We can't go a week in Leeds without something new and exciting opening its doors. I've lost track of the number of cafes, bars and restaurants that have opened their doors in the last year, and I certainly can't keep up with visiting them all. Trying new things is often usurped by visiting old favourites, and the best of intentions to visit new places (or even old places that I haven't got around to yet - Kendells and Zucco, I'm looking at you, boos) often get scuppered. I do, however, keep track of all the places that I want to go to (read: want to eat all the things at) and I know I'll get round the them eventually! This list is actually a mixture of new places I've been to that I've not had a chance to write about before, and ones where I've heard amazing things from people in the know.
One of Leeds' oldest pubs, Whitelock's, has just transformed its old function room into Leeds' newest cocktail bar. Lord Whitney have been responsible for the makeover, so you know it's going to be good, and the list of drinks they're serving up is incredibly impressive - with craft beers and unusual spirits taking centre stage. This little gem is tucked away in the heart of the city centre, and I can't wait to visit!
Anyone who's anyone has made Headrow House their new venue of choice in the city centre, and it's easy to see why. There's pretty much something for everyone, from the delicious dishes being served up at Ox Club (read my brunch review here) to the rustic beer hall next door serving up their own brews, to the cocktail bar upstairs with a 'Club Tropicana' vibe to the uber-cool roof terrace which will no doubt be rammed as soon as the sun starts shining. Definitely one to add to your 'must-visit' list!
You may remember the pop-ups next to Sandinista last year run by these guys - Hogarth's Gin Joint and The Rum Shack. Now they've found a permanent home on Lower Briggate, and you really must pay them a visit. Their concept changes seasonally, so you don't have long left to enjoy the whisky vibe they've got going on at the moment before they switch everything up. Right now, you can settle into a booth and be served exquisite cocktails that are unlike anything else in Leeds, so you really don't want to miss this.
Chapel Allerton regulars may remember this place as 'Grinders', but they've since been taken over by new owners and given a whole new look and feel. Ally has already raved about House of Koko, and I've spotted them over on Lil's Instagram so I really must get myself down to try their interesting looking menu and browse the shelves of local produce. Plus, from the looks of it, there are Instagram opportunities for days! One for a lazy Sunday brunch sometime soon, for sure.
We went to The Cat's Pyjamas in Headingley over the Christmas break, because what better thing to spend your Christmas pennies on than curry? Right? It's a sweet little restaurant over two floors with a pared back decor that reminds me, unsurprisingly, of Bundobust, if you've been there. They've got a great range of craft beers for people who are in to such things (oh, how I wish I was!) and a menu of interesting and unusual curries. I had a prawn curry which almost blew my head off, so do watch out if you're not a fan of spice, but everything we had was delicious and I'm sure we'll be back with a group so we can mix and match some more of their curries!