Dumpling shacks, dance restaurants and double city centre burger action
It's been a while since we wrote a round up of new openings in Leeds, and there are plenty to talk about. This bunch take in the city centre, burbs and regional surrounds delivering a varied selection. Neon-lit, DJ led food and dance spots inspired by Ibiza, meaty burger joints, dumpling cabins and a place that boasts a "K Kube" (it’s not what you think).
The Merrion Centre continues to blossom, SALT drops another taproom and food combo and those Ox Club legends take their wares over to Harrogate.
Read on for our round-up of recent and future restaurant and bar openings across Leeds.
What: Blue Pavilion
Where: Merrion Street, Leeds, LS2 8NG
When: Summer 2022
On the hunt for luxury Chinese dining and premium entertainment amongst £2 million worth of fit-out at the Merrion Centre? Of course you are. Even if you don’t know it yet. From the team that brought you award-winning lux buffeting hotspot Blue Sakura, comes Blue Pavilion. Expect innovative Chinese cuisine and first-class dining but most intriguingly a "K Kube" karaoke venue. The excellently named Kube will feature seven rooms in which to belt out Justin Timberlake’s Señorita (author’s preference) or whatever the kids are singing these days.
What: Cult Wing
Where: 19 Merrion Way, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8NG
When: August 2022
Of all the cults to join, a chicken wing one seems a pretty safe bet, no? Cult Wing will bring sauce-coated, freshly fried chicken wings to the Merrion Centre as well as stacked burgers and fries. The casual dining spot will channel punk vibes both aesthetically and on its menu with wing coatings including “skulldive herb”, “BBQ bones” and “rock chick chipotle”. If that’s not enough for you, there’ll also be craft beer (is there any other kind?) and tequila flights. What could possibly go wrong?
What: East of Arcadia
Where: 607 Meanwood Rd, Meanwood, Leeds LS6 4HQ
Bear with us. East of Arcadia in Meanwood (the biggest pub in the area, don’t you know?) has been bought by Whitelock’s in the city centre. You know the one, oldie but a goodie (Est. 1715). The heads over at Whitelock’s are going to renovate it and change the name. The pub remains open in its current guise but will close in August for refurbishment and reopen, butterfly-style, as something else in September. There’s a new name tipped for the place but the owners are keeping schtum.
What: The Green Room
Where: 36 Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 2DE
When: Open now
Think of The Green Room not as merely a bar or restaurant, but instead a modern hybrid space. A triple threat of community coolness. After a two-year, £3 million build, the space arrives with a multi-functional café lunch spot by day, turning into a buzzy bar by night. We’re not a fan of the word eatery but it would probably refer to itself as an eatery. Sitting in a prime location next to the new Channel 4 HQ, food and drinks menus emphasise vegan friendliness thanks to Grön’s input whilst coffee and beer are also a local affair. North Star bringing the beans, Northern Monk and Magic Rock on the hops.
What: Honest Burgers
Where: 2 Cloth Hall St LS1 2HD
When: 25 July
Chains always seem to get a bit of shit in indie circles (and rightly so a lot of the time) but nobody can deny Honest Burgers is one of the better ones. It’s almost like its name is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We could sit here and wax lyrical about that bacon gravy all day long but we don’t have the time or the word count. What you should know is it’s on Cloth Hall Street opposite the Corn Exchange and the arrival will follow a pop-up at the Northern Monk Refectory. Expect a signature local burger and local beers to wash it down with.
What: The Ivy Asia
Where: 55 Vicar Ln, Leeds LS1 6BA
When: Autumn 2022
We’ve had our say on The Ivy Asia and let’s just say there was a response. But, that said, The Ivy Asia will drop in Leeds this year and for the people who’re into that sort of thing, you’re in for a treat. Following in the footsteps of The Ivy (original), The Ivy Asia will be like that but on questionably Asian-themed steroids. Flower walls, eye-popping interiors and extra cocktails. Diners can expect monkfish and prawn curry and Korean glazed chicken as well as daily market specials. Don’t forget to take a selfie.
Cover image: The Green Room
Where: 34 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NU
When: Open now
There’s a starter and main course vibe to Kino’s launch. The Opera North helmed venture opened in early July and currently serves a choice selection of proudly regional cheese and charcuterie sharers. This alongside “a top-notch wine list”, craft beers and cocktails. From September, the restaurant will morph into full food menu mode whilst also kicking off what will be regular rotating chef residencies. Kino will also run on renewable energy, using both on-site solar powers and through the grid.
Where: 3 Bishopgate St, Leeds LS1 5DY
That’s right. Meat. Towering stacks of meat. “Real American cheeseburgers and American breakfasts served fast food style” says the website with the added strapline of “smashed, steamed and served.” With options to eat in and takeaway, Meat:Stack will do you breakfast burgers and muffins before 11am (Ol’ Dirty Bagel packs fried chicken, bacon, hash brown, over easy egg, American cheese, maple syrup) and burgers until 10pm. Said burgers include the Cease & Desist which features smoked streaky bacon, mascarpone, ancho chilli and black garlic honey.
What: Oi Dumplings
Where: 5 Station Rd, Marsden, Huddersfield HD7 6BS
When: July 23
Marsden is getting a new dumpling spot and it’s coming courtesy of the Oi Dumplings duo Mollie and Maisie. Previous popper uppers at Manchester’s GRUB (where they host dumpling masterclasses), The Courtyard in Royton and Zapato Brewing, the dumpling makers have settled on a permanent spot. A cosy eight-seater, there’ll also be dog-friendly outside seating. Obvs there’ll be dumplings and diners can also expect loaded wontons, Amai desserts bubble waffles, beers, wines and cocktails. Dumpling workshops too. Walk-ins only.
Where: Electric Press, Leeds LS1 3DW
When: Open now
Dine, drink, play is the motto at the Tom Zanetti and Kane Towning co-helmed spot Playroom. A live, laugh, love for lad huns (luns?). Inspired by the duo’s fave Ibiza spot STK, and a follow-up to Dollhouse, the premise is basically: have some food and drink then dance late into the night. Lots of booths, lots of LED lighting and two floors of DJs playing various sub-genres of house music. We can almost hear it now, can you? An £80 Tomahawk steak tops the menu alongside burgers, and small plates including calamari, baked lobster tail, sliders in chicken, beef and halloumi form as well as salt and pepper cauliflower. Just make sure you let it settle before you have a boogie.
Where: Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate HG1 1DQ
When: Open now
From the heads behind everyone’s favourite, Ox Club, Samsons is a Josh Whitehead and Andy Castle modern dining adventure into the HG postcode. A self-described “celebration of the seasons” and “modern innovative, exuberantly creative British cuisine, at the heart of a relaxed dining experience”, the lads have certainly got the CVs to back it up. The snacks alone - smoked eel hash brown, smoked kipper mousse - are enough to get us salivating. For some vicarious dish-by-dish Samsons action, check out our Simon’s review.
What: SALT Taproom
Where: Candle House, Granary Wharf, Leeds LS1 4GJ
When: Open now
Saltaire beer crew SALT has a new taproom and it’s waterside at Granary Wharf. Yes, that does mean you can have a pint of Final Straw. Lovely stuff. But it also means, akin to the brand’s other taprooms across Yorkshire, that there’ll be a unique food vendor. In this case it’s “craft and falafel” courtesy of the Falafel Guys. Expect pints upon pints, but also falafel wraps, halloumi bowls and fries as well as vibrant colours of hummus. For the full lowdown check out Richard’s review.
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