As the city salivates ahead of the lockdown lift, a hearty helping of new ventures are gearing up to kick-start a summer of hospitality like no other. Here are the city’s latest additions waiting on the green light.
Hot on the heels of its two Bradford branches, the Syrian street food-style restaurant has launched yet another outpost opposite the Oakwood Clock on Roundhay Road. The new restaurant is currently open for collection only, but the kitchen is sharpening its skewers as it prepares to welcome diners for authentic Middle Eastern feasts of hot and cold Mezze and grilled meats.
Named after one of the seven gates encircling the world’s oldest city of Damascus, the brand hopes to be a gateway to the country’s rich culinary heritage, its open-plan kitchen evoking the theatrics of its lively food markets.
Ethiopian Organic Coffee
The birthplace of the bean, Ethopia’s mountainous terroir is renowned for producing floral coffee with tea-like delicacy, specialty Yirgacheffe lots snapping up the highest cup scores in the world. On a mission to make their coffee heritage accessible and affordable, owners Terefe Tadesse Teklemariam and Denenesh Gossaye Rufa have launched a coffee shop at Cypress Point in the old Jewish Leylands district.
Directly importing their specialty medium roast blend, they have been offering takeaway fare since February and are now preparing to open their doors to those in search of traditional coffee ceremonies, sandwiches and homemade cakes.
The Cut & Craft Leeds
Big cheese hospitality entrepreneurs Oscar Akgul and Osman Dogan are dropping a cool £1 million into bringing their popular York steakhouse brand to Victoria Quarter. Transforming two retailers into a sprawling 6,000 sq ft luxe restaurant with the addition of a mezzanine floor and private dining space, the duo is set to make a statement, and that’s before employing a 60-strong team to provide a tailored experience, from private entry and wine sourcing to photography and flowers.
The investment comes off the back of a £600,000 renovation of their Harrogate al fresco Italian joint, Lucia, to be unveiled post-lockdown.
After smashing the TripAdvisor rankings, beating over 1,100 restaurants to the title of Leeds’ best restaurant for three years running, The Falafel Guys are slinging their own brand of ‘smash burgers’ out of one of Leeds’ most popular bars, Distrikt. The burger fad is so named after a super-thin patty grilled in rough-and-ready style, so expect your burger stacked and accompanied by shovelfuls of fully-loaded fries.
The founding brothers Abdalla and Ahmed Ramzy haven’t forgotten what made them, paying homage to their humble chickpea roots with a signature falafel burger – stuffed with homemade onion rings, jalapenos, onions, American cheese, need we go on? Already weighing down the backpacks of Deliveroo drivers across the city, and ready and waiting for when club restrictions lift.
The Green Room
Having worked the club scene, fresh-faced entrepreneurs Will Habergham and PJ Gardner are aiming high with their hipster rooftop restaurant on Wellington Street. Will returned from an antipodean adventure wide-eyed with a vision of bringing Kiwi all-night coffee culture to Leeds. Result: a mixed-use venue next to the new Channel 4 base, where nature meets industrial, transforming from coffee shop by day to cocktail bar by night, with plans for hosting markets in the pipeline.
Sustainability is a biggie and the menu is upfront about its plant-based focus as the pair hope to recalibrate sceptics’ palates. With a south-facing terrace spanning a socially-distanced dream of 1,500 sq ft, alfresco dining, summer barbecues, and (dare we say it?) parties are well and truly back on the cards.