The restaurant world does not contain enough bacon chops.
And it definitely doesn’t contain enough smoked bacon chops.
Here’s an ingredient that delivers the salty, smokey and satisfying hit of bacon amplified many fold.
It’s substantial so you’re not left craving more, as is so often the case with a bacon sandwich or even the fullest of full English breakfasts.
Which is why there was never any doubt that it would be the dish I ordered when I ate lunch at the Reliance, a much-admired dining room and pub on the outskirts of Leeds city centre.
It’s a bit of a ramshackle place in a nice sort of way – rough-hewn walls, mismatching chairs, a variety of tables.
There’s a great selection of craft beers and some funky wines and a menu of hearty but well-conceived dishes, many focussing on local ingredients.
Service is relaxed. The atmosphere is chilled.
A drive back down the motorways to Birmingham meant that I drank a bottle of dandelion and burdock.
But that was quite fitting for D&B was a childhood favourite – just like bacon chops were a favourite back in my impoverished, forelock-tugging boyhood in late Victorian north Birmingham.
This chop, though, exceeded any that was served by my mother, whose cookery skills were not famously polished.
It was a large chunk of cured pig with a good amount of luscious fat that had been properly rendered.
The smoking was subtle rather than overpowering, so that it remained an intriguing backdrop to the sweet meat.
It came with a fried egg with a proper frill of dark crispness around the edge and chips that were twice-cooked and divine.
This was as good no-nonsense lunch.
All the heartier since I preceded the chop with a plate of charcuterie – home-cured at the pub using local rare breed pork.
This was a beautiful range of meats in peak condition served with gherkins, silver skinned onions and sourdough.
You can eat heartily at Reliance for about £15 a head.
I suggest that if you’re in Leeds, you do just that.
70-78 North Street, Leeds LS2 7PN. 0113 295 6060.