We the animals is a collective. It is not an intense 90s Euro pop collective like Urban Cookie Collective – nor (I hope) a collective like the three wild brothers in the Justin Torres book of the same name. We the animals is a culinary collective – a group of likeminded food bods who found each other while working within the Leeds food and hospitality scene and who want to present good food in new ways. So, I guess what I’m saying is this: We the animals – have the key, they’ve got the secret, they’ve got the key to another wa-a-ay (of dining).
Now that you’ve all got that truly timeless dance classic pumping through your brains, I’ll move on to the review. I missed the collective’s first event ‘We the Swine’ held at Holy Trinity Church because I was away on holiday. Thus I was exceptionally pleased when I found out my eating-partner-in-crime, Becs, had secured us some tickets for the second event ‘Underground’ held in the bottom of Leeds Town Hall, in the old prison cells (I told you they had the key).
One of the reasons I enjoy going to supperclubs and popups is because of the people you get to meet and the places you get to see that you wouldn’t usually. However, dining with people you dont know makes it a bit less ok to tell them not to dig in until after you’ve photographed their dinner at just the right jaunty angle. So, along with the fact i couldnt wait to eat the delicious food served up this is the reason that some of the photos in this post were kindly provided by a member of We the animals (thanks Andrea!). (You can read about similar issues when I went to Leeds Supperclub Dinner at the Manor here)
After stepping down in to the cellar of Leeds Town Hall we were welcomed with a superbly refreshing pimms drink on arrival, which was just the ticket considering the surprise heatwave. Being underground in the stone cells was a pleasure, not that it would have been in year’s gone by, which was hinted at in information posted on the white painted walls. As can be seen from the photo of the menu top left – the food for the evening was designed to be a continuous grazing platter of different seasonal tastes and textures and made being gluttonous easy, as you merely felt like you were picking at each plate. For a ticket price of £30 there was certainly a lot of food on the go! All of the food was cooked well and flowed so we were never without things to sample. I particularly liked the fact there were condiments or add-ons with many of the plates, designed to enhance the flavour – butter counts as a condiment, right?
The butter down a treat with the lightly peppery radishes to start. Other highlights were the two gazpachos on the menu – a (garalicky?) tomato to start and a simple strawberry pre-dessert.
The two things I couldn’t get enough of however were the pigs ears – juicy and a little bit fatty and salty and everything all at once -and the cumin-crushed lambs liver that banished memories of dry liver and onions served to me in my youth.
The house wine was very reasonably priced at £11 a bottle, so we polished off two bottles. We opted not to try the milk vodka, which other guests seemed to enjoy but I’m sadly allergic to. I perhaps should have downed more vino for dutch courage to help with what was to come next. After our meal, we were treated to a Laynes coffee and the caffeine gave me just enough of a boost for the next instalment – a surprise trip up the Leeds Town Hall tower.
As you can see from the photo, the view was quite special and made me feel extra nostalgic about being in my old home town of Leeds. The good news is one of the collective is as from as far as north as I and there has been some hinting at making a special appearance further north at some point in the future. In the meantime, you can find We the animals here on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to find out about future events.