Brunch – the best bits of breakfast and lunch combined, with the added bonus of a lie in. Here’s where to go…
Cereal isn’t going to cut it here. When it comes to the best brunch places in Leeds, we’re talking about eggs wearing a dripping robe of hollandaise sauce, pancakes stacked so high that they’re toppling over and wondrous waffles covered in things that aren’t strictly good for you. Whether you’re dining solo, with your other half or with friends, brunch is all about decadence, and Leeds has got it in spades.
FINT is a stylish, minimalist dining room that somehow performs brunch time alchemy. Head in after 10am and you’ll be presented with a menu that has a couple of modern classics alongside brunch dishes you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Keep it healthy (moderately) with a very good granola, but the real action starts with their pain perdu. This rich take on French toast is a wonder of sourdough given a dunking in spiced citrus custard, filled with vanilla ice cream and damson compote, all pan-fried to perfection. Feeling savoury? The duck hash with parmentier potatoes, egg and béarnaise is brilliant.
FINT, 73 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
The brunch menu at The Ivy kicks off at 11am and it’s far from an afterthought. In fact, it’s a thing of beauty, with stacks of options which push all the right brunching buttons. Glasses of fizz, Bloody Marys and Bellinis set the tone before you have the tricky task of choosing from an extensive menu. Some of their established classics – the shepherd’s pie, chicken Milanese – are ready to dig in, but the eggs Benedict is the real standout here, with thick-cut, glistening chips made for dunking into both yolk and hollandaise. There’s an avocado version too, as well as fabulous buttermilk pancakes.
The Ivy, Victoria Quarter, Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BB.
Brunch at Manahatta is served until 4pm – now that’s what we call a lie-in. This almost-all-day approach to dining is only to be applauded, so you can rock up in the arvo for avocado and poached eggs – add chorizo, halloumi, smoked salmon or, heck, all three. The pancakes are recommended, a trio of soft buttermilk beauties dressed in sweet stuff or, alternatively, fried chicken and bacon. The Breakfast Hash somehow improves on the Great British breakfast, an addictive combination of poached eggs, bacon, chorizo, sweet potatoes, avocado and spinach, with the punch of chipotle ketchup.
Manahatta, Minerva House, 29 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS & 11 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Grön Kafe has relaxing Scandinavian decor and a modern feel that extends to the menu, with its considered vegan and vegetarian options. The whole place is geared around brekkie and brunch, so order up some expertly-brewed coffee and then dive into poached eggs perked up with chive oil or scrambled eggs elevated with a shaving of truffle. The pancakes come studded with cinnamon sugar, typical of the neat little touches that lift every dish. The vegan hash is amazing, the gluten-free options numerous.
Grön Kafe, 454 Roundhay Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HU.
Brunch is served seven days a week at Browns, from 10am to midday. With that two hour window, it pays to get a fast start – maybe with the Mango Mimosa, blending Moet & Chandon champers with Ciroc Mango vodka for the perfect pick-me-up. That can wash down a very good traditional breakfast with sourdough toast, or brunch staples such as smashed avocado and egg on toast. The mushroom rarebit is made with Taw Valley Cheddar that’s big on flavour and the omelettes are fluffy and generous. Want to push the boat out? The Browns Lobster Benedict is all about the Thermidor sauce and hen’s eggs.
Browns, The Light, 70-72 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8EQ.
Laynes is now over a decade old and this much-loved indie is seemingly getting better by the year. Firstly, the coffee is sensational – this is an espresso bar that has graduated to offering fine food and is arguably the best brunch spot near Leeds Station. Those with a sweet tooth will adore the warm salted caramel brownie with Chantilly cream or French toast fashioned from brioche and drizzled with maple syrup. Staying savoury? Their Chorizo Hash is a glorious mess of spicy sausage, shallots, spinach and more, while the Tofu Scramble is a vegan dish that punches above its weight.
Laynes Espresso, 16 New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DL.
Olive & Rye
The perfect pitstop in the eye-catching surrounds of Queens Arcade, Olive & Rye is an independent with an enticing window display that pretty much forces you to ask for a table. Coffee and tea is all present and correct, but you might be tempted by the brunch smoothies or cocktails – is it ever too early for an Espresso Martini? The even better news is that brunch is served all day, so there’s no time limit on eggs Benedict, hot smoked salmon draped over an English muffin or garlic and thyme mushrooms adorning toasted sourdough. The strawberry pancakes with pistachio crumb are divine too.
Olive & Rye, 18-20 Queens Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LF.
Sometimes, the perfect brunch is all about doing the classics well. And at lively Greek Street bar-cum-restaurant Neighbourhood, the eggs Benedict is done very well indeed. Smoked streaky bacon, hollandaise sauce, a toasted English muffin and eggs poached so that they’ll reveal the liquid sunset of their yolks at the slightest prompting. Vegetarian? The Florentine is also great, bacon swapped out for buttered spinach with added notes of dill and capers. Vegan? Charred asparagus sushi with white truffle mayonnaise or a poke bowl with a plethora of veggies and silken tofu is yours for the munching.
