22 new bars and restaurants heading to Leeds this year
You know the drill by now: this lot are expected to grace us with their presence some time in the next 12 months...
Inspired by culinary traditions of the US Deep South, as well as the “colours and flavours of the London Street Food Movement”, Absurd Bird currently has venues in London’s Spitalfields and Soho, as well as Bath, an Exeter’s Queens Street Dining. They’re bringing their unique style of fried chicken, waffles, and overloaded mac & cheese to Leeds sometime in the first half of 2018.
Exactly what we need more of in Leeds and the surrounding areas: Broadley’s is a down-to-earth, independent restaurant and wine bar serving up honest bistro classics. Details are thin on the ground at the minute, but from what we can tell at this stage, it looks like it’s going to be worth the short trip to Ilkley for. Coming early 2018.
Brownhill & Co
A new project from the team behind Little Leeds Beer House in the Corn Exchange, Brownhill & Co will serve as a bottleshop, but also offer Belgian beer cafe-style table service with a small selection of beers on tap to go with their expensive selection of personal and sharing bottles, and a tasting room hosting special events and guests. Expect it Spring 2018.
Time Out London’s Best Burrito and Zagat’s #1 Mexican restaurant in London Chilango featured in our “Coming to Leeds in 2017” round-up, buuut that clearly didn’t happened. The DIY burrito bar is earmarked for the new development where Next previously was on Albion Street, which took a little while longer than expected for tenants to move in. With Cosy Club moving in there just before Christmas, though, hopefully that means the wait’s nearly over.
Another one that featured in last year’s list but still haven’t found their way into their new home, fingers crossed Newcastle burger-slingers Fat Hippo will be here soon to fill the patty-shaped hole left in Leeds when Boss Burger closed just before Christmas.
Yet another one that’s seemingly been on its way forever; Gigolos is a new cocktail bar coming to the gay haven of Lower Briggate, setting up shop in an old hair salon near the New Penny and Rev De Cuba. With a name like that, expect a menu of on-trend 80s Miami revival cocktails like Slippery Nipples and Grasshoppers.
Indian Tiffin Room
Starting off in Cheadle back in 2013, Indian Tiffin Room and its menu of freshly-made dishes from all regions of India became an instant hit with locals and critics, including our buddies over at Manchester Confidential (review here), The Good Food Guide, and even Daily Mail food writer and occasional Confidential contributor, Tom Parker Bowles. Planning permission was granted for the former Wagamama plot on Park Row in August, and it’s expected to open its doors later this month.
The Ivy Brasserie
As announced by Kylie Minogue in a video at the end of 2016, The Ivy is schilling its name all over the country with a series of Ivy Brasserie and Ivy Cafe restaurants, bringing chain restaurant versions of all-day dining standards in an environment that looks a bit like the 100-year-old legendary london restaurant, but with all the aura of a restaurant that was a disused clothes shop until September last year. Can’t wait.
With all of these nostalgic leisure venues opening up recently and putting childhood activities like table tennis and bowling and minigolf in a bar, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you don’t always need to get pissed to have a good time, sometimes all you need is some mates, a healthy sense of competition, and a scale model of a volcano to bash fluorescent golf balls through. (Don’t panic, there’s also a full-stocked bar). Jungle Rumble opens in the former The Attic venue later this year.
Leeds Postal Service
A new craft beer bar with some vintage charm from the people behind Lazy Lounge. Expect the same kind of comfort and charm and eye for quality stock behind the bar as its sibling venue when it opens in West Point in the first few weeks of 2018, as well as (most importantly) a vintage pinball machine.
Recreate the magic of killing time in Kings Cross station right here in your hometown.
Merrion Street Sky Bar
Initial plans have been deemed (by us) the ugliest new building in Leeds, but that won’t particularly matter when you’re three storeys high on the roof terrace, because the only thing you’ll be able to see if the majestic Grand Theatre, Grand Arcade, and, er, the Belgrave’s bin yard.
Another variation on the post-modern Indian format, Mowgli is for fans of Cat’s Pyjamas and Indian Tiffin Room, with a heavy street food influence, and some banging cocktails. Expect it to open in Trinity Leeds sometime this Summer.
New Boss Burger Venture
It’s felt like the burger bubble’s been burst for some time now, but that didn’t make the sudden news that Boss Burger - one of our picks for the very best in the city - was closing any easier to bear. Don’t expect that this is the last you’ll hear from them though - perhaps their on-again-off-again Secret Pizza Company which has previously only operated from an unspecified location on Deliveroo will get a well-earned look-in now?
Hugely popular five-napkin burrito bar which is destined to become yours - and your dry cleaners - favourite lunch spot. It’s gone MIA since being announced mid 2017, but it’s still expected to open on Albion Street this year.
Leeds’ very first Sicilian street food restaurant is open right now, just next to the newly refurbished Cardigan Arms on Kirkstall Road. It’s the sibling of Meanwood’s Culto, which does some of the best pizza in Leeds, but they’re not just copying their winning formula: the pizzas are traditionally tray-baked and served by the slice, and there’s a rotisserie oven roasting chickens (available whole and by the wing), as well as a rotating choice of special pastas and meat and vegetarian arancini. Open now, 360 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2HQ.
The Potting Shed & Secret Garden
Yorkshire’s chain of garden-themed cocktail bar and restaurants is coming to Leeds, bringing its brand of herbaceous cocktails, shed-inspired decor, and pub grub with it. What? No, it’s nothing like The Botanist, that’s tucked away underneath Trinity and has a little hidden terrace. This is going to be tucked away on the roof of Trinity and has a secret garden, it’s completely different. Opening some time 2018.
Santorini Bar & Grill
Good news for a much-loved local: Santorini, Leeds’ closes thing to actually being in a Greek taverna, is planning on upgrading while sticking close to its existing fanbase. The Otley Road restaurant has submitted an application to Leeds City Council to set up shop at 6 Otley Road, in the vacant lot formerly occupied by HSBC. A Greek restaurant in a derelict bank, how fitting…
Smokehouse & Cellar
This new barbecue restaurant probably has a really great unique selling point that’ll set it apart from Red’s True Barbecue, The Pit, Chicago Rib Shack, The other Red’s True Barbecue, Smoke Barbecue, Stampede, the other The Pit, and Smokin Bar when it opens, but we haven’t been able to work out what it is. Opening in the Corn Exchange some time this year.
Tinello by Amici
Famous for their authentic, rustic Italian dishes (as well as a chef that spontaneously treats the restaurant to bursts of operatic singing) Amici has made a name for itself in well-to-do Alwoodley, and it’s got its sights set on a city centre restaurant now, too. Named after the Italian word for a small dining room, expect intimate surroundings when they come to Wellington Street this year.
The Wesley Hotel
While we wait with our fingers crossed for a new luxury hotel (and a restaurant to match) at the former Red Leopard site on the Headrow, over the road on Oxford Place there’s something interesting going on in the old Methodist Church. The grade II listed building is being relaunched by The Wesley Hotel, a Methodist based company offering an ethically orientated business model which has been operating in London and Rome for a number of years. The 70-room hotel is expected to create 70 jobs, and profits will be used to support a more effective and developing mission projects within the city centre.
Yard & Coop
Book-ending our list nicely with more fried chicken, Manchester & Liverpool’s Yard & Coop reckons it’s the home of buttermilk-fried chicken. Its new Leeds outpost opens later this month on Swinegate, where it’ll be serving wings, burgers, boneless chicken and something called “monkey balls” with sides and sauces from all over the world.