Jenessa Williams gets the scoop on the tastiest soups to slurp your way through this winter
WHETHER it’s a New Year detox or some stodgy winter comfort food you’re after, there’s one meal that can cater for both. Almost every restaurant menu will host a soup as part of its offering, but there’s a wealth of difference between a watery disappointment and a flavourful broth, which can even be a fantastic portal to a new cuisine. Get your year off to a good start with these 10 belly-pleasers...
Zurek – Smak! Deli (£7.50)
A cosy little kitchen on the Kirkstall Road, Smak!’s unassuming awning conceals one of the most filling soups in the city. Say hello to zurek – a Polish rye soup with potatoes, egg, sausage, bacon, onion and garlic, all served in a cottage bread bowl. You won’t need be needing to eat again for the rest of the day.
Smak! Deli, 372 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2HQ
Chicken Noodle – Ira B’s (£4.50 or £9.50 for soup and a salt beef sandwich)
We’ve crowed in the past about the delights of Ira B’s, but their ‘Jewish Penicillin’ of a chicken soup really is the culinary antidote to all your sniffles and coughs. Loaded with lokshen (noodles) and knaidlach (matzoh balls), this complex chicken broth is excellently flavoured by low-and-slow stewed bones and herbs, washing down perfectly alongside a salt beef sarnie.
Ira B’s, Chelwood Drive, LS8 2AT
Tofu Pho – Banh & Mee (£5.50)
Skip Trinity Kitchen and head straight to Kirkgate Market for an authentic taste of pho, a fresh Vietnamese broth known for its sweet-and-sour tendencies that vary from one family recipe to another. Meat options are available, but it’s Banh & Mee’s tofu option that really impresses on a lunchtime. If you’re trying to cut down on the animal stuff this year, this is an excellent place to start.
Banh & Mee, Kirkgate Market Food Hall, LS2 7DT
Eco Soup – Leeds Beckett Students’ Union (PAYF)
The cheapest and greenest soup outlet in Leeds, this student-led enterprise makes good use of surplus veg from local businesses, blending nutritious and vegan soups served up with compostable cutlery. Potato and leek, pepper and carrot, cauliflower... you name it, they serve it from noon to 2pm every Tuesday at Headingley Campus and Wednesday at City Campus. Perfect for budget-savvy students and workers alike in the top part of town.
Leeds Beckett SU, Headingley Campus, Church Wood Avenue, LS6 3HJ & City Campus, Portland Way, LS1 3HE
Beef Ramen – House of Fu (tbc)
They may be keeping us on tenterhooks when it comes to an opening date, but House of Fu’s upcoming permanent residency is sure to be worth the wait following their queues-round-the-block sell-out during pop-up at Headrow House last year. Their beef ramen is easily among one of the best things we’ve eaten in the city recently, with quality ingredients swimming in a broth that has less of a flavour profile and more of a bulging portfolio.
House of Fu, venue details to be announced
Wonton Soup – Wen’s (£3.30)
If you can temporarily distract yourself from the savoury goodness of Wen’s deep-fried and noodle dishes, start your meal with a nourishing bowl of their wonton soup. Plump pork dumplings and bok choy paddle in a clear, surprisingly low-calorie broth, which also doubles as an effective palate-cleanser between richer dishes.
Wen’s, North Street, LS2 7PN
Parsnip Soup – The Owl (£12)
If there was one dish that really impressed on our recent trip to The Owl, it had to be the parsnip soup. Forget your reheated lunchtime can – this is a boujee bowl of frothy liquid that flows around a juicy scallop, with parsnip crisps on top for good measure. Definitely one for a payday treat.
The Owl, Kirkgate Market, LS2 7DT
Seasonal, changes daily – Grub & Grog (£3.50)
Like to keep the little surprises in life? Eat seasonal with the ever-excellent Grub & Grog on Sheaf Street, where the soup special changes daily. This chap here is roast swede and cumin, served with sourdough from Yorkshire’s Bluebird Bakery, but they’ve been known to cover everything from your basic tomato and basil right through to a spicy lentil.
Grub & Grog, Sheaf Street, LS10 1HD
Gratinée Lyonnaise – Kendells Bistro (£7.50)
Indulge in a touch of class at Kendells Bistro. One of the city’s most enduring French restaurants, their classic onion soup is an Instagram star, with a rich topping of gruyere cheese and croutons that melt slowly into the viscous depths below. A great romantic option for date night (if you don’t mind a hint of garlic breath).
Kendells Bistro, St Peter’s Square, LS9 8AH
Massala Dosa – Bundobust (£6)
Local heroes Bundobust are known across the North for their vada pavs and okra fries, but the humble massala dosa dish is a great option if you’re after a lighter snack. The massala dosa itself is actually a form of South Indian savoury pancake, but it’s the accompanying soup that’s the real star of the show; a hot and sour lentil and aubergine blend that is best supped up straight from the cup. Who needs cutlery anyway?
Bundobust, Mill Hill, LS1 5DQ
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Fancy more food favourites to try out this month, but are a bit short after Xmas? Check out out January restaurant deals