Neighbourhood, 5 Greek Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5RW.
For one of the most unusual brunches in Leeds, head to the bar at Issho. Here you’ll get an Oriental take on this moveable feast. The Akachan Baby Brunch gives you four dishes for £22, starting with simple steamed edamame or crackers with pea guac. After that, you can choose three dishes from the likes of Spicy Pork Bao, Yakitori, Chicken Karaage with wasabi mayo and Squid Karaage with a dramatic black ink sauce. Throw in Vegetable Harumaki, Tomato with Shiso Dressing, Tofu with Teriyaki Bao and Vegetable Tempura and you’ve got something for all diets too.
Issho, Victoria Gate Rooftop, Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7AU.
Former Masterchef Professional contestant Bobby Geetha is the man at the helm of Fleur Cafe, perhaps the most photogenic entry on the list. It has a breathtakingly beautiful interior, but the proof of the brunch is in the munching, as no-one has ever said. Happily, the food here is up to the job, served from 10.30am to 2.30pm, all week long. French toast and smashed avocados are what you’d expect to find on any menu, but the latter get some pizzazz courtesy of some lush truffle hollandaise. Fleur’s shakshuka is fab, while you can add more spice to your life with masala baked beans.
Fleur Cafe, 8 The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8TL.
Wander past Wolfox on Wellington Street and chances are you’ll be drawn inside by the smell of coffee. It’s the good stuff here, organic coffee that’s freshly roasted – but there’s more to this place than a good brew. If your body is a temple, they have some of the best healthy brunch dishes in Leeds. The Mermaid Bowl mixes homemade granola with berries, mango, toasted coconut, organic banana and blue spirulina smoothie. Feeling somewhat more sinful? Opt for pulled pork with grilled Comté cheese and a poached egg, or a landmark brioche French toast with blood orange creme.
Wolfox, 66 Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EE.
With more than a hint of the Scandi about it, Fika North is the Headingley home of cracking coffee, cakes, pastries and, yes, brunch. Bagels are the speciality here, laden with the likes of pastrami and Emmental cheese, avocado with pink pickles or the timeless smoked salmon and dill cream cheese. For a hit of North African spicing, go for the rose harissa chickpea bagel. Elsewhere you can get into the patisserie selection, with an ever-changing roster that might include cruffins, cronuts, lemon and poppy seed mini loaf cakes or toasted banana and chocolate loaf.
Fika North, 94 Otley Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4BA.
There’s a whole heap of things going on at Sheaf St, from arts events to club nights, a bar and a cafe that does a mean brunch. The day menu is served from 8.30am to 3.00pm, which is the kind of brunch timezone everyone can appreciate. They do the basics very well – bacon sarnies in ciabatta rolls, grilled cheese sandwiches with a piquant pinch of mustard – but also hit the high notes with chorizo fried up and served with roasted sweet red pepper on sourdough. Eggs Caprese turns the classic Italian salad into a vibrant, vegetarian breakfast dish – poached eggs, hollandaise, buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil oil. Yum.
Sheaf St, 3 Sheaf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1HD.
Whether you’re seated inside or you’ve chosen to dine al fresco in the heated, covered area outside, a breakfast-cum-brunch at Banyan is a very good thing. The Full English delivers a vast platter of fried delights and you can gild the lily by adding some black pudding. Poached eggs and hollandaise come with your choice of halloumi, smoked salmon or hand-carved ham, and if there’s an avocado, these guys are going to smash it. Kids in tow? They’ll be drawn to the banoffee pancakes like bees to honey. Three pancakes, caramel, fresh banana, honeycomb and caramel sauce. Who needs teeth anyway?
Banyan, The Old Post Office, 2 City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2ES.
Eat Your Greens
Eat Your Greens is one of the most unusual brunch destinations in Leeds, selling groceries by day and transforming into a restaurant at night. You’ll need to head here on Saturday between 10.30am and 3.30pm for their brunch, the perfect way to kick off a Saturday session or one dedicated to shopping. Ingredients are premium, so it’s Laverstoke mozzarella you’re eating in the delightful Baked Eggs, while the Mushroom Egg Sandwich with garlic butter and dukkah is best enjoyed with juice dripping down your chin. The Chilli Tofu Beans pack a punch, while scrambled eggs with kimchi is clever and tasty.
Eat Your Greens, 42 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.
Corner House Coffee Bar
Some of the best brunch places in Leeds fly under the radar, but this winner in Moortown is definitely worth a detour. The cafe is handsome in a rustic way, the coffee is exemplary and breakfast is served until 12.30pm – anything after 10am is surely brunch, right? Creamy garlic mushrooms piled atop sourdough are deliciousness itself, while there are eggs served every which way – Benedict, Florentine, Royale and with smashed avocado, chilli and lime. Full breakfasts, including a hearty veggie one, are fab and filling, and you can make them even larger for a mere £2.
Corner House Coffee Bar, 378 Harrogate Road, Moortown, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 6PY.
