Karaoke, anarchic pizza and a £16m renovation
As the long nights start to draw in, sitting outside starts to feel less and less appealing. But while Leeds lost a great many superb food and drink establishments over the last 18 months, there’s plenty of life in the old city yet.
We haven’t done a round-up since June, so here’s a selection of six of the best new openings from the last few months.
Bruschetta by Food Cabaret
Coffee, sarnies and cake. The Corn Exchange’s newest independent café does the lot, and they do it well. Brought to you by Food Cabaret, this may not be the circus, but there’s certainly an element of the theatrical in the magnificent surroundings of one of Leeds’s most beautiful buildings. I’ve never quite gotten over the “de-gothing” of the Corn Exchange, which wiped away so many wonderful memories of the early 2000s glory days, but places like Bruschetta are certainly tempting me back.
Bruschetta Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane LS1 7BR
Grand Pacific @ the Queen’s Hotel
The Queens has undergone quite the refurbishment this year, with a reported £16 million being spent on the hotel, the rooms, and its new bar-restaurant, Grand Pacific. The 100-cover restaurant is kitted out in the art deco style of the hotel with a focus on Asian fusion cuisine. Menu highlights include a teriyaki steak sandwich and Asian spiced duck cottage pie, alongside a range of cocktails and wines to suit all tastes.
The Queens New Station Street City Square, Leeds LS1 1PJ
House of Fu
As recently as June, there still wasn’t a concrete opening date for a restaurant that had had the Ben Hur of build ups. Well, it’s here, it’s busy (RAMenned?), and it’s fully karaoke ready - but is it any good? You’ll have to read our review to find out. Safe to say, though, House of Fu has had an immediate impact on the Leeds food scene and when you consider that the brilliant Ox Club is right behind it, The Headrow is becoming a bit of a foodie destination.
House of Fu 15-19 The Headrow, Leeds LS1 6PU
Noi’s Thai Kitchen @ The Old Peacock
We’re all Leeds, aren’t we? Now, I’m not going to recommend you visit on matchdays because I think football is rubbish and only brings out the worst in people, but The Old Peacock does have a lot going for it on other days: history, Osset beer, and now, a Thai street food joint. Noi’s Thai Kitchen serves curries, stir fries, and a selection of crispy deep-fried snacks that have been honed over a 20-year-long culinary journey. And if you do happen to be a Leeds fan, you might spot a legend or two.
The Old Peacock 251 Elland Rd, Beeston, Leeds LS11 8TU
Leeds is the fourth restaurant for Pizza Punks – it’s already gone down a storm in Belfast, Glasgow and Newcastle. This isn’t just another pizza joint though; pasta is equally represented, and there’s a healthy list of drinks to enjoy too. They also do a range of bake-at-home postage options, and a party in a box, complete with cocktail and playlist. Music is important at Pizza Punks, so expect tunes to be front and centre during your experience.
Pizza Punks 37 Bond St, Leeds LS1 5BQ
If you went to The Watermark pre-Covid, chances are you’d have been served by Leeds’s smiliest barman, Filippos Filippopoulos. It would have been a massive loss to the city had he upped sticks and taken his considerable cocktail-making talent with him, but instead, we’ve got Tabula Rasa – an all-day café and cocktail bar with a range of small plates to accompany your tipple. And Guinness. Of course there’s Guinness.
Tabula Rasa 8 Eastgate, Leeds LS2 7JL
Read again: A guide to the best coffee in Leeds
Don't miss out
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email.