Anja Madhvani keeps it clean, but not really.
Working unusual hours means ‘midweek weekends’ for a lot of us, and can be tough to find a good brunch spot during the week. After frantic and hangry Googling, I was relieved to find that Grön Kafe had finally opened their doors.
This is the latest effort from Matt Healy of Matt Healy x The Foundry, and the team behind Rabbit Hole Travelling Coffee Shop. It’s a vegan-friendly cafe with plenty of healthy options (which I, er ‘accidentally’ swerved).
I took a cab home where I could unbutton my jeans in solitary self loathing
Today felt like a day to challenge myself, by means of excessive eating and over caffeinating. So I ordered five dishes, morphed into Augustus Gloop, then took a cab home where I could unbutton my jeans in solitary self loathing. Thankfully I had company to assist in the gluttony, but this is basically a story about a girl who indulged to an almost fatal level, and is now anxiously awaiting the consequences.
Grön Kafe is bright and clean. There are some nods to the decor at Matt’s restaurant, with lampshades designed by Nicolas Dixon (who did the mural at Matt Healy x Foundry) and his signature neon lighting, this time reading ‘Keep It Clean’. This gives good continuity to the ever growing Healy brand.
We tackle our mammoth brunch in two rounds. Savoury followed by sweet seemed the most logical plan of attack. Macaroni, Mushrooms, Truffle Cheese and Herb Crumb (£8); the sauce is silky and glossy, not too hefty on the truffle, and indulgently cheesy. It’s nice to see oyster mushrooms being used for this comforting mac n cheese. The crunchy crumb topping keeps things from becoming boring.
Smoked Finnan haddock fish cake, artichoke puree and fennel salad (£8) is a whopper of a fishcake, and pleasingly hearty. The texture is coarse with a little red onion thrown into the mix, and the outside is crisp and golden. Artichoke puree is rich and the dressed fennel brings a little acidity. This is all finished off with a drizzle of coriander oil. The dish is well balanced and surprisingly filling.
I can still manage the Cambozola cheese, beetroot and fresh horseradish relish (£7). This cheese is the German lovechild of Gorgonzola and Brie; tangy and creamy with a hint of blue. It’s married with a variety of thin earthy and pickled beetroot slices and sweet beetroot chutney. There’s a touch of heat from the horseradish - I’d like touch more of this. The dish is beautiful, almost sculptural, and garnished with edible flowers. I’m not sure these are necessary, but it makes for a pretty plate.
Call me basic, but I love pancakes. Specifically, pancakes, banana, banana mousse and candied pecans (£5.50). There are a few textures going on here which works really well. The pancakes are fluffy and a little crisp with crystallised sugar on the edges. In some places the banana mousse (more puree - but who cares, it tastes fantastic) has made them a little soggy, but this is no major problem. The candied pecans are crunchy gems hidden throughout the generous stack.
Lastly, cinnamon brioche French toast with fruit and berries (£5.50); crunchy caramelised edges, lots of cinnamon and sugar, and a heap of fresh raspberries, blueberries and blackcurrants. Could do with a little creamy element to balance the berries, but perhaps that’s too indulgent.
Grön Tox juice was my only clean choice. Drinks that come in healthy shades of green often taste too ‘clean’ to enjoy, but this is indulgent in its own way. Bitter kale, matcha and sweet apple balanced with refreshing mint. Hopefully it’ll cancel out my calorie intake for the day. Aside from this we drank a lot of coffee; black coffee, milky coffee, matcha coffee, oat milk coffee. All were excellent, and it’s great to see a venue go to such pains over both their wet and dry offerings.
Things were made even better when chef Jim Key wandered out of the kitchen. It’s great to see a local legend on the scene, and his experience really shows. The menu features a thank you note signed by the whole team, which is a lovely touch.
I really can’t fault Grön Kafe. Service is friendly and efficient, and the crockery and marble tables are the stuff of Instagram dreams. From vegan to gluten free, they have variety to delight and satisfy all, from the health conscious to the outright fiendish diner.
Grön, you’ll soon be kicking yourselves. This is so certain to be a roaring success, you’re going to wish you’d signed for a larger unit.
Grön Kafe, 454 Roundhay Road, Leeds, LS8 2HU
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Food and drink
Fish cake 8; Cambozola 8; pancakes 7.5; French toast 7.5; coffee and juice 8
A very relaxed and bright space
Friendly, helpful, and at ease with their varied clientele