One of the pleasures of life for Cath Kane and Thomas Chalk is eating out; a pleasure they have dearly missed during lockdown.
We have missed enjoying tasty food at our favourite Leeds eateries, and the whole dining experience that comes along with it, including the excitement of walking into a place we know well, chatting to the servers and smelling wonderful aromas amidst the background hum of fellow diners.
At the start of lockdown everything immediately shut, but gradually some places re-opened, although of course for collection and/or delivery only. I’ve reduced social media usage these past few months for my sanity, but one thing I have done is keep an eye out for my favourite food places re-opening in some sort of capacity. It gave us a slight sense of normality reading that places were back for business. Here’s are a few that we have enjoyed food from once more over these past few weeks.
Banh & Mee
During lockdown, a number of the hot food stalls in Kirkgate Markets formed a collective, to share ideas and plan how they could re-open again in a safe and cost effective manner. In early June, they trialled running a limited Saturday pre-order and collect service. The high cost of offering food deliveries was not a realistic option for these traders.
Banh & Mee’s Vietnamese food has been one of my favourites these past few years, working across the road being an advantage, so we ordered one of their loaded boxes for two. The options were simple: either a meat or vegan box. As Thomas is vegetarian we went for the vegan offer as even Thomas would have struggled to eat a box to himself. I wasn’t disappointed! There were Bao Buns, Spicy Tofu Fries, Spring Rolls, Summer Rolls, Aubergine & Tofu Noodle Salad, Rice and Dips. Everything was as fresh and tasty as I’d remembered.
Banh & Mee, as well as other hot food stalls on the markets, are now running a normal menu and opening service (11am-5pm Monday -Saturday), for takeaways only of course. For a full update on which traders are open check out Leeds Kirkgate’s website https://www.leeds.gov.uk/leedsmarkets/kirkgate-market-traders-list’
Banh & MeeCafe G, Market Kitchen Leeds Kirkgate Market LS2 7HY
The experience of dining at Bundobust is part of the journey. I’ve introduced many a visiting friend to this popular Indian street food institution over the past five years of living in Leeds. Its laid-back, no-frills and friendly vibe complements the incredible flavours and spices on offer.
Despite not having the same dining experience, we were very excited when it reopened a few weeks back, so much so that we ordered two Friday nights on the run! My favourites, the Paneer & Mushroom Kebab and Bundo Chaat (smashed Samosa & Chickpea Salad with Tamarind and Yoghurt) were still spot on.
Bundobust 6 Mill Hill LS1 5DQ Leeds City Centre
http://bundobust.com/Open for collection or DeliverooWeds – Sun 4pm-9pm
Thomas has been visiting this legendary Burley Road Indian restaurant for almost 20 years, since he moved to Leeds. This is one of the latest places to re-open on the 2nd July, for collection only at the moment.
We did a drive by on Friday evening, then I sat in the car whilst Thomas popped in to collect our pre-order. He managed a quick chat with owners Kate and Karim, who discussed how they’ve been mulling over getting the balance right of opening their business whilst protecting their staff, some of whom are like family, having worked with the family run business for so many years, and doing their part to minimise the spread of the coronavirus. For now they have decided to open as a takeaway only.
Our food was still nice and warm once we arrived home, and we really enjoyed a tasty meal of Dahl & Spinach Korma, Potato Madras, Chaat Salad, Aubergine & Kablichana (Chickpea) Pilau and Peshwari Naan. We are hoping that their homemade Kulfi Ice-cream is back on the menu soon (hint hint Kate!)
Corner Cafe104, Burley RoadLS3 1JP
Current opening times: Thursday – Sunday 4pm to 8pm. Pre-orders only via their website; minimum 24 hours needed.
Support Your Locals
Ironically, it’s the 4th July as I conclude writing my review of restaurants doing delivery and collection, the date when food and drink businesses in England are allowed to re-open to serve customers face-to-face once more.
We all know that it will be some time until the industry is back to normal, if it ever is. Over the next few months, our local independent food and drink businesses need us more than ever to help them survive these uncertain times. So please, please, do want you can to support them.
*All opening times above are subject to change. Check businesses’ websites to keep up to date on changes.
All photographs by Cath Kane.