What pops up must come down
Morrisons Kitchen tests its bistro range in a pop up restaurant in Leeds. You may have seen the new Morrison’s advert, where Freddie Flintoff, in a performance more wooden then the bats he probably should have stuck to playing with, introduces us to five of the world’s top chefs. Well this is just one of many new tactics used by the supermarket chain to entice shoppers and compete with the higher end food stores. While the jury’s still out on Freddie’s future as an actor, maybe Morison’s pop up restaurants will prove to be a more effective promotional tool. With an invitation only guest list and Michelin starred chefs behind this newest selection of dishes, Morrison’s
are attempting to step up their game and produce posh nosh that can compete with Marks and Spencer’s and Tesco’s finest. Although the initial impression maybe somewhat dubious, surely Morrison’s are punching above their weight here, guests appear to be more than willing to take one for the team and fill their stomachs in a bid to find out if Waitrose should be shaking in their gourmet boots quite yet? Like an apparition floating on the river in Granary Wharf, M kitchen definitely doesn’t fall into the garishly yellow category of usual Morrison’s products. With simple lettering above the door of a small stone building it is chic and
from Morrison’s and a disappointing follow up to the starters. All is not lost however, the ‘Dumfries house’ dry aged traditional-breed beef steak is both generously sized and flavoured, perfectly accompanied by sweet potato gratin, this is more like a celebrity chef showing off. Finally the desserts range from a satisfyingly stodgy and deliciously gooey tarte tartin, to a cheesecake which could be a tad bland without the addition of a tangy raspberry compote.
welcoming. On entering, the hostess is surprisingly formal but friendly, like an enthusiastic checkout girl in a very good suit. The decor is beautiful and as the first glass of champagne is handed over before you even get a chance to sit down you could be forgiven for forgetting this has anything to do with a certain budget supermarket. Or could this be a diversion tactic, get the guests drunk and they won’t notice the food. On first impressions the menu is inviting as were a number of the dishes. Scallops served on broad bean and sweet pea puree looked beautiful and despite being renowned for its difficulty to get right, were cooked and seasoned perfectly. The beef Carpaccio, razor thin and delicate perhaps didn’t need to be quite so obscured by the mountain of Morrison’s value rocket but they can be forgiven for the presumption that more is less on this occasion. Much bigger mistakes could be made, like for example choosing the pizza for main. If you expect this seemingly extravagant venue to be echoed in all the mains, think again. The pizza calabrese is quite literally just that. No embellishments or fancy flourishes just the on-going theme of rocket bunged rather haphazardly onto an oven cooked pizza. Tepid in both temperature and taste, it is unfortunately exactly what is expected
The intention of the M kitchen is to use the low priced ingredients in the bistro range to create tasty, classy and seemingly pricey dishes and thanks to the abundance of Morrisons stores in Leeds the student population could really benefit from this. With three superstores throughout Leeds, it is easily accessible and easily affordable. Although a few of the dishes have the wow factor of a MacDonald’s chip, overall the range is varied, tasty and great value for money. For under a fiver you can get a serving of margherita pasta that could sink the titanic, or a generous shepherds pie with a choice of side dish that could feed a hungry Headingly household. Gone are the days of the baked bean and pasta diet, even a tight student budget can stretch to the Morrisons Bistro range and with their offer on half price champage beginning after Christmas, if you’re feeling flush you can really dine in style.
By Becca Brown