Leeds is a city that caters to all tastes. Literally. Whatever your appetite, whatever your budget, the labyrinth of backstreet cafes, big name bistros, and bizarre bars will provide. But univesity isn’t all about splashing the cash, so here’s a list of Leeds’ finest eateries, and some simple, homely recipes to save some dough.
- Sweet Potato and Chickpea Tagine
This stew-like casserole is simple, versatile and great for making in big quantities to cover several meals – in fact I’d say it’s even more delicious the next day.
Place 1 tbsp of olive oil, a chopped onion and carrot in a pan and fry until soft. Add 1 tsp each of cinnamon, cumin and coriander (plus paprika for an extra kick) along with 2 crushed garlic cloves. Add 300g of diced sweet potatoes (or butternut squash if you prefer) followed by a can of drained chickpeas and chopped tomatoes. Pour in 100ml of vegetable stock and bring the stew to the boil before turning down to a gentle simmer. Cover and leave it for around 45 minutes until a thick sauce has formed, adding more stock if necessary. Season with salt and pepper once the dish has cooled slightly and serve with pitta or chunky slices of bread.
- Roasted Vegetables
Oven-roasting gives vegetables a lovely caramelized flavour even without adding seasoning. These are just as good cold and any leftovers make a great wrap filling.
Place an assortment of chopped veg (any from peppers, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, carrots, courgettes) on a baking tray, drizzle in olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 35-45 minutes at 180 degrees or until the vegetables are soft and have started to brown at the edges. If you fancy an extra burst of flavour, add a splash of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar once they’re out of the oven. Serve on top of rice or cous cous and for meat lovers: the addition of chicken pieces or meatballs work well.
- Parents visit – Fazendas, Granary Wharf
This tip comes courtesy of my house mate, who literally screamed the name of this traditional Gaucho restaurant before I’d finished asking the question. I have to say, I’ve never been – but after about ten seconds on their website I’d already booked a table for when my parents next come to visit.
- Lunchtime on campus – Bakery 164, 164 Woodhouse Lane
Situated just opposite the Parkinson building, this family-run bakery is the stuff of lunchtime legend. Freshly baked ciabatta and focaccia, mouth-watering cakes and the only place to find decent, inexpensive coffee.
- Sunday roast – The Cow and Calf, Ilkley
If you fancy a Sunday out, you can’t beat a trip to Ilkley. Eating at the Cow and Calf is mandatory; wandering the moors looking for Heathcliff is optional.
- Indian – The Cat’s PJs, Headingley
Great name, great service, great atmosphere, great food. Enough said. Well not quite – the Cat’s PJs is actually run by the youngest Indian chef to ever receive a Michelen star.
- Overall good egg – Akmals
I guarantee you will not finish your time at Leeds without at least one night getting hot and spicy with Mr Akmal. Though the walk across Hyde Park may make you think you’re in a horror movie, inside you’ll find the only silenced lambs are those simmering in your Rogan Josh. Akmals also has a BYOB policy, plus is perfect for club and society socials, big birthday dinners, or just a plain old curry night with friends.
Rose Collard and Grace Ellerby