Comfort Food

Winter time is coming. It’s ridiculous to say because it wasn’t long ago we switched to autumn but it has gone so quick and I’ve now got Christmas in my head. I’ve not wanted to write about Christmas earlier (even though I’ve attended Christmas parties already) and shouldn’t still because it’s not been Halloween yet. But, since my Halloween crafts didn’t go as planned, I’m scrapping Halloween and focusing on Christmas and winter instead. Like we want fresh salads and ice cream in summer, all we want in autumn and winter is hot soups and slow cooked stews. Am I right?

Luckily for us, the restaurants are well and ready for our cravings. I recently went to Gusto in Cookridge to try their new Winter Menu and a while back Browns threw a very early Christmas Party where they treated us to tastings from their Christmas Menus.

Gusto and Browns

Gusto Cookridge Winter Menu

I’ve been to Gusto Cookridge a couple of times. It’s close to where I work so very convenient to go for lunch and they do a good lunch deal as well which is perfect – 2 courses for £12.95. That’s so cheap, and for such nice food and environments – it’s a bargain. It feels wrong to say cheap about Gusto because it’s such a classy restaurant but when the price is so good, what else can I say?

On arrival, we all got treated to a drink. I had a mocktail (White Peach Cooler) and it was delicious. I’m so happy when restaurants and pubs offer a good selection of alcohol free drinks alongside their cocktail menu. After downing the drink we were seated at the biggest table in the house, overlooking the downstairs seating.

Together, we tried four starters, four pizza/pasta, three mains and two desserts from their Winter Menu. Yes, that’s a lot of food so I did  go home full and content, despite being a bit weary about sharing one plate of food among 10 or so people. Luckily, none of us were vegetarians or allergic to anything served so it wasn’t all that bad. It was a good experience and a great way to make sure we got a bit of everything to try instead of one course each from the menu.

Gusto Winter Menu

I now know what I’ll order next time I go – Seafood Tagliatelle for starters and Oven Baked Fillet of Cod. Are you surprised I picked seafood as my favourites? I’m not! I’m really happy they lived up to my expectations and more, people who normally wouldn’t go for fish really enjoyed them too. The pasta was so nice and fresh and with a bit of chilli giving it the perfect amount of heat. The cod was perfectly cooked and wrapped in ham, it had a really nice salty flavour.

I can really recommend the pizzas as well, definitely ‘Fiorentina’ which has a cooked egg in the middle. I probably would never choose that eating anywhere but I was amazed how good it is. The Fillet of Pork ‘Saltimbocca’ was also really nice, typical comfort food for the winter season. The desserts were nice but it’s not something I order in often. I prefer a piece of chocolate or ice cream at home instead. If you like cheesecake, especially the cheesy bit then you’re in luck!

I’m going back for lunch soon but I really want to come back here for their Cocktail Masterclass as well. It includes a 2 course Christmas meal and 2 cocktails that you learn how to make yourself, all for £36.95. Who’s coming with?

Browns Christmas Menu

I’ve been to Browns one time before to eat breakfast but plenty of times to enjoy a drink after running the regular 10ks in Leeds. It’s a tradition of my workplace to go afterwards and discuss how the race went for everyone. It’s soon time for the next one, Abbey Dash next week -eek!

Anyway, like Gusto I see Browns as a posher place to go for food so probably a reason why I never do. I’m quite a simple girl but when I got invited to check out their Festive offerings, I couldn’t say no (even though it was still summer when the invite landed and the party took place).

Browns has a lot of options if you want to celebrate Christmas with them; Christmas Lunch, Festive Afternoon Tea, Festive Buffet, Christmas Day Menu, Boxing Day Menu, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Menu and Festive Canapes which we were treated to on the night that I went. They have really thought of everything so there’s bound to be something for everyone’s taste. Since I’m not a massive fan of Christmas dinner (sorry!) I would definitely go for the Festive Buffet or Canapes or the Festive Afternoon Tea. None of these are your typical Christmas dinner but will still get you in the Christmas spirit. Check out the full menus here.

Browns Festive Canapes

I stuffed my face on the night, especially with Cumberland & Gingerbread Stuffing Balls and Beetroot Hash Bon Bons and had lots of nice drinks. The Beetroot Hash Bon Bons are like nothing I’ve ever tasted before and I still think of them now and again (silly, I know!)  Browns also do a really nice mulled wine so if that’s all you fancy, you know where to go. Or make your own? I’ll be heating up another one of these mulled ciders with rum nearer to Christmas, just like last year.

What is your favourite comfort food in winter time? Have you got any Christmas parties and meals booked in yet?

Jennie xx