is a freelance food and travel journalist who writes for numerous publications. She inspects restaurants for national food guides and is a regular reviewer for the Yorkshire Post. Jill is author of Good Food in Yorkshire and the Time Out Guide to the Lake District and with Mandy Wragg writes the Yorkshire online food guide www.squidbeak.co.uk'

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