Beyond occasional trips to the station, the financial district of Leeds may not be that familiar to the city’s students. However, if you’re willing to venture in, you’ll find there are some friendly, affordable and distinctly up-market gems amidst the chain restaurants. Chief among them is Le Chalet, a French style tearoom offering cakes, pastries and slice of authentic French cuisine right in the heart of Leeds.
A stone’s throw from the Leeds City Museum and art gallery, Le Chalet is the perfect place to enjoy a spot of patisserie with family and friends keen to take in some the city’s cultural highlights. Likewise, Le Chalet would also be a divine place to dine with a date.
On our visit, we indulged in Le Chalet’s chicken fricassee, which was rich, creamy, and downright delicious. For vegetarians, I would recommend the Ratatouille, another classic French dish, which is full of fresh flavours. Cheese lovers can also enjoy a selection of imported French fromages, with the option of ordering them as part of a cheese board or buying a slice to take home. We recommend the Comte, Morbier and Port Salut.
No French food experience could be complete without un petit peu de patisserie. Le Chalet boasts a range of cakes and pastries, all of which are beautifully presented and prepared in their on-site bakery. If you needed another reason to return, their choice of sweet treats differs on a daily basis, so don’t miss out. All the desserts are tasty, though not overly sweet; chocolate options are rich and dreamy, while fruit options are full of fresh flavours. This is definitely a place for the Great British Bake Off fanatic in your life.
Staff at Le Chalet are friendly but not overbearing, making for a pleasant dining experience. They were extremely helpful when it came to recommending teas from their incredibly extensive menu – we counted 17 – and were on hand with advise on how to serve each particular tea, giving the experience a subtle air of sophistication. A pot of tea costs around £2.50, and comfortably serves two. Our favorite was the Indian Spiced tea – their take on the classic chai. For the wow factor, opt for the hibiscus tea, which produces a fantastic colour when brewed. All of their loose leaf teas are also available to purchase at a reasonable price, making great gifts for friends and family.
All in all, Le Chalet is an impressive but informal place to take the family, friends and loved ones that you’re looking to astonish. You will feel spoiled, though completely at home in its relaxed and friendly environment. The food is good and the teas on offer are even better. Come for a slice of cake and a pot of tea and enjoy the feeling of having your own sophisticated piece of Paris right here in Yorkshire.