Brunch comes in boozy form at Bar Soba. Available Monday to Thursday from noon until 6pm, it costs a set £27.50. For that, you get two courses of food, but also four drinks. The liquid sustenance comes in the form of cocktails – a Drumstick or Zombie, say – beer, Prosecco, Aperol Spritz and G&T. Food-wise, you get inventive small plates that run the gamut from Japanese dumplings through to Korean popcorn chicken or spicy wings. Mains are generous bowls of katsu curry, buttermilk chicken burgers, Thai red curries and stir fries or noodles. It’s street food in brunch disguise, in other words.
Bar Soba, 6 Greek Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5RW.
Meat is Dead
As the name suggests, Meat is Dead is a vegan cafe. It has a broad plant-based menu and big windows with views out onto Kirkstall Road. Brunch is served from 10am to 2pm, Tuesday to Saturday inclusive, so you can get some kip, rise late and still enjoy the pleasures of scrambled tofu with onion, tomato and wilted spinach. Ripe avocado is partnered with garlic mushrooms and charred vine tomatoes on toasted sourdough, while the Global Bowl is a virtuous melange of beans, tofu, mushrooms, spinach, hash browns, avocado and more. There are also lovely cinnamon pancakes – this is brunch, dammit!
Meat Is Dead, 231-239 Kirkstall Road, Burley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2AS.
Heaney & Mill
There’s nothing extravagant or unique about the Heaney & Mill brunch menu but then, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? A kitchen that does the standards well is a very fine kitchen, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed by the quality egg dishes here. There’s eggs Royale, Florentine and Avocado, with the Benedict given a little twist with the addition of Serrano ham. Can’t choose between them? Go for the Trio which combines ham, smoked salmon and wilted spinach. Traditional, vegan and vegetarian breakfasts are all on offer, while pancakes, a brioche stack and steak & egg with fries round off a perfect brunchathon.
Heaney & Mill, 48 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2AL.
Let’s be fair to our American and Canadian cousins – while our breakfasts are way better than theirs, they invented brunch. The influence of their dishes is all over British menus, and Moose Coffee is a celebration of that. It’s like a dream diner from New York or Toronto dropped into the heart of Leeds, dishing up a dazzling array of all-day breakfasts, pancake stacks, Benedicts, waffles and more. The pancakes with cinnamon spiced apple, drizzled with salted caramel, maple syrup and butter is the perfect dirty breakfast, while the Manolito is a spicy take on huevos rancheros.
Moose Coffee, Bond Court, Wine Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2JZ.
Friends of Ham
Friends of Ham is the place to go for big, bold flavours, perfectly-kept cheese and a menu that evolves but reserves a special place for some much-loved favourites. It opens at 11am, which is the magic brunching hour and the perfect time for their Old Winchester Rarebit, served on Leeds Bread Co-op sourdough with optional poached eggs. Pork lovers should make sure they order either the Lardo Di Colonnata or the Bath Chaps Toast – so piggy you can taste the oink. Other must-tries include the Chorizo Monsieur, a grilled cheese sandwich with n’duja and the indulgent raclette – Ogleshield cheese melted over crispy potatoes.
Friends of Ham, 4-8 New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DL.
This vegan bakery and kitchen is renowned for its cakes – it supplies vegan weddings all around the country – but it also conjures up a mean brunch. It’s not just plant-based, it also has plenty of gluten-free choice for coeliacs. Perfectly airy pancakes are served with granola, maple syrup, yogurt, berry compote and fresh berries, while a trio of bowls deliver lots of fresh vegetables and superfoods. At the indulgent end of the scale, the unique Love Raw Bubble Waffle is a true one-off. It’s loaded with vanilla ice cream wafers, marshmallows and melted chocolate. Turns out brunch heaven is in Leeds.
The Greenhouse, Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5LJ.
House of Koko
This cool, independent cafe in Chapel Allerton has brunch in its bones. Eggs Benedict with Sykes House Farm smoked streaky bacon and in-house hollandaise? That’ll be a big yes. They also do Florentine, Royale and Avocado – the latter with hints of lemon, pickled radish, pea shoots and herb oil for a vegan winner. Breakfast bagels are generously stuffed, pancakes come in sweet and savoury ways or, if you go for the Bacon & Biscoff option, both at once. The toasties are a testament to taste – a Reuben with pastrami, dijonnaise and cheese, or the luxurious Kroque with mornay sauce, ham, mushrooms, cheese and egg.
House of Koko, 62 Harrogate Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4LA.
North Star are known for their incredible coffee – it’s available across the country – but this cafe is its spiritual home. Here you can drink brilliant brews while availing yourself of the mouthwatering food – it’s one of the highest-quality brunches in Leeds in terms of produce alone. The bacon and sausages are from the much-garlanded Lishman’s of Ilkley, bread from Nova Bakehouse. All of this means the sandwiches, Eggs Royale and grilled cheeses are a cut above the norm. If you want to be kind to yourself, order the Chocolate Orange French Toast, with salted caramel sauce and orange blossom yogurt.
The North Star Coffee Shop & General Store, The Boulevard, Leeds Dock, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1PZ.