Leeds’ foodie scene has blown up over the last couple of years with a number of independent food shops, cafes, bars and restaurants appearing in the city centre and suburbs. There are too many to try out, forever new places popping and there are the favourites which never fail to serve up a good meal or cocktail. You could spend a lifetime making your way round but if you only have 24 hours in Leeds, here’s all the places you should hit up to make sure you have a good feed while you’re here!
Brunch is big in Leeds. Like seriously big. That makes the first choice of the day a pretty hard one but the one I’ve gone for is Layne’s Espresso, just down the road from the train station. It’s an unassuming place and you could easily walk past but venture into the doorway, pull up a chair and order one of their delicious brunches. A particular favourite is the Sweetcorn Fritters with poached eggs, halloumi and chimichurri. However, they also serve up a mean avocado on toast, mushroom florentine or buckwheat pancakes.
I know this is a chain, and possibly, therefore, a bit of a cop out but for a hot chocolate stop mid-morning, there is no better place to go than Hotel Chocolat. Not only do they do the regular milk variety but there’s also white hot chocolate, dark hot chocolate and seasonal flavours. If you visit during the winter months, you have to try the white hot chocolate and nutmeg special. It’s. So. Good.
An eternal favourite with the after work crowd because of its sun drenched rooftop, this bar is great for families too when the weekend comes around. Enjoy a cider, a huge gin or a craft beer from the bar and take it on to the rooftop where you can enjoy a drink looking over the skyline of Leeds. What’s best though is that if you’re peckish, you can grab a slice of the Dough Boys pizza – weird combination but the grape and goats cheese choice is a good’un – or a Dirty Burger from Patty Smiths with a bowl of the popular Session Fries.
Just around the corner from Belgrave, right at the bottom of Merrion Street is Ham and Friends. Settle in under the large atrium and enjoy a delicious glass of wine from their very own wine shop. They often change the wines served so you’ll more than likely never see the same menu twice. Alternatively, there are also many craft and local beers to choose from or if you fancy something a little stronger to start off the afternoon in style, there’s gin and several other spirits to try out.
One of the main things you might want to check out at Ham and Friends though is their walk-in cheese room – the only one in Leeds. This has been brought to life by specialist cheesemongers George and Joseph and we bet you can’t help but go in for a little sample.
On a warm summer’s day, there’s no better place to be other than Headrow House. Head to Redondo Beach, the cocktail bar that leads onto the rooftop terrace and the ever so summery Kennedy Meadows. Granted, you can’t get food here but you can get Northern Bloc ice cream which is a totally natural, additive free creamy taste sensation so if you do fancy something sweet, make this your place to get it. Headrow House though is a good place to give you belly a break if you need to though because you’re definitely going to need it for the next foodie spot…
Now, I could’ve suggested this places for brunch and I would fully recommend it if you get the chance. However, dinner is where it really packs a great giant punch and that’s why it’s a must on your 24-hour foodie adventure in Leeds. The menu changes fairly often as it’s a seasonal menu so you can be guaranteed that the freshest products are used in the most inventive of ways. Recently I opted for Sea Trout with smoked roe cream and burnt leek hearts for mains and then a naughty peanut butter ice cream with raspberry jam on brioche and bacon furikake for dessert. It was delicious and by far the best thing I’ve eaten in a long time. And I’m pretty sure I would’ve said the same with everything else I’d had on the menu.
You might need a little pick me up after a full day of eating and drinking your way around Leeds. If that’s the case, get yourself to Roland’s on Call Lane for an Espresso Martini – pretty much the best Espresso Martini you’ll find in Leeds. I don’t know what they do but it’s the perfect combination of smooth and silky, a balance of not bitter, but not sweet. It’s just a dream of a cocktail. They also do several beers and other drinks here but that one is the one to go for.
Also try out The Maven // The Domino Club // Sela
Bundobust is a great place to end a day of eating and drinking your way around Leeds. There’s always a great atmosphere and if you’re lucky, they might still be serving food – vegatarian Indian tapas style plates – when you get here. If not though, don’t worry, you can enjoy a refreshing mango beer or a rum and coke in a little silver goblet. It’s fun stuff. If you do want a late night bite to eat though, check out these places…
Friends Of Ham // Red’s True BBQ // Mans Market
Yes, there might be more original, cooler, more new places to go on a foodie adventure around Leeds but these are all the places that a tried and tested and come out top notch every time.
Do you have any more recommendations?