FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
To help navigate through the abundance of amazing Leeds eateries, Mayur Patel & Marko Husak from award winning Indian street food and craft beer joint Bundobust share their favourite spots to eat across the city….
Mayur: Bundobust specialises in vegetarian Gujarati & South Indian street food, but the one thing I miss about my hometown of Bradford is a proper meat curry that can be found in the dozens of amazing late night curry houses. Luckily, two Bradford based institutions have outposts in Leeds; Akbars and Mumtaz are both pretty bling places and worth visiting for a treat. At Akbars order the Lamb Chops to start with and any of the Karahi dishes for your main.
Marko: At Mumtaz, if you are feeling naughty, order the Keema Paratha, a deep fried chapatti filled with spicy keema, and their mango Lassi is almost as good as Mayur’s mum’s!
SOUP AND SANDWICH
Marko: The best soup and sandwich combination in the city can be found at Ira Bs in Moortown. Its worth the ‘schlep’ for Ira’s homemade Chicken Soup with ‘Lokshen’ and ‘Knaidlach’ served with half of her famous Salt Beef Sandwich. Its like being in a deli in The Lower East Side of Manhattan and Ira’s banter is a match for any New Yorker.
Mayur: I love this hole in the wall takeaway, Caravanserai, that serves North African and Middle Eastern food, like shawarma, falafel, lamb kebabs, humous, flat breads and salads. It’s so fresh and tasty. There is a small seating area upstairs if you want to eat in, and always order a mint tea to wash down the spicy food.
Marko: There is some great Tapas in Leeds. I really like Iberica for the slickness and super knowledgable staff. The main restaurant is fancy, but I prefer to sit in the Bodega downstairs for a more informal experience. Their jamon is the best in the city, and the extensive Spanish-only wine list is imported by Iberica themselves.
Mayur: Vegetarians should visit Ambiente. They have plenty of choice, like roasted corn on the cob finished with pimento spiced butter, and slow roasted squash served with ricotta & molasses spiced grape reduction. And their Vermouths are banging! For more tapas and cocktails, there’s Basque-influenced Pintura, where La Marianito is something else!!
Mayur: Laynes do the best coffee in Leeds, full stop. This small Espresso bar is perfect if you need your caffeine fix in a hurry, and if you’re lucky enough to get a seat, the brunch menu is worth a shout; their scrambled eggs are the best and the smashed broad beans, feta, sumac & mint on sourdough is tasty too.
Marko: There are a host of Burger joints in Leeds but my go-to has to be MeatLiquour. They are the kings of the ‘dirty burger’ and the Dead Hippie is an all time classic. Nothing can touch it. Their boozy shakes are also good. Another favourite amongst Leeds folk is Patty Smith Burgers, try one if you’re drinking in Belgrave Music Hall.
Marko: The floods of Christmas 2015 forced a lot of small businesses to close down. One was my then local family run chippy The Great Yorkshireman. I used to go there most Fridays. It was a sad day when I heard the news of its closure and I was worried that it would not open again. Luckily, 8 months later, it has relaunched, and I can’t wait to taste their fish, chips & mushy peas again!
Mayur: For a chilled out Sunday Lunch head to The Brunswick. Their roasts and Bloody Marys are killer and it’s the perfect place to waste a few hours and read the paper. During the week the menu comprises of comforting grilled sandwiches & pies and the beer list is also impressive, offering traditional casks and cutting edge kegs. At Ox Club in Headrow House most of their local & seasonal produce is cooked over wood on their custom built grill. Meat lovers should go for the Salt Aged Lamb Rump served with barbecued red onion, smoked anchovy, pickled mustard seeds & sorrel. Veggies need to try the Roast Cauliflower with romesco sauce, almonds & sherry vinegar.
Marko: Pho Ga at Viet Guy is the only thing to eat when you’re feeling a bit run down. This bowl of rich chicken stock, noodles, chicken, chillies, coriander, mint and other stuff will sort you right out. The chilli squid and beef in betel leaf are also super tasty if you’re feeling extra hungry.
SHARE THE LOVE
Mayur: This family fun Venetian sharing plates restaurant, Zuccos, is one of the best place to eat in Leeds. Order six dishes between two. My favourite is the Tagliatelle with mushrooms & white truffle oil. The Frito Misto is awesome, the slow cooked lamb with capers and rosemary is amazing and the spinach, gorgonzola and walnut pizzetta is tasty.
Marko: The Reliance is a Leeds institution and offers amazing dishes in its casual bar & dining room. Their ‘small plate’ menu is perfect for sharing; the smoked haddock, Jersey Royals & samphire is great, as is the Fattoush, halloumi & sumac. Larger dishes such as Toulouse sausage on braised lentils are equally good. They also have a fine list of natural wines that is comparable to some of the best restaurants in London but at half the price.