Grilled cheese, toastie or rarebit - a hot, cheesy treat by any other name would still taste great
In my house, 6pm on a Sunday evening meant one thing and one thing only. All the family was on the sofa with The Antiques Roadshow on the telly and a cheese toastie in hand. The vintage Breville toasted sandwich maker was a thing of wonder. My dad would raid the fridge to write up a list of ingredients on a scrap of paper, taking our orders like an impatient waiter, before everyone argued over the cheesy burnt bits baked onto the machine. Then, Teflon Toastabags became the best thing since, well, sliced bread.
Luckily enough, Leeds is stuffed with choice when you fancy a triangle of golden-crusted nostalgia. Just in time for the first frost, when a bite of something warm and oozy can melt even the most wintery of hearts.
And what’s more, we’ve put in the leg work scouring the city to find not one, but five of the best toasties in Leeds. Thank us later.
What: North Star grilled cheese
How much: £7
Where: North Star Coffee Shop
North Star has been banging out quality brews since opening its doors on Leeds Dock in 2017. But it’s not just its flat whites that locals queue up for. With a brunch menu concentrated on creating an ethical supply chain where seasonality is at the forefront and an artisan bakehouse under the same roof, you know you’ll be tasting something special. Not one, but four kinds of cheese make up this toastie, sourced from Cryer & Stott Cheesemongers; including its prized Britannia Cheddar and a Wensleydale Creamery Fountains Gold. Add fennel and chilli pepperoni or Yorkshire ham for £1.50 - you’d be rude not to.
North Star Coffee Shop Unit 32 The Blvd, Leeds LS10 1PZ
What: The Outlaws grilled cheese
How much: £5.45
Where: Outlaws Yacht Club
Leeds’ favourite hair salon and disco bar on the corner of New York Street is the place to go for a toastie any time of day, seven days a week. Kick back on its plush orange sofas beside a cornucopia of local artwork, glitter balls and electro records and tuck into thick slices of Leeds Bread Co-Op sourdough stuffed with farmhouse cheddar, brie and Emmental. Diced red onion, gherkins and a touch of cayenne make a moreish melting mouthful that you’ll be craving for months. Vegans can enjoy a smoked applewood and soft cheese version, and meat-eaters can level up with waves of prosciutto crudo.
Outlaws Yacht Club 38 New York St, Leeds LS2 7DY
What: The whole toastie menu
How much: From £3.50
Where: Miles & Co
Miles & Co is the newest speciality coffee shop to land inside Kirkgate Market, which brings together the barista wizardry of husband Lee, and the marketing know-how of wife Ellenor. Miles & Co will be featuring a range of rotating roasters from Lee’s pre-existing relationships at cafes across Leeds, with bags of retail beans for you to try at home. Alongside their tempting treats from Cakesmiths and Chunkcookies, the small but perfectly formed menu of toasties is what we’re here for. Each is made with Bluebird Bakery’s sourdough ciabatta from across the way in the market. The pastrami, mustard and pickle grilled cheese has a real peppery kick, and vegans will love their kimchi and spicy mayo option.
Miles & Co Unit 21, Market Hall, Vicar Ln, Leeds LS2 7HJ
What: OWT Rarebit
How much: £9.50
OWT is somewhat of a local treasure amongst the indies of Leeds, first winning our hearts by whipping up waste ingredients from Kirkgate’s traders into daily changing dishes. Now they’ve set up shop inside Leeds Corn Exchange with all the colour and charm of a Parisian brasserie, boosting footfall and feeding shoppers and office staff alike. The OWT grilled cheese plate was somewhat legendary with its contrasting sweet pickled carrots, herbs and parsley sauce. They’ve tweaked the menu a bit, but we’re still classing this as a topless toastie - the OWT Rarebit, basically the best cheese on toast you’ve ever had, with boiled eggs, greens and homemade brown sauce.
OWT Unit C12A&B Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Ln, Leeds LS1 7BR
What: Milk loaf toasties
How much: Varies
You might think Doh’hut only specializes in sugary buns filled with a delicious line-up of seasonal flavours, but recently the talented bakers have been turning their hands to focaccia, proper pasta, and yes, you guessed it - toasties. Using their handmade milk loaf, you can expect fillings such as ham and cheese and mozzarella, tomato and pesto. Even our childhood favourite: sausage, beans and cheese makes an appearance on the menu. The best news is they’ve been teaming up with street food heroes like Little Bao Boy to bring special edition toasties to the masses and last week they mashed up a cheeseburger toastie with Kerbside Kids - beef, cheese, house burger sauce, pickles and white onion.
Doh'hut 2 Trevelyan Sq, Leeds LS1 6ED
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