Where to start with LS6? Leeds students are well and truly blessed when it comes to this marvellous little cafe. Residing in Hyde Park Corner it is but a stone’s throw from most of our houses and just 10 minutes from campus; convenient is an understatement. But even LS6 was hidden deep within the Yorkshire Dales, only accessible by foot over miles and miles of uninhibited hillside, it would still be more than worth the journey.
The bar alone is an exceptional treat. A wealth of different spirits adorning the back bar is testament to the variety on offer: they have everything from Auchentoshan to Zubrówka. The wall of bottles is not just a practical collection; within LS6’s haphazard junk shop decor they appear like works of art, displayed like trophies. A wonderful touch is the re-purposing of these bottles into the wax- covered candle holders that adorn every surface: what Miss Havisham’s rooms would have looked like if she’d developed a penchant for Hendrick’s gin and Havana Club. The ramshackle collection of antiques and barely-qualify-as-antiques-it’s-just- some-crap is exciting and personal. The place seems like the living room of your very cool auntie who spent the 90s rummaging through the skips behind art galleries; “having character” doesn’t come close to the cosy idiosyncrasy of LS6.
So now to the food. The food is very very good. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, you could, and should, justifiably eat at LS6 for every meal. Their standard menu is impressive enough, let alone the ever-changing seasonal specials. The portions are large and the prices reasonable, you certainly won’t feel short changed. If you do anything with your time in Leeds, you need to try their meat and cheese tasting platter.The Demarera Rosemary Chorizo is one of the best things we have ever tasted. We had this alongside the smoke salmon carpaccio, which while delicate and delicious, struggled to impress next to the bold and varied flavours of the meat and cheese platter. A main course of lemon chicken and pesto linguine was a little disappointing, the flavours conservative with delicacy and quality seemingly sacrificed for quantity; the portion was huge.
And then there was the steak. An 8oz ribeye served with homemade fries, roast tomato and garlic butter. I eat my steak blue, just seared on the outside and very bloody. Invariably when I ask for this in restaurants I get medium-rare at best, but here it was spot on. At big impressive flavours, LS6 has it absolutely nailed.
When it comes to breakfasts LS6 occupy and even more unique position. In the cold light of a hungover morning, LS6 offers a soothing culinary balm to the worst of gin-fuelled headaches. Before you’ve sat down, before you’ve taken your coat off and started staring with groggy eyes at the breakfast menu, order the Zinger: a tall, chilled glass of mint, apple, and lime refreshment that is almost certainly guaranteed to restore you to life. For the less juice-inclined, there’s the usual array of coffees,although these are perfunctory rather than outstanding.
The greasy-spoon fry up, an essential staple of any weekend morning, makes a welcome appearance on the menu, delivering in quality what Popina’s delivers quantity. The pork is well-represented: a small disc of fine black pudding, a couple of crisp bacon rashers accompanied two slightly dry (but nonetheless flavoursome) sausages; all from good, Yorkshire- reared swine. The strongest recommendation must go to the Eggs Florry, their velvety whites and thick orange yolks enrobed with a Hollandaise sauce just the right side of tart and complemented well by verdant spinach, garlic mushrooms and hearty bread. LS6 may be on the more extravagant end of the student budget but there’s an enjoyable finesse on show for an oft-neglected meal on restaurant menus. Have one fewer round next Friday night and try it in the morning.
Jennie Prichard and Max Bruges