Once in a blue moon, a food experience comes along that makes us wake up, smell the coffee, and redefine the difference between good and great. That’s exactly what happened to me when The Ginger Indian fine-diner rolled into Lambert’s Yard for a four-day stint recently.
Bringing together the culinary talents of six head chefs, whose many accolades include Leeds’ first Michelin Star, the second of The Chefs Table Pop Up Series left us wanting more. Held in the sparse, industrial-chic confines of Lambert’s Yard on Lower Briggate, the team barely put a foot wrong with their ambitious six-course tasting menu.
Taking inspiration from across India, each dish managed to successfully combine spices freshly flown in from India with some of the finest local produce you’ll find in Yorkshire.
Settling down with an ice-cold pint of Caledonian as we waited on the first course, the Ginger’s Bombay Mix and Hula-Hoop Imitation appetisers were seemingly designed to be enjoyed with beer, and a great way to start to the evening.
After a short wait, the Lamb Maghaz Samosa Chaat arrived, which was packed with rich, unusual flavours. And, whilst this dish still felt like it was intended purely to whet our appetites, I could have quite happily enjoyed a full-size portion of this as a starter.
Next up was the Spiced Whitby Crab with avocado trifle, which was incredibly light and not as memorable as the other dishes for me personally. The Jersey Royal and Octopus Salad that followed suit more than made up for this, and quickly became a contender for dish of the evening. Served with BBQ’s yoghurt, octopus has never tasted so good. It was quite simply sheer perfection and beautifully presented on a stone perched atop a bamboo leaf for all the Instagram addicts out there.
Any questions about how they’d top this one we’re quickly answered with the arrival of the Yorkshire Duck Biryani. Consisting of the leanest, most perfectly pink duck I’ve ever seen, once again the quality of the ingredients and culinary craftmanship was on point. The dish was served with a subtly flavoured garlic and mint yoghurt with cucumber salad, that really allowed the duck to take centre stage.
The final savoury dish of Swaledale Mutton Shepherd’s Pie hadn’t been one I’d especially been looking forward to, however, the couple opposite had highly recommended it as their favourite. Whilst I think I was more torn between the duck and the octopus, it was by far the best shepherd’s pie I’ve ever tasted, and all the better for its crunchy paneer crumble.
We ended with the Gajar Ka Hawla dessert, which works so much better in reality than on paper. Featuring curry sugar, burnt white chocolate and Granny Smith apple, the hints of cinnamon with white chocolate proved irresistible to me, and I could have easily eaten a second.
The Ginger Indian was without doubt the best dining experience I’ve had in a long time, and stood out due to the sheer amount of new flavour experiences featured in one, small and very well-edited tasting menu. If these guys are testing the water for a more permanent residence, then they should certainly revisit this pop-up as they got everything so right.
The Chefs Table Pop Up series have sold out their last two events, and has some exciting stuff on the horizon in Leeds, including a Wagyu beef night (just take my money). Their next event will be the Chef’s Garden of Vegan, which promises to step up the vegan game even higher in a city that’s gone began mad in the past 12 months. Get your tickets here before they sell out.