Head to Kirkstall Road to visit Archive, a new cafe where quality food meets art and culture.
Archive is the cool new cafe and events space slap bang in the middle of Kirkstall Road. It’s the brainchild of Ben Hepworth. He’s the Managing Director of Prime Studios, the film and TV studio complex next door. It’s a thriving hub for independent film and TV production – in the past 12 months alone, they’ve welcomed huge names like John Malkovich, Keira Knightley and Rupert Grint into the city, but there’s nowhere nearby for them to go on their breaks.
“We famously work long hours in this industry and the local production community has been crying out for a space where they can duck in for breakfast, lunch or an after-work beer,” Ben told us. “When ITV’s former television archive became available next door to Prime Studios in 2016, I immediately began plotting it. We wanted it to be comfortable enough for people to hunker down and work over a laptop for a few hours (we’ve made sure there are plenty of charging stations), but to also make it a relaxing place for the public to dip in for a break on their way to or from the city centre.”
It’s the perfect hideaway, a stylish venue, inspired by the colours and textures of the 1970s, from the mustard tiles to the parquet flooring and school-style chairs. But while it may take its cue from the past, it still has plenty of modern touches, like neon lighting and geometric wallpaper.
They’ve paid just as much attention to the coffee as the decor – after all, it’s what keeps them going at Prime Studios. They brew Maude and Pump ’n’ Grind beans for their house coffee, alongside a special guest espresso and pour overs made with Echelon coffee. If you fancy something different, they’ve teamed up with Blendsmith’s to offer flavoured speciality lattes, like turmeric, matcha and beetroot, all of which are vegan-friendly, gluten free and dairy free.
Prefer tea? You can get a cuppa courtesy of Canton. They brew up exotic flavours like Moroccan Mint and Jasmine Pearls, but don’t worry, they’ve got good old Yorkshire Tea too. And if caffeine isn’t the fix you need, Archive is fully licensed and serves local beers from Northern Monk and North Brewing Co.
As for the food, it’s made fresh in-house each day, and it’s as organically and locally sourced as possible. At breakfast, you can keep it simple with sourdough toast, bacon sandwiches and homemade porridge, or add a bit of fire to your morning routine with the spicy beans on toast. It’s made with cannellini and butter beans in a hot ragú sprinkled with cheddar and coriander.
They have Porterhouse cakes and pastries all day, but if you head in between at lunch, they serve handcrafted sandwiches using Bondgate Bakery bread, stuffed with fillings like baked salt cod, slow roasted vine tomatoes and charred purple broccoli. Or you can grab a slice of pizza – how does mozzarella, applewood-smoked cheddar and gorgonzola sound? They have a handful of mains too, like the spiced lentil shakshuka and the Lishman’s pork pie with mash, mushy peas and mint gravy.
If you need a place to start, Ben has a few top tips, “The Croque Monsieur is a no brainer for me, it’s been a firm favourite of mine for over 20 years and is perfect with a coffee. And Mac ’n’ Cheese – my mother makes the best mac ’n’ cheese and it was something else I wanted to get onto the menu. It’s pretty timeless, hopefully she’ll approve! Of course nothing is as good as your mum’s food – but we think we’ve got pretty close!”
Archive isn’t just a cafe, it’s also home to a 3,000 square foot event space that has already hosted the acclaimed Bands FC exhibition, and will be the festival hub for Transform 19. And that’s just the beginning because they’re planning more exhibitions, as well as gigs and film screenings to help turn this part of Kirkstall Road into a hub of entertainment.
This is a long overdue addition to a part of Leeds that was in dire need of a good place to hang out, so head along to Archive to find out what they have to offer.
Archive, 94 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 1HD. It’s open 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.