Interview

‘A pop-up that’s grown up’ – The Swine That Dines, North St, reviewed​​

Intimate, innovative and interesting – Simon Richardson feels like he’s at a secret gig

IT was a very different Swine that Dines that Leeds Confidential visited back in 2016. Back then, owners Jo and Stuart Myers were rushed off their feet running the popular Greedy Pig during the day, while catering for a growing independent food scene in the evenings.

In the end, something had to give, and in May the pig hung up its trotters for good, to be replaced by the full-time swine.

The Pig hasn’t been cut up and repurposed as food just yet though. As soon as I walk into the Swine that Dines, I can feel its ghost enveloping me like a warm hug from a loved one.

It’s a relaxed, cosy atmosphere that makes you think of your local café, with a familiar counter and table setup and a row of little pigs lined up high on the main wall, watching you from above.

I’ve been here twenty minutes without eating part of an animal and I’ve barely even noticed.

It’s a completely unpretentious setting that is matched by the laid-back, friendly attitude of the owners.

Indeed, as I chat to Jo, I feel like I’m being welcomed into the… what’s the collective noun for a group of pigs? A snout?

Anyway, there are only a few tables and they’re all full, so it’s a popular club, whatever you choose to call it.

The menu has been made to match the intimacy. Each plate is for sharing, which, as a man with a reputation for being fiercely protective of his food, immediately summons forth a bead of nervous sweat from my brow.

I stare my partner down with aggressive determination. It’s ON. 

The total price of the main seven-plate menu comes in at an impressive £49.50. If anywhere else offers better value for money, I’m yet to have been, though we do add on the optional sides as a greed buffer.

The first two dishes arrive together, adding a new level of challenge to the eating contest I’ve utterly fabricated in my strange little head.

The heritage tomato dish is crunchy and fresh, with any acidity tempered by a creamy, whipped feta – although the advertised chilli doesn’t materialise.

The other opener is a kind of cucumber tempura, which plays a starring role in the evening, ably supported by a cast of pickled ginger and a sweet potato purée that hides a hidden crunch beneath.

I’ve been here twenty minutes without eating part of an animal and I’ve barely even noticed.

Read the full review here.

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