If you’re fed up of your usual sarnies, take a break with these interesting lunch options in Leeds…
Lunch can be a bit of a bore, at least if you’re having the same thing every day. So why not mix up your midday meal by visiting one of these Leeds eateries? From a new take on barbecue to freshly made sushi and all manner of street food, there are loads of new things for you to try.
1. Bulgogi Grill
If you want your lunch break to be an experience, there’s no better place to go than Bulgogi Grill. This intriguing little restaurant will see you and your mates doing the cooking, as you barbecue marinated meat and seafood on the grill built into your table. Once it’s cooked, wrap it up in a lettuce leaf with your choice of rice, dips, pickles and veg for a tasty lunch you won’t soon forget.
Bulgogi Grill, 9 Merrion Way, The Merrion Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.
One of the newest additions to this list, Hive has hit the ground running with a menu of healthy but delicious options. Their lunch menu is made up of Hive pots, salads and soups, all of which are homemade with a mind to creating nutritionally balanced dishes that taste great. For something a little bit different to the norm, try the Indian spiced cauliflower soup or the Vietnamese pulled chicken salad.
Hive, 1 Whitehall Riverside, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BN.
3. Rola Wala
Trinity Kitchen may have an ever-changing selection of street food vendors, but one of them is a permanent fixture – Rola Wala. They’ve managed to wrap up everything you love about Indian food – the spice, the marinated meats and the fresh veggies – all in a naan to create a tasty meal you can eat on the go. Perfect for lunches when you want something a little unconventional.
Rola Wala, Trinity Kitchen, Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AY.
A little gem of a find, up on Great George Street, Nom is another street food trader turned permanent resident, bringing the delicious flavours of Vietnam to Leeds. You’ve got a few different options here to mix up your lunches, with bánh mì (baguettes filled with a choice of tofu and mushroom, chicken, hoisin duck, grilled fish or BBQ pork), pho (rice noodle soup), cuõn (summer rolls) and búns (rice noodle salads).
Nom, 77A Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.
Zaap became an overnight sensation when it opened in May 2015 – and it’s easy to see why. It comes from the folk behind Sukhothai, so you know you’re looking at quality fodder here, and you can choose from an almost overwhelming selection of Thai street food. We’re talking dim sum, noodles, Thai curries and more. With the eclectic surroundings, including tuktuks transformed into tables and wall to ceiling murals, you’re in for an interesting little break.
Zaap, 22 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
6. Roots & Fruits
This friendly independent cafe has been around for years – and it’s still just as good today as it ever was, although their menu has changed quite a bit. Nowadays, you’ll find nutrition-focused dishes like the whole bowl, with its chipotle black beans, brown rice and mango salsa, topped with guacamole, coconut sour cream and their special (vegan) cheesy sauce. Of course, they still do their famed burgers, so if you want an old favourite, you won’t be disappointed.
Roots & Fruits, 10 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
The Corn Exchange is more famous for its shops than its eateries, but Humpit is changing all that with its fresh bowls of deliciousness. They’ll give you a whacking great helping of hummus, topped with falafel, salsa and mushrooms – mop it up with a pitta for a scrumptious lunch. Alternatively, try their packed pittas for a bite to eat on the go.
Humpit, Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.
8. Cafe Moor
A longstanding resident in Leeds Kirkgate Market, Cafe Moor is the perfect spot for quick lunches. They’ll whip you up a tasty treat from their menu of North African and Middle Eastern delights. Their shawarma sandwiches are hugely popular, but don’t be afraid to try something a little different, like their tagines and boureks.
Café Moor, Unit B 1904, Kirkgate Market, 34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.
You probably wouldn’t think to nip by Sushiwaka in your break, but actually this modern little sushi joint is a cracking choice come lunch time. Put their selection of sushi to the test with the likes of tuna sashimi, cuttlefish nigiri and avocado hosomaki, all made fresh – it makes for a deliciously healthy lunch. Alternatively, check out their hot options, which include bento boxes, curries, noodles and soups.
Sushiwaka, 28 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Whether you’re a regular or a first timer, this innovative veggie bar never fails to impress. Their menu of vegetarian street food will suit everyone, even the carnivores, as they get creative with traditional dishes, adding a few unique twists of their own. You can try standout dishes like the okra fries, vada pav burger and popcorn & pops, but don’t forget everyday favourites like the dhal.
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.
10. My Thai
With two restaurants, one in the Merrion Centre on Wade Lane and the other on York Place in the heart of the business district, My Thai is a good shout come lunchtime. It’s deliciously affordable, with a steaming bowl of curry or noodles costing just £6.50 – and it’s good too, with tasty options like tamarind duck, rayong beef noodle soup and chicken red curry.
My Thai, 26 York Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EY & Merrion Centre, 43 Wade Lane, Leeds, LS2 8NJ.
12. Bilbao Bar
A rustic little eatery that takes its influences from the Basque country, Bilbao makes everything a little bit better, from the patatas bravas right through to the sarnies (they do pintxos, which are essentially open sandwiches on slices of thick, crusty bread). As the name suggests, it’s also a bar, so you can delve into their selection of Spanish wines or maybe even try a cocktail.
Bilbao, Little Neville Street, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR.
Fancy something a little bit more extravagant? Head to Tattu, an opulent restaurant that does Chinese with a twist. Come lunchtime, it’s all about the dim sum, and you can get two plates for £13, three for £18 or four for £22. Choose from the likes of prawn har gau, Shanghai dumplings and spicy pork wontons, or go for one of their speciality dishes like the beef and fois gras gyoza.
Tattu, Minerva, 29 E Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PS.
14. Ham & Friends
The latest venture from the folk behind Friends of Ham has its own shop, bar, and yes, restaurant. They’ve taken their love of local produce and turned it into a menu of inspired dishes – think Old Winchester dumplings with caramelised cauliflower, herbs and hazlenut or octopus, nduja, tomato & chickpea broth. This is good food, done well, and it’s a real treat on your lunch break.
Ham & Friends, Grand Arcade, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
15. Senbon Sakura
We’re obsessing over this place right now. Not only do they serve up some of the tastiest Japanese food in Leeds, but they also do huge portions that will see you all the way through to dinner. Try the katsu curry, it comes with a whole breast of chicken, covered in breadcrumbs and smothered in their homemade tangy sauce – or go for one of their noodle soups. The pork bone broth is out of this world, and it’ll go down a treat with dumplings or their salt ‘n’ pepper chicken.
Senbon Sakura, 71 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.Cover image copyright Victoria Harley.