Weather forecasters take 1st March as being the first day of Spring whilst the official kick-off is the Spring Equinox around 21st March when there are an equal number of daylight hour to night hours. In Leeds we know that the real beginning of the season is the opening of Chow Down at Temple Arches.
From now until 4th September the renowned food, drink and entertainment event will be in full swing every Thursday – Sunday. Not only that, but there are new areas to enjoy. As well as the street food stalls, bars DJ booth and stage, there is a crazy golf course and rearranged seating areas giving more options as to where to park your bum.
When it comes to the core ingredients – food and drink – this year there are two permanent kitchen residencies in MorMor and Sarto, providing Middle Eastern cuisine and Fresh Pasta respectively. so pretty good there then. In addition there will be weekly traders, this Easter Weekend they were Little Red Food Cluck, and Spuds and Bros. Both names speak for themselves.
As well as the Main Bar for beer and the like, and Tipple, which serves a wide range of cocktails, gin lovers will also be catered for – literally – at the new Tanqueray Terrace with its lawn and elevated seating area.
The undercover Pergola Pines seating section has been given a summer twist, but, should you prefer a more intimate setting with booths there is The Boulevard, which is also covered. Finally we have the Sunset Club, which is part open and part covered but anyone who has lived through Leeds summers will know that the roofed area will probably not be needed during the season.
The Stage was occupied by Alex Robinson Project, a band knocking out lots of groovy soul tunes in their first set and more guitar based music during the second. When there was a lull in the live music Tom Langur spun some platters that matter from his elevated position in The Bay. Or should that be the other way round with the band filling in between DJ sets? Whatever…
The summer season will feature a roster of bands, DJs and events including a return of the popular Drag Brunches. For details please go to https://www.chowdownevents.co.uk/line-ups
Should you wish to unleash your inner Tiger, there is the Palm Swings Golf Course, a 9-hole layout with greens far more challenging than anything St Andrews or Augusta has to offer, so put on your most tasteless vivid check trousers and give it a shot – or 72. Beware, as even though it is crazy golf, there will probably be some numpty in the crowd shouting ‘Get in the hole!’ as soon as you have struck the ball.
Temple Arches is a dog, family and, fortunately, an old man friendly venue so get along there and Chow Down.
For bookings please go to https://www.chowdownevents.co.uk/tickets
All photographs by Stan Graham. Feature image is of the Sunset Club.