From Indian street food to laid-back fine dining – these 10 eateries are all cool as heck.
What makes a place cool? Is it the decor, the people, the food? For us, it’s different for every venue – one might stand out because of its down to earth atmosphere, another for its unique concept, but whatever it is, these 10 all have it. They are undeniably cool and rather awesome to boot – which is why they’re on this list.
The Swine That Dines
You can tuck into the remarkably creative 7-course tasting menu at The Swine That Dines on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. It embraces a ‘nose to tail, roots to shoots’ ethos which sees them make quality, creative dishes using unusual ingredients. You can also pop in for lunch between Wednesday and Sunday for a relaxed small plates menu, with dishes like leek bhajis with piccalilli and buttermilk chicken with hot sauce and aioli.
The Swine That Dines, 58 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
Pizza Fella isn’t flashy. They haven’t spent a fortune on the decor and they don’t mess around with the menu – which is why we love them. Everything is simple here, from the make-shift tables and the cork-board walls to the menu of eight numbered pizzas. It’s a wonderfully easy place to eat, and one that will see you polishing off every last bite of your proper Neapolitan pizza, even if you’re so full, you think you’re going to burst.
Pizza Fella, 114-116 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Mans Market does things differently. It’s not easy to find, it’s merely a doorway at West Point. But once you step inside and go underground, you’ll find yourself in a cool, modern restaurant that’s unlike any other Chinese you’ve been to, decorated with waving cats, neon lights and wooden pallets. The food follows suit – tuck into dishes like sweet and sour chicken served on a hanging skewer and beef and black bean nestled in the shell of a red pepper.
Mans Market, Unit F, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JJ.
Matt Healy at The Foundry
Laid-back fine dining may sound like a contradiction but one visit to Matt Healy at The Foundry will show you it’s not. The former MasterChef: The Professionals runner up has breathed new life into The Foundry with a refreshing, pretension-free take on British fare. You can tuck into dishes like baby chicken kievs with wild garlic and duck fat potatoes, bavette steak with king oyster mushrooms and burnt shallots, or creme brûlée dessert doughnuts.
Matt Healy at The Foundry, 1 Saw Mill Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WH.
A bar and restaurant combined, The Reliance doesn’t have to shout about what it does, because it does it so gosh darned well. Behind the bar, they have craft beer, quality wine and all the spirits you could desire, but it’s the kitchen that really impresses. This is British food, done well and served up in a bar that’s completely down to earth – try their homemade charcuterie, it’s sensational.
The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
Everything about Remedy is cool. It’s a hairdressers-cum-cafe bar with an old school vibe where you can enjoy a glass of wine to a soundtrack of jazz. The food is just as good. You can enjoy freshly made cheeseboards all day, every day, or on Wednesdays, tuck into an ever-changing menu from renowned chef James Key. He puts on a weekly pop-up restaurant with dishes like coq au vin with soused and scorched mackerel.
Remedy, 16 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
A secret restaurant above a secret bar? Oh yes, The Maven definitely gets a place on this list. Their cool pre-prohibition style carries through to the restaurant, where you can enjoy a menu of Mediterranean small plates like roast duck breast in Madeira sauce, marinated kale with whipped white truffle beans and royal crab cakes. The drinks offering is just as good, with a menu of creative cocktails and handpicked wines.
The Maven, 1 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7DH.
Zaap is absolutely crazy – it looks like you’ve stepped onto an amplified Bangkok street and that’s what makes it stand out from the crowd. The place is covered in cool signs and trinkets – where else can you eat in actual tuk-tuk? The food is just as good too. You can work your way through a stacked menu of Thai delights, from classics done well like Pad Thai and Thai Green Curry to specialities like the Hoy Tod, a crispy fried pancake cooked with mussels.
Zaap, 22 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Vice & Virtue
Creativity is key here. Luke Downing has made Vice & Virtue a real foodie destination thanks to his ingenious tasting menus. You get to eat ingredients you know and love in ways you never could imagine. Take the beef rump for example, which is cooked in seaweed and comes with broad beans, pressed confit, tarragon, jus and crispy leek. The Whitby scallop is just as interesting – it’s served with strawberry, celery and wild rhubarb. They even pair each course with one of their hand-picked wines.
Vice & Virtue, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
It’s a bar, one of the best in Leeds, but the food at Bundobust certainly isn’t an afterthought. That’s why it’s a must-visit. Grab one of their brilliant brews, and order yourself an Indian street food feast. It’s 100% veggie and takes you on a trip of culinary discovery – their Bundo Chaat is a favourite, their Tarka Dhal is delicious and their Vada Pav is one of the most unusual burgers you’ll come across. Oh, and it looks cool-as-heck too, with its indoors-outdoors vibe.
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.