Leeds lunch spots?

Being on summer holidays I’ve enjoyed catching up with mates and going on lunch dates, who wouldn’t eh? Us Leeds folk are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to great lunch options, but the last few weeks I’ve been to a few spots both new and not so new. Here’s a round-up:

1. Veeno, new to Leeds, this Italian cafe bar opened a few weeks ago. Originally from Manchester, they’ve opened on Duncan Street and could easily be missed, we nearly walked straight passed ourselves, but were lured closer when a tray of tasters caught my eye!

They have a cheeky lunch offering of a piadine or panini with a soft drink or glass of house wine, for just £4.90. Being in a wine bar, it would’ve been rude not to have a glass of wine with our food, choosing their house red. Served at room temperature it was full of fruit, whilst also being very quaffable. 

From the menu I picked the Rimini piadine, whilst my partner in crime chose the Milano panini, being a big bresaola fan. They took a little while to arrive to our table, but were served piping hot. My piadine made with a good Italian flat bread was filled with a salty Parma ham and Primosale cheese, an Italian sheep milk cheese which melted well. It was enjoyable, but did get very intense with the salty ham. Comments from the opposite side of the table were favourable – decent foccacia bread, a generous amount of well flavoured beef and a good slice of Parmigiano providing the seasoning.

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2. Rolands on Call Lane. This bar opened a few months ago and recently introduced the Pizza Fritta to Leeds, something I’d seen in a Jamie Oliver cookbook, but not sold in Leeds I reckon. Have you seen or tried one before? Their Pizza Fritta are advertised as ‘fresh dough bases, lightly fried, topped with an original recipe tomato sauce, smoked scamorza cheese and fresh herbs’. Sounded great to me and with added pancetta, even better! Cooked to order, the base was crisp, not greasy as might be anticipated considering it is fried. The topping is kept uncomplicated, but has plenty of flavour and isn’t scrimped on. Aimed as a decent snack rather than a sizeable lunch, we really enjoyed it. Very tasty and moreish, I could’ve eaten another quite easily! A lunchtime snack and a leisurely drink (selected drinks) for £5, great on the pocket too!

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3. Friends of Ham, anyone who’s anyone has heard of and loved this place, even non-meat eaters love it too. Don’t believe me? Have a read of Lisa Farrell’s review on her wonderful blog Where’s Lisa to find out for yourself. 

These guys brought out a lunch menu a few months ago, but this was my first chance to try it out. As well as their usual menu which has all their regular delights of  meat, cheese and snacks, the lunch menu has a selection of dishes priced at £4.50 – £7, (bread – £1.50, side salad £2.50). I’d gone with a mate who’d happily admit he loves food and I think we got a bit giddy and overordered. Choosing a Best of British Meat Plate (£13), Jabugo bruschetta (£7) and Beetroot, goats cheese and watercress salad (£5.50), what do you reckon?!

Both lunch menu dishes were delicious and had great quality produce on show. A crumbly, subtle cheese and earthy beetroot on one side then rich Jabugo Iberian ham on the other. The meat platter was generous in size, especially in combination with the other dishes. With three types of meat we had plenty to go at – smoked mutton, chilli & black pepper salami and Bath chaps. Flavour wise all were pretty tasty, but I preferred the chilli & black pepper salami out of the three, just because I like the spice and heat. All washed down with a couple of ciders, we were well and truly stuffed to the bursting! On this occasion we spent more than we should have, basically down to greediness, but isn’t hindsight such a wonderful thing?!

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Have you got any good recommendations for a decent lunch, Leeds city centre or the suburbs? I’d love to know your thoughts.

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