We've got pigeons, pancakes and palomitas...
We asked our team of food and drink writers to give us the one dish they've eaten around Leeds this past few weeks that has blown their socks off, so that you might go and try them too. Here's what they came up with...
‘East Meets West’ Pulled Pork Bao Bun - Little Bao Boy (£6)
Independent street food vendor, Little Bao Boy, has nailed that balance of spice, sweet, sour and stodge with its collection of – you guessed it – bao buns. I sampled this pulled pork beauty in the atmospheric setting of Halifax’s Piece Hall, among the colour and craziness of Chow Down festival. A perfectly simple combination of tender meat, soft steamed dough and a blend of sauces disappeared in just a few bites. Chicken and tofu options were also on the menu, and fillings are adorned with a blend of hoisin sauce, sriracha mayo and fried garlic, sprinkled with spring onion and toasted sesame seeds. Keep an eye out at future festivals and foodie events. Kate Ryrie
Braeburn pancakes - Laynes Espresso (£6.50)
As a savoury brunch kind of gal, it takes a lot to lure me onto the sweet side. Blame a random dose of low blood sugar or the fear of food envy of my dining pals, but I broke a habit of a lifetime this month with Layne’s Espresso’s new Braeburn pancakes. An aromatic blend of apple, clementine, pistachio and cinnamon jam, they were sweet, spicy and utterly moreish, and I haven’t stopped thinking about them since. Best of all, they’re only £6.50, leaving plenty in the budget for a well-paired espresso or nutty rooibos tea. Jenessa Williams
16 New Station St, Leeds LS1 5DL
Palomitas de halloumi - La Casita (£6)
Once a special at the brilliant La Casita in Horsforth, but now a regular appetiser. That might sound like a demotion for this lightly coated wonder, but believe me, people need access to this all day, every day. La Casita’s menu has enough choice to make you sweat at what you might be missing out on, but inspired by the Dali-themed décor, this rampant carnivore took a surrealist plunge for soft cheese with a high melting point. Halloumi gets a bad press, but cook it just right and the flavours are dense and unique. Just a hint of charring on the outside is enough to trigger the full flavour of the halloumi and the harissa aioli is the perfect blend of heat and texture to create a meeting of flavours I could talk about for years. Except that would stop me eating a boatful of these. Jon Howe
8-10 Town St, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 4RJ
Poached eggs, bacon, hash browns, hollandaise - The Brunswick (£8)
My local has recently started serving brunch, and as someone who regularly trades breakfast for an extra ten minutes in bed, I can’t get enough of this dish. Poachies are runny, golden and well seasoned, and the bacon is crispy, fat rendered to perfection. The hollandaise is a rich emulsion, an indulgent meeting of butter and lemon, I could drink this by the pint. The hash brown is a real game changer, coarsely shredded for maximum crispy surface area, none of this mushy greasy spoon nonsense. A sprinkling of Greek basil finishes things off beautifully, and the portion is generous. They offer a veggie alternative, replacing the bacon with tender stem broccoli, and there are some solid vegan options too. But for me, it’s hollandaise and bacon every time, my favourite treat-day breakfast. Anje Madhvani
82 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN
Hot Honey - Pizza Loco (£8.00)
Down in the dough dungeon (aka a shed in Yeadon), the start of a smoky love affair begins. After watching hours of mesmeric kneading via their Instagram stories, you begin to lust after one of these Neapolitan beauties, the lovely puddles of mozzarella, those charred dough bubbles. Absence of course makes the heart grow fonder, and soon you're following them to a food event, looking to fill this hole in your life with a Hot Honey (£8): honey-glazed Spianta salami, smoked mozzarella, Tabasco and a sprinkling of fresh thyme. Oh yes. Now you're in a place only the back-end TV channels can take you. Sarah Cotterill
A shed in Yeadon.
Pigeon Breast – 7 Steps, Pudsey (£6.50)
Vegetarian and vegan cooking may be the talk of the town these days, but I am, and always will be, a meat disciple. 7 Steps is certainly a predominantly meat-focused restaurant, with steaks being its main focus, but this delightful starter has something for everyone to enjoy. The pigeon is delicate and juicy, which leaves the “meatiest” part of the dish being the bed of wild mushrooms it sits on. The sauce is creamy but understated, being careful not to steal the limelight of the subtle yet slightly gamey flavours of the pigeon. The image of the outdoors is further conjured forth by a teasing hint of truffle oil, making for a well put-together dish that gives your taste buds a work-out and prepares you for a more sizeable dip into the restaurant’s meat menu later on in the evening. Simon Richardson
9 Chapeltown, Pudsey LS28 7RZ