Simon Richardson rounds up the best of this year's foodie festival
The most delicious festival in the north of England is almost upon us once again, and this year plays host to collaborations, supper clubs, secret evenings, cocktails, beer, a few street food festivals and a much heavier vegan presence than in previous years.
The full line-up is available here but, as with other years, there’s far too much for one stomach to digest. So, here are ten of the best events that you’d be mad to miss.
Plant Styles x Laynes (9th & 10th May)
The first of an impressive number of vegan evenings at this year’s LIF, Plant Styles is a collaboration between healthy city-centre caterers Lean Lunch, and coffee and brunch kings, Laynes. For your ticket, you get a series of vegan sharing plates and the food is guaranteed to be locally-sourced from independent suppliers – that’s Lean Lunch’s way.
Location: Laynes Espresso, 16 New Station Street LS1 5DL, tickets £30.80
Afsaneh’s Taste of Persia (11th May)
Nobody does a secret location event quite like LIF and this year, Afsaneh’s Persian Kitchen promises to be a real treat. Hosted by Afsaneh Kaviani, an ex-Masterchef contestant and supper club stalwart, you can get your fix of all the stewy, herby goodness associated with Persian cuisine, and get some tips and tricks from Afsaneh herself for your own home cooking.
Location: TBC, tickets £38.50
WILD at Fettle (12th & 19th May)
If you haven’t yet experienced the excellence of Fine at Fettle, then this ought to pique your interest. A 5-course sharing menu that aims to focus on seasonal produce and is compatible for plant-based / gluten free diets. Expect a smorgasbord of delicate, subtle flavours in one of the most chilled out café spaces in the city.
Location: Fettle, 73 Great George Street LS1 3BR, tickets £44 for 2 people
Latitude Tasting Room x Ox Club (13th May)
From subtle to showstopping, this food and drink pairing evening at Ox Club will be one of the festival’s real highlights. Latitude’s Chris Hill knows what he’s talking about when it comes to drink – and then some (if you went to the pairing evening at Laynes last year, you’ll already have booked your ticket no doubt). Marry this with some one-off small plates from the team at one of Leeds’ top restaurants, and you’ve been transported to foodie heaven.
Location: Ox Club, 19a The Headrow LS1 6PU, tickets £73 (£30 deposit payable upon booking)
Grape vs Grain – Sheaf St x North Brew Co (14th May)
Less of an ‘X’, more of a ‘vs’, Grape vs Grain is looking to settle a delicious debate – beer or wine? The concept is simple; go along, eat some cheese and meat platters and try two drinks with each dish, with North Brew Co taking on Sheaf Street’s Amy Balderston for boozy supremacy. And if you can remember who won at the end of the night, you’ve probably done it wrong.
Location: 3 Sheaf Street LS10 1HD, tickets £27.50
Bundobust Origins (15th May)
If you’re looking to splash out on a real one-off, now’s your chance. After 5 years, Bundobust goes back to its collaborative roots at the place where it all began – Drighlington’s award-winning Prashad. Start with a pint at Bundobust, then get whisked away by magic bus to Prashad, where you’ll be treated to a 6-course tasting menu of classics and new concepts, with exclusive beer pairings to match as you learn about the development and growth of some of Leeds’ finest Indian cuisine.
Location: Meet at Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill LS1 5DQ, tickets £88.50
Rawsome Vegan Supper Club (17th May)
It wouldn’t be Leeds Indie Food without a proper BYO event, so here’s one hosted by raw food champs The Happy Caterpillar. This event will show you how to combine fresh, raw ingredients in an innovative and tasty way, focusing not just on ingredients, but also on a more spiritual approach to food and life itself.
Location: The Bowery, 54 Otley Road LS6 2AL, tickets £27.50
Courtesan au Chocolat and Coffee & Cocktails (18th May)
If Grand Budapest Hotel isn’t one of your favourite films, you probably aren’t my friend. The latest of the LIF eat-alongs involves a screening of Wes Anderson’s brilliant comedy while you sip on some top-notch coffee cocktails from the expert baristas at Stage Espresso and tuck into a seriously awesome courtesan au chocolat (AKA the non-leaning tower of cake that is so coveted in the film), freshly-baked by Porterhouse Cake Co.
Location: Stage Espresso, 41 Great George Street LS1 3BB, tickets £22
Walk on the Wild Side Wild Food: Walk, Talk, Make, Eat & Take (25th May)
If you’re interested in wild, foraged food, then this is the event for you. Spend a morning in the company of professional forager Craig Worrall as he takes you through Gledhow Valley Woods for a lesson in spotting, picking and using some of nature’s delicious delights. Then it’s back to Chapel A’s Seven Arts for a spot of wild soup and learning to make your own lacto-fermented garlic to take home. Every day’s a school day.
Location: Seven Arts, 31A Harrogate Road LS7 3PD, tickets £44
Bank Holiday Boathouse Feast (25th & 26th May)
What better way to spend your bank holiday weekend than in the sunshine by the water, listening to live music, drinking delicious beer (or gin or Aperol) and eating your way through a selection of some of Leeds’ finest street food? And as an open event that runs over the final days of Leeds Indie Food, why not see how many of the other events you can get yourself to in a madcap final dash before the festival draws to a close for another year?
Location: Water Lane Boathouse, Canal Wharf LS11 5PS, open event – no tickets