If you like your quirky food joints – and variety when it comes to your grub – then you might just love Lost & Found. Think of it as Colonel Porter’s cooler younger brother; small, but packed with personality, serving up vintage, 1920s-style decor and surprisingly sophisticated small plates, infused with flavours from all over the place. A bit Gatsby meets the Orient. British bites mixed with American-style plates. Your tastebuds and eyes will be entertained throughout your meal. Oh, super-duper cocktails, too, made behind one of the prettiest bars we’ve seen in ages (its glassware collection is nothing short of dreamy). A place for brunch and sit-down dinners, we say. You’ll find it on Heaton Road – a few doors down from popular brekky spot, Butterfly Cabinet. But this place really holds its own.
Dining here feels like stepping back in time to the roaring 20s, but without that awful gimmicky feeling. The furniture and artwork are legit; real antiques everywhere, black and white photos of the North East from way back when (one of which we desperately wanted to take home with us) on the walls, golden paisley wallpaper, the most beautiful, ornate tiled ceiling and vintage lights flooding the place with a gentle, sepia haze. Size-wise, it’s a small joint, but there’s plenty to admire if you’re into your interiors. Instagram-a-holics will be kept busy.
The cocktail menu is small and concise, but packs a real punch in terms of flavour and flamboyance. Making your way through them is a real journey – from the old-fashioned, well-loved tipples from the early 19th century, right up to the fruity, spirit-spiked favourites of today. The Singapore Sling (£7) adds fresh grapefruit to the traditional mix, there’s the Corpse Reviver No2 (£8), created by the great Harry Craddock at Savoy Hotel, a lavender-infused Cosmo (£7) and something called The Unicorn Kiss (£8.50), which sweet-toothed drinkers will love – topped with bubbles, edible glitter and candy floss. There’s loads of high-quality gins on offer, too, plus a nice selection of craft beers and all your typical red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Visiting for brunch? You must try the fantastically-floral (and rather girly) rosebud tea for a couple of quid. Just divine – and surprisingly refreshing.
As mentioned, variety is the name of the game here – whether you’re sitting down to some mid-morning munch, or feasting on a few plates after dark. The brunch menu is unfussy, but still exciting; essentially posh toppings on toast (there’s around seven flavour combos to choose from), a selection of American-style pancake (go plain and fluffy, go chocolatey with marshmallow and Nutella, or enjoy with maple and bacon) options to drool over and homemade granola, made with organic yogurt, good-for-you seeds, fresh fruit and berry compote. The main menu is a little bigger, boasting tapas-sized plates (order a couple each so you don’t go hungry), from Asian-inspired meats, burgers and seafood, to Spanish-style ham with truffle parmesan, British salads (think Earl Grey chicken paired with pear, pomegranate and sweet potato) and Middle Eastern mains, like red lentil fattoush. And don’t worry if you’re gluten-free or vegan – there are options for you too.
What we ate
We’ve tried both menus – and weren’t disappointed with either. Our weekend brunchy visit meant a stack of pancakes and a couple of slices of topped toast. Though an avid Nutella fan (like the rest of us), our chum decided on the plain ‘fluffy’ pancakes, after hearing so many good things. And for good reason too – they’re a total triumph. You get a big old stack – thick and sweet as anything – topped with nubbly, nutty granola, pillowy whipped mascarpone (the kind with with creamy vanilla specks running through it), fresh berries and fruit compote and a drizzle of elderflower syrup. All we can say, is that the sugar rush is well worth it – but make sure you bring your appetite. Toast-wise, we started with silky scrambled eggs, gently folded with horseradish and plenty of black pepper for a bit of spice, and a thick, fresh smoked salmon, before moving on to something a little meatier. The pulled ham hock option is a winner; the meat is served fall-off-the-bone juicy and pink, the poached eggs are perfectly oozy and the wholegrain mustard dressing adds tang. We stopped by another night for some sit-down grub, this time ordering from the main menu. Our dining buddy, a vegan, was delighted with their choices – two of which were packed with oriental goodness. The jack fruit bao bun stood out; sweet and sticky jack fruit (reminiscent of glazed pulled pork) encased in a traditional bao-style bread bun, stuffed with crunchy coleslaw and creamy avocado. Their second choice, the handmade jiao-zi (a kind of Chinese dumpling), is worth a try. Each mini parcel is stuffed with tofu, wood ear mushrooms, garlic, chives and carrot – lots of depth and woody flavour for such little morsels. For us, the sashimi tuna stole the show; fresh-as-can-be, sesame-crusted slithers on a bed of braised, fragrant fennel and dill. The Earl Grey chicken is something special – you can really taste the notes of bergamot, which works so well with this meat. Paired with crunchy apple, radish and soft squash, it delivers in texture too. We’d order the red lentil fattoush again too; some are far too sloppy and over-spiced for our liking, but this one was perfectly creamy, with the right amount of bite from the well-simmered lentils, with a lovely smoky aftertaste, too. Overall, a big bravo from us – you must visit. We just wish the portion sizes were bigger (the food is just too pleasing). Perhaps they’ll introduce larger plates in the future.