Tag Archives: charcuterie

Friends of Ham, Leeds

Ah, I love Friends of Ham and I know I’m one of MANY! A lot’s been said about the place since opening in a once less favourable part of town. But with FoH and the irrepressible Laynes Espresso, it’s taken time, but this end of the city centre has become an area where independents want to set up shop, just look at Bundobust and Tharavadu around the corner! The place was always too popular for its square footage, so I whooped with joy (along with many others I suspect) when they knocked down the wall to next doors Cash Store and opened a few weeks later, looking absolutely stunning!

I’m ashamed to say my last visit was almost six months ago though, August if memory serves me right, a few months before the renovations. A mate and I popped in for lunch, got greedy, ordered three dishes – one of their sharing boards, bruschetta and a salad. A couple of hours later of grazing on wonderful produce and equally good beverages we left completely spent! But since admiring them from street level on a regular basis, usually when dropping into Laynes, I’d hadn’t managed to pop in.

For a catch up with a friend last Wednesday, I suggested starting off in FoH, then I wanted to try out Cafe Moors new takeaway Caravanserai. You know what they say about all the best laid plans….we soon became seduced by our surroundings – all that meat and cheese, oh my! By 7pm it’d become pretty full, as I can imagine it does most evenings it’s that popular, so we took up a couple of free seats at the Ham Bar. It was such a good move!!

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It’s well known that FoH’s drinks list holds it own against their carefully sourced food menu, so I mustn’t forget to mention their wine. I’m no wine connoisseur, but our Pinot Noir definitely helped reaffirm my new found love of the grape variety, after having some duds in the past, not from FoH I may add though (£19)!

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As I mentioned earlier, the plan was to have a drink, possibly a snack, then move on for a feed. But their menu is so enticing, it’s too tempting to have a nosey and before you know it you set your sights on something; in my case the Nduja which I adore, and my friend the bruschetta. 

It’s pretty difficult to talk about food sometimes, because when an experience is so good I just want to eat it all over again rather than write about it! Being a visual person, photos always make me reminisce, bringing back those same feelings and sensations. Quick to give my friend a heads up of the portion sizes, especially after I’d overfaced myself in the past, it was her turn to see what I meant when our order was brought over. The bruschetta (£7) was huge with bread generously draped in glorious Jabugo Iberico ham, thinly sliced and topped with olive tapenade and cherry tomatoes.

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If that wasn’t good enough, then next up was the Nduja (£6.50). I’m a massive fan of this spicy Calabrian sausage,  served on warm lightly toasted bread, it was a real shame to share it, because secretly I wanted it all for myself!! Without a doubt it won a new admirer in my friend; there was first lust after telling her it was a spreadable sausage, which almost immediately turned into love after the first bite. 

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Apart from the food and drink (which is a given), one of the things I really love about FoH has to be the staff. They’re obviously busy doing their job, but also more than happy to chat about their work and the produce whilst we sat there. It made us both a little, no I tell a lie, very jealous, to the point where we half joked about jacking in teaching to work behind the counter, but I suppose for now living vicariously through them would have to suffice. Another plus point of our advantageous position being sat at the bar – every now and again we were given the odd little taster – firstly spicy chorizo, then a Lancashire and finally a Comte cheese, simply the best seat in the house!!

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In the background wafts of smells from melting cheese came over us and I looked across to see Raclette being prepared…..ok, thoughts of going to Caravanserai were now put on the back burner, as we both knew we had to stay for Raclette!! I was transfixed watching LOTS of melted Ogleshield being scraped off onto potatoes and topped with cornichons, the added extra of meat was also too much to bare and slices of Serrano ham was the result (£10, £6.50 without meat).

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A few people had ordered it before us, but the wait was completely and utterly worth it!!! Such a WINNER of a dish, definitely a comfort food dish which for me is best when shared. Washed down with a sneaky carafe of the same Pinot Noir we’d been enjoying all evening.

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So there you have it – I ADORE Friends of Ham, it ticks all the boxes for me. I really need to get my act together and not leave my next visit so long, hopefully I’ll see you in there? I’ll be sat at the Ham bar. 

Friends of Ham

4 New Station St
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS1 5DL
0113 242 0275

Friends of Ham on Urbanspoon

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Meat Board night @ Outlaws Yacht Club, Leeds

Outlaws Yacht Club is a popular haunt in Leeds City Centre, which has very recently found fame from a mention in The Guardian’s article on the Top 10 Best Budget Eats in Leeds

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They launched their Meat/Cheese Boards a while ago and I for one love a bit of meat, no pun intended! Every Tuesday they offer a Meat/Cheese Board & bottle of House wine for £15 all day, it sounded like a bargain. Being a huge fan of charcuterie that The Reliance and Friends of Ham serve, I wanted to find out if Outlaws would also hit the mark or not, especially as the former have set such high standards in Leeds.

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Armed with an appetite for both meat and wine I turned up with my friend Alice last Tuesday. Going for a Luis Felipe Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon (£13.90) – it was a decent bottle of plonk and not too robust to overpower the charcuterie we’d get on our platter. Served at the right temperature too so quaffable from the get go!

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The list of meats to be served on the platter were as follows: Fiocco, Lonzino, Chorizo and Bresaolo, so when our platter was brought over packed with meaty goodness I was relishing the idea of a meaty platter to share. But on first appearance, neither of us were completely sure if the description matched what was in front of us. Salami and Chorizo were definitely present, but there was no evidence of Bresaolo and I’m not sure which was Fiocco or Lonzino!

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The Sourdough bread was good – it came sliced, warm and very lightly toasted which I didn’t mind, but I think I’d have preferred a warm loaf to slice myself, or it un-toasted altogether.

In terms of the meat, I liked the chorizo but found it underwhelming and could have done with more paprika smokiness and heat. Salami is always a winner, but the other two (whatever they were) were pleasant enough, but I personally prefer charcuterie with more flavour. Lots of fat too, so it may not have been to everyone’s liking. I liked the additional condiments, in particular the chutney but there needed to be much more of it. For two to share there’s not enough and the proportions are a little misjudged I think.  Saying that they did offer us more bread which we took them up on, we also got a little more chutney too.

Food: the platter is quite tasty. Proportions need to better judged and I’d probably prefer to be able to choose my own selection. Also if they serve meats not described on the menu this should be pointed out at the start.

Atmosphere: with a  good atmosphere, it’s a very easy place to relax for a few after-work drinks and some food.

Service: the staff are friendly and immediately make you feel at home.

Overall, for £15 the price is reasonable, especially considering the wine alone is nearly the same price. Even with a few little niggles I’d recommend Outlaws.

Outlaws Yacht Club
38 New York St
Leeds
West Yorkshire
LS2 7DY
0113 234 6998

A Carnivore’s delight @ Friends of Ham!!

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.

Cool signage!!!
Cool signage!!!

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.

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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.

Downstairs with the shuffle board game for entertainment
Downstairs with the shuffle board game for entertainment

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.

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Borsao Rosado with fab wine cooler

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!

Leeds charcuterie board - Coppa, Fennel Salami, Chilli and Black Pepper Salami with bread and cornichons
Leeds charcuterie board – Coppa, Fennel Salami, Chilli and Black Pepper Salami with bread and cornichons
Jabugo Ibérico - Spanish Pata Negra ham
Jabugo Ibérico
– Spanish Pata Negra ham

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