The independent music scene has had a rough go of it over the past few years. Unfortunately, many small indies never recovered from Covid’s consequences, and now we’re facing a living crisis/electricity pricing shitstorm. It’s a tough world out there, our heart sinks at the loss of those who couldn’t make it but are hugely grateful for the food and love they provided.
The after-effects are still present, as the more recent electricity crisis may take even more great indies away, yet there are some bright spots. Many people have used the last few years to launch brand-new ventures or make long-held dreams a reality. A real accomplishment in these dark times.
Let’s toast the delicious foods and beverages that 2022 (the “year of the burger”) has made possible.
Leeds saw less pop-ups this year as businesses adpated yet again. Two people that caught our eye were Brazin’ Squad and Dijon Boys who are both are taking Meanwood by storm. Friendly rivalry from opposite sides of the B6157 with one having taken a location in Boot and Rally and the other at Number 8 cocktails. These are very much ones to watch as they batttle over best Sunday Roast, small plates and natural wine. Other amazing mentions go to Don’t Feed the Dog and the award winning Birria Bandits, again we have to watch this space 👀
Available on Deliveroo
Burgerism started out in Manchester and has recently made its way across to the correct side of The Pennines in the later part of the year. This was our favourite burger over the pennines, so we were dead excited to see them in Leeds. They use smashed two Cheshire beef patties in their burgers as standard with a brioche bun. Whether you’re having the beefed, veggies, cheesed or baconed, you’ll definitely want some skin-on fries to go with. Their almost spicy seasoning is just the right amount of salt and we highly recommend the blue cheese sauce. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
3 Bishopgate St, LS1 5DY
Meat stack is ALL about the cheeseburger. Their mission is to bring the cheeseburger back to its American roots of quality, flavour, and simplicity. They source the best beef available from rare and traditional breed cows and mix a bespoke selection of cuts into their patties. We first booked these guys for Eat North years ago then Chow Down.
After smashing them into a raging hot grill, covering in cheese, and stacking them in doubles or triples, they then steam it to melt everything together. Delicious, beef dripping fries are standard, but we can’t say no to the parmesan truffle option. Do try the filthy fries with blue cheese and buffalo sauce or the fry harder with southern-style gravy, cranberry BBQ, and crispy onions. Wash it all down with a milkshake (boozy options are available).
Unit 2, Cloth Hall Street, LS1 2HD
Honest Burgers have been around for a decade now so they’re pretty good at burgers and chips. They’re all about top-quality beef, the best potatoes and good times. Every burger comes with rosemary-salted chips (which are ridiculous) or salad and each site has a local special. At Leeds, it’s Honest beef, bacon, smoked cheddar, black garlic chipotle chutney, gluten-free beer pickled onions, lime mayo, and lettuce. Well worth a visit as they do great meat-free options too. We recommend the dipping gravy too.
78 Albion Street, LS1 6AD
A start-up that was born out of lockdown, Hooya Burgers do smashed patties, buttermilk chicken and loaded fries with vegan-friendly and halal options. We loved the Tenn-I-ssee burger – slow roasted BBQ pulled pork on top of two 4 oz handmade aged patties with American cheese, lettuce and their original red slaw in a sweet brioche bun. Sides include buttermilk tenders, chicken bites, onion rings and homemade red slaw. They also have the option to build your own burger, just the way you want it. Can I get a… Hooyah!
34 New Briggate, LS1 6NU
Kino presents the best independent food, beers and wines in the heart of Leeds’ cultural scene. Housed in a newly renovated, beautiful Grade II-listed venue, they care about sustainability. Kino runs on renewable electricity from their own solar panels and from the grid. They proudly work with Yorkshire producers and local suppliers to deliver an ever-evolving food offering. Since September, Mormor has propped up the kitchen and will remain until February 2023. For us when MorMor took over, Kino became a must-visit in Leeds with their Levantine-inspired food. Yes, we have booked them at street food events but this is next level for them. They do an early bird menu (which changes quite a lot) and they also do a small and larger plate menu.
Meanwood Tavern, 607 Meanwood Rd, LS6 4HQ
This October Whitelocks opened their new site in the suburbs. The latest edition to the independent group that also owns the Turk’s Head can be found on Meanwood Rd at the site previously home to East of Arcadia. Joined by Well Oiled, artisan pizza makers serving things up Detroit style with 48 hr fermented focaccia dough and premium toppings from local producers. Read our chat with Well oiled here. Try the Full Spec – Trealy Farm fennel salami, pickled mash, fresh oregano, hot honey, and whipped ricotta, on top of their Detroit pizza sauce and house cheese mix.
36 Wellington St, LS1 2DE
An independent social space for people to come together. This eatery, bar & roof terrace in the heart of Leeds was a hit when it opened in the summer and became one our fave outdoor spots for a drink. At present, the largest open-air roof terrace in the city centre and an absolute sun trap on a summer afternoon. Green Room is an oasis for mouth-watering and ethically sourced, all-day brunch and evening food that is suitable for vegans, veggies, and meat eaters. As fresh as it comes, all food is made from scratch and their coffee beans only travel 3 miles from the roaster to the hopper, provided by North Star Coffee.
Joe, Java, Lifeblood
It’s no secret that our office is fuelled by caffeine so we’re always happy to see the range of indie coffee spots grow across the city. The coffee scene in Leeds is banging – but that’s another article. This year we’ve seen North Star’s latest offering, the North Star Coffee Kiosk open on Sovereign St, Miles & Co. at Kirkgate Market and Black Sheep Coffee on Bond St with a second due on Briggate in 2023. All serve a wide selection of beans from Robusta to Arabica, sourced (sustainably) from growers across the world. But you don’t have to be in the city centre to get great coffee. Coffee pop up heroes Rabbit Hole opened their first shop on Stainburn Parade in Moortown this year and Humbl have moved on from an upcycled horse trailer to a crowd funded venue on Monk Bridge Rd in Meanwood.
476 Roundhay Rd, Oakwood, LS8 2HU
Slightly delayed, The Melbourne opened to the public on 23 November on Roundhay Rd. Brought to you from the team behind The Brunswick, another city centre success story has branched out to the suburbs. Taking over a former dry cleaners in the heart of Oakwood, The Melbourne name is a nod to a local brewery of old, but the future of this bar promises a fine selection of craft beer, from an assortment of Leeds favourites and guest breweries, alongside a menu of tasty treats.
Unit 12, The Twisting, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, LS28 5UJ
Opened on Bonfire Night, Test Bar is a welcome addition to the hub of food and drink offerings at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley. The owners are also the producers of John Robert’s Botanic Request Gin which has been such a success since its launch in 2021 (including the Global Gin Masters Silver Award) they needed a bigger space – so why not add a cocktail bar to showcase their innovation and creativity? If you’ve been naughty this year, but still think you deserve a boozy Christmas treat, try their ‘Naughty Kids Get Coal’ cocktail, served with a shovel of sorbet.