Belgrave Music Hall is certainly one of the best things to come to Leeds in the last year. With its eclectic live music selection, slightly overpriced yet insufferably trendy craft beers and a beer garden – for all those warm, dry Leeds days – it’s truly great. It’s the perfect place to impress visitors and cement the idea that yes, Leeds is cooler than anywhere else you could possibly drink IPA and eat pizza.
Something the Belgrave Music Hall have started introducing is the Street Feast. Every second saturday of the month, the venue opens its doors to local street food vendors of all varieties, and encourages an atmosphere of gluttony and meat sweats. It offers free entry, reasonably priced food and somewhat limited sitting room. The stalls are constantly changing, but this occasion saw food from Fu Schnickens – recent winner of the British Street Food awards – Fish&, Laynes Espresso, Holy Pierogi, Dim Sum Su, Noisette Bakery and a few more. There were lobster rolls, nectarine cake, rosemary battered bacon bits and steamed buns – a diverse and delicious selection of Leeds’ finest street food.
The day feast, whilst offering all the meat one could desire, really lacked a suitable option for vegetarians. Now, don’t get me wrong, some stalls did have vegetarian options such as falafel, but these almost entirely ran out by early afternoon. Also, falafel is basically always the vegetarian option, and while delicious, is pretty conventional for a food festival that should offer a wider selection. As an evil animal consumer, my options felt wide yet for my vegetarian friend, not being able to try the Fu Schnickens because they had removed their vegetarian option was pretty frustrating.
High recommendation go to, irrespective, Fu Schnickens. Each steamed bun is hand crafted in front of you and has an imaginative and perfectly complimentary selection of items – glazed pork with pickled carrot, palm sugar and peanuts, for example. Sweet, complex flavours, and small enough to eat about five in one go. Noisette Bakery nailed the baked goods market, so successfully that they actually managed to make vegan cashew cake taste pretty good. They had an incredible nectarine angel food cake, which if GBBO has taught me anything, is exceptionally hard to bake. All I can say is that it was soft vanilla-y deliciousness and I would like to put it in and around my face more often.
Belgrave have assured me that they will widen their selection of vegetarian options for the next feast, which is both essential and also economically tactical in a place as hipster as Leeds. Providing they do this, and add a few chairs, the street feast is a great place to eat away your woes. Unless your woes are obesity related.