Indian summers come and go but in spite of the cold approach of autumn, the yelping must go on. And on it did, during this fine but blustery evening, for the latest in Elite event finery here in Leeds. The agenda was set for a night of artful musings, vegan cake antics and fine food sampling for some thirty folk in the delightful Café 164 and beautiful brand new Leeds Gallery.
As folks were welcomed into the warm the scarves and coats were ditched in place of a glass of bubbly rosé, complete with chopped strawberries, whilst the event got underway. Everyone had a chance to mingle and admire the new collection within the café, a thought provoking selection of pieces by Kaisa Breska whose work is inspired by a journey to the French Pyrenees, exploring the wild and rustic landscape of high mountains, whilst awaiting the remainder of the party to arrive.
Soon enough it was time to take a browse around the fabulous exhibition within the Leeds Gallery, which is directly linked to Café 164, after a small introduction by Ellie who explained the ethos behind the venture, and noted that it is indeed Leeds' first commercial gallery. With glasses refreshed folks took in the photographic work of Terry O'Neill – 50 Years At The Top; an astonishing collection of photographs which forms a who's who of cinema, rock and pop music, theatre and fashion over five decades, and discussed which images struck them the most. Whether it was Michael Caine, complete with shotgun, (Ian C's favourite) or Elton John, standing in front of thousands, (Laura J's favourite) there were plenty of fabulous famous faces to play who's who with and take in the photographic skill Terry O'Neill has developed over the years.
The fun hadn't nearly finished by that point, as everyone was gathered back into the café for a special introduction to vegan cake making, by the wonderful Elly of That Old Chestnut; a fantastic home-grown company who provide Café 164 (and many others about town) with some of their awesomely flavoursome fare. Elly began by explaining the roots of her company and then delved into explaining how simple it can be to create delicious bites, without having to rely on the use of animal products.
After that Elly demonstrated how to create vegan icing, using margerine instead of butter, as everyone watched on desperate to try out the cakes. (Some were even tempted to lick the icing bowl, but fortunately we've a little more decorum than that here in Leeds, so everyone waited patiently for a slice!) With a quick-step lesson in icing the cakes, demonstrating which tools can be utilised for a more professional look, the samples were sliced up for folks to have a try of the delightfully rich chocolate cake and the beautifully sweet carrot cake Elly had prepared.
Whilst the cake samples were being readied, everyone got a chance to try out some of the sandwich bites that are available for lunch in Café 164, which disappeared in a flash! Amongst a number of options, folks nibbled away the meatballs and mozzerella, peppered mackeral and houmous bites, all prepared freshly on the night with the café's finest foccacia bread. With glasses again being charged, this time with a choice of red or white wine, everyone took in a second plateful to enjoy the cakes – which also disappeared at speed!
And finally, after a long evening of artful musings, sandwich sampling and cake tasting folks had one final glass of wine, for the road, and had a chance to spin the Wheel Of Yelp. Everyone was a winner, taking home a number of different delightful prices, amongst the most coveted: Yelp's Fingerless Gloves… It was another delightful evening of the finest things in Leeds, supplying further fuel to the independent's fire, as we celebrated the best of the best of the locally grown.
Don't just take my word for it though! Have a gander at what these chaps thought:
"Another Corker! Well done Row, Sara, Ellie and Elly! A really lovely event with such a relaxed atmosphere that I could have stayed here all night chatting, supping and eating the most delicious sandwiches and licking the plate to ensure that all remnants of cake were devoured! I'm not sure how long Cafe 164 has been open, but they are sorted. The food was amazing and Leeds Gallery next door makes for a lovely venture away from the focaccia and cake… or are you supposed to come for the art and have a cuppa after?! Which makes me sound more cultured?" April K
"The chocolate cake was delicious and when I tried the dark chocolate that they made it with, I was pleasantly surprised that it actually tasted of chocolate. The little sandwiches were to die for and had such scrummy contents. I told the staff that I would be back to try their coffee which is reasonably priced and maybe a bite to eat. Altogether a brilliant night as usual. The staff were friendly and informative and I can't wait for the next one. Thanks to all." Douglas P
The hugest thanks goes out to Sara and Ellie of Café 164 and the Leeds Gallery for their wonderful hosting, warm welcome and delightful bites, and Elly of That Old Chestnut, whose insight into vegan recipes was informative, funny and fabulous. The whole evening was a delight, and would not have been complete without the fantastic Matthew Kitchen, whose photographs have captured every marvellous moment! As ever you can catch up on the reviews and pictures for yourselves.
That's me, signing out, after another incredible evening….