Thinking of where you can find hot, quick, healthy, homemade food?
Beeston’s Café n Diner is situated in the heart of the busy Dewsbury Road. Cooking and serving authentic, traditional Polish meals is proprietor Basia, together with her daughter Nicola. Basia beams a wonderful smile, and her passion for food radiates from her daily creations. Surprisingly, she doesn’t like to have a set menu, as every day she feels like cooking something different and definitely diverse. On my first lunchtime visit I was instantly made to feel welcome, even though I only wanted a meal to take away – Something quick and healthy that would keep me going for the rest of the afternoon at work.
That first visit I went for the Beetroot soup; refreshing and delicious, light, but with chunky vegetables, and with a taste that called me back to the diner again. The next day I had tasty Mushroom soup with squares of homemade pasta, and the day after I decided to treat myself to a proper sit down meal, Chicken Schnitzel with buttery mashed potato, and a scattering of pomegranate seeds. If you’ve ever wondered how to use those unfamiliar jars you see in the world section of supermarkets, take a trip to this restaurant and savour the sauerkraut, and see how herbs and other ingredients are used by this talented woman.
One day, intrigued by my interest in her cooking, Basia introduced me to a traditional Polish dish called ‘Galareta z Kurczaka’ (flakes of chicken suspended in clear jelly, and dressed with vinegar) – an unexpected and delicious combination of flavours and textures.
Although Basia originally wanted to be a hairdresser, the catering industry offered a more authentic path for her talents, and over the last 17 years she has worked in kitchens in Italy, Poland and the UK, and her style is influenced by different cuisines including Chinese and Brazilian. She also worked for a number of years as sous chef with the renowned Magda Gesller, a Polish version of Gordon Ramsey! Her favourite dish is ‘Pierogi’ (dumplings), from a recipe handed down by her great-grandparents. As a child she would cook alongside her mum with a smaller pan, calculating the reduced portions to make the same meal to serve to her family. It’s memories like these that keep Basia inspired, especially when she remembers how much she made her dad proud.
The restaurant itself is small but homely, and entering down the brightly painted wooden steps past deckchairs outside gives a holiday tavern feel. Basia opened the diner in April, right before lock down, so for many weeks had to operate a takeaway service instead. The hard work paid off however, managing to find and grow a dedicated base of customers, many of whom don’t even bother asking for a menu anymore, but instead for just “anything you already have” – A testament to the quality of an ever changing selection, with a home-from-home feel.
I wanted to find out more about this changing menu, so I recently managed to reserve a family table on a busy Monday, the day she offers discounted rates – All main meals £4.00, and soup £1.50. (Usually prices range from £3 for soup to between £4.50-£8 for main meals.)
Four dishes were brought out between us. Pan-fried sea bass, mashed potato with caramelised onion, garnished with chopped spring onions. Tender pork ribs and barbecue sauce. Succulent breaded chicken with mashed potato, and a generous pouring of homemade gravy. And last but not least, delicious homemade gnocchi with spinach in a creamy sauce – for the veggie. The meals were delivered on full dinner plates, and Basia doesn’t scrimp on the mashed potato which is a staple with most meals. Everything was filling and full of flavour, and sharing the food between us each dish was distinctly different, fully explaining the confidence of her regulars who come in and say ‘just give me anything’. And also explaining why we’ll be returning again soon!
258 Dewsbury Road LS11 6JQ 07426 936280