Been looking forward to a friday night catch up with the best mate…Karaoke and yummy food is always a good mix!!! Friends of Ham was on the agenda and can be found on Station Road, near another Leeds favourite Layne’s Espresso. I love the signage that hangs outside and it speaks for itself I think.
This place has become deservedly very popular with city workers, dwellers and foodies, I was hoping it wasn’t too busy when we arrived. Their philosophy is to serve great craft beers and wines with top quality charcuterie, the great thing about the people here is everything on their menu has been selected on purpose because of the quality and flavour of the produce. What’s also really good is they regularly change the products on offer and are also on the look out for trying new things.
Their menu is broken down into charcuterie, which include the fabulous Iberica Bellota, considered the finest of Iberico hams, Tuscan salamis and Salchichón De Vic, salami-style pork sausage from Catalunya. Cheeses to suit non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike with delights such as Yellison Goat’s cheese from Skipton, N Yorks and a Cornish Yarg, Wild Garlic Leaf or Nettles, a moist cheese from the Duchy of Cornwall’s estate. For snacks they offer olives, pickled chills and snacking salami to name just a few. They also have specials, e.g. the Spanish board and sherry flights too for those who fancy a little tipple to go with their Iberico ham.
We managed to sit downstairs which is a quirky mix of comfy sofas, long wooden chunky tables, stools, benches and farmhouse-style dining chairs. I didn’t want us to lose our seats so I used their free Wifi to peruse their menu online.
We eyed up the Leeds Charcuterie board, with extra Jabugo Ibérico (Spanish pata negra) and their wine special Borsao Rosado, a fruity rose from Campo de Borja in Spain. Not normally a rose drinker but I thought with the hams ranging from mild to more robust in flavour this would do nicely.
It didn’t take long for the platters of meat to arrive, oh my to a carnivore they looked beautiful!!! Love it when the ham is sliced thinly and layed out so it can be admired in all of its glory, waiting to be devoured!! Our man explained the order of the hams on the boards and we got started!
The Chilli and Black Pepper salami was first, it tasted fab and I loved the peppery heat! Next was a very delicate Fennel Salami with a nice hint of fennel, and finally the Coppa had a lovely mild meaty flavour. Nothing against these 3 yummy delights but our last treat was our favourite, the Jabugo Ibérico, I had to order this extra to the charcuterie board after falling in love with it on a recent visit to Portugal. It comes from Black Iberian pigs where they roam outside, eating acorns. The flavour was amazing, bursting with its natural oils and melt in the mouth layers of fat. We both were trying not to eat really quickly and look like we were scavengers it was so tasty!! Perfectly sliced too which is an absolute must!! The accompaniment of bread and cornichons were good, in particular the cornichons were lovely, slightly crunchy and with just the right acidity.
In matters other than the food there’s always a great atmosphere here. Even on a Friday evening it’s not too loud, so you can put the world to rights if you choose too. The total bill was £33 for 2 people! A great price for high quality produce in a little gem of a place. If you haven’t been yet you’re really missing out!!
I’d give it a 9/10 on all fronts.4 New Station Street Leeds LS1 5DL 0113 242 0275 www.friendsofham.com