And I loved it.
Rebecca Ferguson concert. And what a show it was. As the runner-up on the X Factor in 2010, I guess I'm probably one of the few folks that hadn't heard her amazing voice. It filled the Philharmonic Hall to bursting, and, coupled with intros to the songs she wrote, conveyed rare emotion and infectious humility. As it happened, her family was right behind us (with one empty row between) and as Rebecca made many references to the importance of the love and support they'd given her over the years, you could hear them trying to stifle their reactions. Add to that a top quality opener in Jay James Picton -- honestly, he was one of the best opening acts I've seen; powerful and confident from the outset -- and you've got one heck of a night.
the Shipping Forecast. We both had the goat's cheese and caramelized onion burger, and, oh man, you wanna talk about finger-lickin' good -- don't even think the Brits would've been able to resist throwin' down that fork and knife in the face of these beauties. And then what Tea awarded Best Chips in Britain, as a side? Heaven. Plus, they had a wicked selection of condiments -- including three types of Tabasco (in the UK, mind!) -- which is easy, but trips up many of the otherwise pros. Second place goes to North Garden: one of the many inviting options in Chinatown that we picked at random. Fantastic duck, wonton soup, spicy shrimp with garlic... Just a meal of starters, really, which is how Tea rolls, or would, if the rest of the world would just get on board and offer proper meals. Barburrito gets bronze: as good as any Mexican you can get in Canada, in my opinion. Which just seems wrong, as they get it together in less than five minutes. But so flavourful, from their guacamole to their various salsas, etc.
|At The Philharmonic Dining Rooms|
|At Thomas Rigby's|
Other stops included:
- Thomas Rigby's: great spot with a lot of character. Ilkley's Fireside Porter had a nice bite to it. Tea had Newmans Creative Cat, a tasty pale, from a Welsh brewer, apparently (with no 'net presence I can find).
- The Globe: clearly, another local favourite, and an oasis in the shopping district. They were jokin' and carryin' on with the landlady when I was in there; really infectious. I'd probably put this in second place, come to think of it. The Coach House Brewing Co.'s Squires Gold Spring Ale was excellent: refreshing and understated.
- The Munro: gotta love it when a restaurant that bills itself as fine dining has four real ales on, and a warm, relaxing area to enjoy them.
- The Philharmonic Dining Rooms: last, but not least, we popped in after the show on a recommendation. Opulent and cosy, if you can believe it, with a truly amazing selection of ales. I think the tasty red I had had Smithy in the name, which leads me to White Horse Brewery's Wayland Smithy. Tea's True Grit Pale Ale, by Millstone Brewery, was also excellent.
Just a great weekend. We took the train up, and never once considered a cab. The Albert Docks, where we stayed (at the excellent Staybridge Suites), were a leisurely half-hour walk from there, and everything we did was in between the two. One of the better walking cities we've visited, in fact.