There’s honestly no better place to be than the UK when the sun is shining. I especially love the buzzing atmosphere that descends on Leeds during June, with the extra daylight making roof-top gin and cocktail drinks an absolute must.
I’ve totally fallen in love with my home-city again over the last few months with its ever-growing cosmopolitan status and reputation as a fantastic place to shop, drink and of course, eat.
So I took it upon myself to step away from my usual haunts and explore some of the new (and not so new) restaurants and bars in Leeds and make some personal recommendations for where you should check out this summer.
When whispers went round that a new Japanese restaurant would be opening on the rooftops of Victoria Gate, it sent my anticipation levels in overdrive. Japanese food, luxury setting and rooftop views? What more could we ask for from Leeds’ newest hot spot. Issho certainly lives up to the hype and then some. The restaurant itself is stylish yet authentically Japanese with the best sushi i’ve ever had outside of Japan. If you’re not a fish fan however then have no fear; there’s plenty of delicious meat and vegetarian dishes to get stuck into and as they encourage you to try lots of small dishes, you’ll be spoiled for choice on flavour and culinary creativity.
The restaurant is also home to Kori bar; a modern and luxurious bar with outside rooftop terrace that will certainly give Angelica’s some healthy competition. The cocktails are honestly so lush – this is THE perfect place to impress a date this summer.
This New York inspired bar and restaurant next to Issho will definitely become your new favourite weekend haunt. Its relaxed vibe, cool cocktails and chic outside terrace are synonymous with the D&D group’s (the umbrella company that also introduced Angelica’s and Crafthouse to Leeds) trend-luxe style.
I’ve only tried the cocktails here, but if they’re anything to go by and the fact that the menu is overseen by Executive Chef Lee Murdoch, then you can bet the food will be pretty fantastic too.
Ham and Friends
First there was Friends of Ham, then there was Ham and Friends. Nestled in the upstairs of the Grand Arcade you will find the this new addition to the Leeds foodie scene.
The delicatessen and charcuterie is joined by cheesemonger George and Joeseph, wine bar and even the Yorkshire Wine School. The Ham and Friends restaurant will be opening in late May/early June and I will most certainly be back too see what the kitchen has to offer!
Ham and Friends has an understated rustic charm with marble table tops (the same marble used by some of their suppliers) and quirky copper light features. A spiral staircase leads up to the wine collection where you can sample unique hand-picked wines from around the world including orange wine. This (white grape) wine (not actually made with oranges) uses a traditional method of winemaking where the seeds and skins of the grape are not discarded straight away thus giving the wine a richer, more orange, colour and a fresher taste.
The Cheese Room, run by cheesemongers George and Joseph offers a delicious selection of British, French and Swiss cheeses from outstanding cheddars to gorgeous bries and sumptuous gruyeres. The selection includes a variety of cows’ milk, goats’ and sheep’s cheeses that are aged to perfection.
As explored by Danielle.
The Alchemist, Greek Street
Another continuation of a Leeds’ favourite is The Alchemist, which in my opinion is the main reason why Greek Street is thriving so much these days. Famed for its flamboyant and smoking cocktails, The Alchemist is a restaurant I would highly recommend you to take a first date to. If you really want to impress them, order a Madhatter’s tea party cocktail to your table, for scenes like this:
The summer menu at The Alchemist is both generous and delicious, with pan-Asian, Mexican and British fusion foods guaranteed to wet your appetite.
My favourite dishes that you MUST try are the pork bon-bons, tikka skewers and crab tacos… absolutely divine!
Another hot opening for early summer, Tattu will not fail to impress you when you enter through its gilded doors. The cherry blossom decor is absolutely mesmerising and makes eating here so much more than just a meal out.
My favourite recommendations have to be the beef with caramel soy and the cherry blossom dessert – it’s hands down the most creative i’ve ever eaten!
I had pretty big expectations for Tharavadu. This Kerala restaurant near Leeds train station has won countless awards on Tripadvisor and is named in the top 10 Indian restaurants in the whole of the UK. Not only is it Michelin recommended, it was also completely booked out for 2 weeks when I tried to get a table.
When we did finally get to go, I wasn’t disappointed one bit. Kerala cuisine is quite unlike your bog standard Indian (where curries originate form northern India) and is made with delicious coconut and Keralan spices.
If you go, make sure to order the Kidilan Erachi, a starter made with cubes of tender lamb, Kerala spices and sauteed with onions. It’s so deliciously more-ish!