OWT is a new lunchtime eatery in Kirkgate Market where the food is made with local produce from neighbouring stalls and the menu changes every week.
Owt, in Yorkshire slang, literally means anything. But for Leeds locals, it’ll soon have new meaning because it’s the name of an exciting new lunch venue in Leeds Kirkgate Market. OWT is the brainchild of Esther Miglio and James Simpson, two chefs who are 100% committed to using local produce from their neighbours in the market. And as the ingredients around them change, so too will their menu.
The ingredients are as Yorkshire as possible, but the inspiration for OWT actually comes from further afield. “Our passion is food,” Esther explained. “James has been cheffing for the past nine years and I come from the south of France, where the quality of food is pretty incredible. We always wanted to open something together and Kirkgate Market offers an unlimited amount of produce, a real chef’s dream. We decided to recreate what most French markets have done since forever, by having a canteen that features what’s on site.”
Since they source everything fresh each week, the menu is constantly changing. If you get there early doors, they have a couple of dishes on the go for breakfast, like a savoury quiche or a breakfast bap – their smoked bacon sandwich has already become a stone-cold favourite. But the concept truly comes alive at lunch.
Their mains are all served hot, with a salad on the side and your choice of condiments, including their homemade tomato ketchup. In the few weeks since they opened, the menu has been a truly eclectic affair. They’ve had Vegan Lasagne with Lemony Kale, Slow Braised Beef with Mustard Rice Salad and Veggie Steak with Chickpea, Roast Tomato, Harissa and Pesto. Fancy something sweet? They also serve freshly-made cakes, with everything from Handmade Chocolate Brioche to Pear Frangipane.
The prices are competitive – breakfast is £3, mains cost between £5.50 and £7 and desserts are £2.50 – or you can get their £9 meal deal, which gets you a main, a dessert and a drink. Speaking of the drinks, they too are made using produce sourced from Kirkgate Market and change weekly. Expect unusual combinations like their Ginger and Lime Pop, inspired by the fruit and veg stall next door. And if you need a caffeine boost, try their coffee – it’s free if you order something to eat, as a nod to the traditional American diners where that kind of service is the norm.
They’re slap bang in the middle of Kirkgate Market. Their stall is decorated with flowers and artwork from Jack Trotman and Tase Wild. It’s all kept very simple with a counter at the front, a single table and a breakfast bar for up to seven people. And if there isn’t space? Just take your lunch to the food hall, mere metres away.
“OWT is reaffirming the tradition that markets have worldwide, to cook only what local traders are offering,” Esther told us. “By creating a new menu every week inspired by Kirkgate Market and the seasons, our goal is to reaffirm the relationship between traders, customers and ourselves. We are a local business, supporting other local businesses. We feel so blessed to be a part of such a rich and diverse independent city. Our passion is food, our inspiration is Leeds Kirkgate Market.”
So, the next time you want to add a bit of variety to your lunch break, make a beeline for OWT and experience the wonders of what can be made using only ingredients found at Kirkgate Market’s stalls. It might just surprise you…
OWT, Leeds Kirkgate Market, George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY. It’s open from 10 am to 4pm Monday to Saturday.Cover image copyright Jeremy Kelly.