In shopping centres across the land, people are accustomed to wipe-clean tables, uninspiring strip lighting and artery-clogging junk food - the only cheap option for lunch during a mammoth shopping trip. Not so in Leeds. Trinity Kitchen is a world away from your average food hall, proving that just because something has always been done one way, doesn't mean that it's the best way.
This is perhaps the coolest food hall in the world. Neon lights hang down from industrial ceilings, graffiti adorns the walls and the country's favourite street food vans are lifted in through the side of the building to provide an array of tasty treats to hungry shoppers. I was lucky enough to be invited by Emma to the sneak peek last week, where we wandered around this absolutely incredible space, mouths open with awe. It's totally hipster and very, very Leeds. There are even hashtags written on the wall.
For me, the best part of Trinity Kitchen is the ever-revolving set of street food vans which make up a large part of the food court. A new selection will be available each month, providing endless variety for your lunching needs. At the moment there's everything from the award-winning Manjit's Kitchen to the Marvellous Tea Room, which stock the best brownies I have ever tasted in my life. But who knows what will be lifted in next? It's a simple idea, but really quite genius. The problem with street food vans combined with British weather means that for a lot of the year, those tasty morsels seem a whole lot less appetising when compared to a meal eaten inside out of the rain. Which isn't good for purveyor or customer, really. Popping them all inside fixes all the problems without compromising on the joy of receiving a piping hot carton of mouth-watering food from the side of a van and feeling smug knowing exactly where you can get the best [insert foodstuff here] in Leeds.
As well as the street food vans, there are a bunch of permanent restaurants to cater for your every whim. From Vietnamese food to charcuterie platters, succulent ribs to stuffed tortillas, there's not a KFC or MacDonald's in sight. You could eat here every week and never be sick of the stuff on offer.
Overwhelmed by choice, we sat down to eat at Pho and with a bucket of noodle soup in front of me, my cooing and "wow"-ing finally went silent as I got stuck in to some of the best noodles I've ever tasted. I opted for the noodle soup with steak and garlic; every bite was a revelation, with perfectly cooked steak, soft noodles and a vat of soup that even the hungriest punter couldn't have finished. A nice little touch was the herbs, spices and chillies served on the side, allowing you to personalise your meal to your own tastes. Be careful of the chilli - that stuff will burn! Emma was similarly pleased with her salad, whilst the true triumph of the meal were the juicy pork spring rolls that she'd also ordered. Absolutely perfectly cooked and ever so more-ish.
I cannot sing the praises of Trinity Kitchen enough. Only time will tell if it fits seamlessly into the city of Leeds, but the prognosis is good - in my humble opinion, at least.
I feel like someone had crawled into my mind and plucked out the exact food hall that would make me ...