By Graham Chalmers
One of the Harrogate district’s leading independent restaurants is flying the flag for Harrogate this month in in a major event in Leeds.
Head chef Murray Wilson, recently nominated for Harrogate Chef of the Year and featured as ‘One to Watch’ in Waitrose Kitchen magazine, will be popping up in Leeds Indie Food Festival with his team and offering a limited menu of small plates in the city.
Baltzersen’s cafe by day, Norse by night, this Yorkshire-sourced, Scandanavian-inspired restaurant on Oxford Street will be joining with more than a hundred other restaurants, street food traders, bars and food producers by taking part in Leeds Feast.
Owner of Norse, Paul Rawlinson said: “The Leeds Indie Food Festival is one of the most exciting food events that will happen locally in 2015 so it’s really important to us that Norse is a part of it.
“I’m really interested to learn what opportunities might exist for Harrogate to do something on a slightly smaller scale in the future.”
A collaborative independent festival of food and drink culture running at locations across the city until May 24, Leeds Indie Food Festival features a diverse programme of events bringing together venues, producers and food businesses from across Yorkshire and beyond.
Leeds Feast, itself, is a special version of Belgrave Feast, a monthly event held at Belgrave Music Hall involving a changing programme of food vendors.
It’s exactly the sort of venture Norse’s owner likes to support ever since he set up Baltzersen’s and Norse in 2012 inspired by the handwritten recipes of his Norwegian great-grandmother.
Having trained in the armed forces at Sandhurst alongside Prince William and served in Afghanistan, Paul’s change of direction has paid dividends since then.
This unconventional but popular cafe-restaurant has gained a reputation far beyond its Harrogate home.
As part of Leeds Feast, Norse will be offering four dishes; three based on veg, fish, meat and also a dessert. The dishes can optionally be served with paired ‘snaps’ and also a matched wine or cocktail.
Although Norse is known for its non-stuffy, energetic atmosphere with streamed modern folky music and the buzz of a busy service, there’s nothing relaxed about its approach to food and drink, as the reviewer from The Observer discovered recently.
Under head chef Murray Wilson, unusual but delicious flavour combinations are the order of the day served with a unique range of beverages.
Quietly hip. the concise menu includes no starters, main courses or side orders. Instead Norse offers a succinct highly seasonal selection of just eight savoury dishes and two desserts.
Each plate is a complete dish and diners are encouraged to try as many or few as they like.
Norse stock a wide range of gin to enjoy before dinner, focusing on regional distilleries in the UK with some options from mainland Europe and Scandinavia.
Ales come from craft breweries across the UK plus a few from Denmark and the US all the way from lagers through sours and IPAs up to stouts and porter. And the wine list has been selected to include several less common varietals.
Norse is located at 22 Oxford Street, Harrogate.
For more information, visit www.norserestaurant.co.uk