Just a stone’s throw away from Millennium Square, Nation of Shopkeepers could easily be any student’s den of choice. The décor is impressive – a huge bar sprawls half the length of the venue – with quirky, pretentious artwork, vintage furniture and cosy armchairs. Nation of Shopkeepers has an undeniably artsy atmosphere but this won’t stop you from feeling welcome and comfortable on arrival. With a huge selection of beers and good quality food, it’s not difficult to see why it has become a favourite haunt among many students in Leeds.
Nevertheless, sat in Nation of Shopkeepers one January afternoon, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt as my friends studied the menu; the burgers that I insisted (and still do) are the best in Leeds were one of the more expensive items on offer. The menu is a comprehensive list of homemade comfort food including macaroni cheese, platters, nachos, Sunday roasts and vegetarian salads at fairly reasonable prices. However, a gourmet burger can set you back between £6.75 to £9.75… but is there anyone that can resist the sound of ‘a glazed bun with tomato, red onion, char-grilled beef, chorizo and halloumi’?
Our food arrived in good time and we were spoilt for choice by the selection of condiments (who knew there 3 different types of tabasco?) and we were all impressed by the generous portions. The waitress who attended to us was quiet but friendly and very efficient in her service. The burgers were clearly prepared with quality ingredients and the double-cooked chips were to die for. The goat’s cheese and caramelised onion chutney burger that I opted for was succulent and quietly delicious whilst my boyfriend’s smoked bacon, Emmental, mushroom and onion ring burger was full of strong flavours, suitably meaty and equally filling.
If you were to have room for dessert, I can highly recommend the chocolate brownie sundae which conjures fond memories of childhood yet with a sophisticated twist; the rich ice cream is made using vanilla pods and you are treated to a sprinkling of tiny marshmallows.
My only criticism would have to be the price of the drinks. At £3.50 for a spirit and mixer and £3 for a pint, the drinks are not exactly budget friendly. However, for the relaxed atmosphere and stylish décor, it’s easily justifiable. Additionally, my friend’s English Breakfast tea was served in a charming cup and saucer which I thought was a nice touch; a proper brew just doesn’t taste the same in generic white mugs.
All in all, Nation of Shopkeepers is a terrific place to come and relax with friends for a celebratory meal after submitting a stressful assignment or simply for a bit of self-indulgence; especially on a Tuesday when burgers are 2 for 1.
Words: Emily Watts