This week I headed down to Fettle – a new laid-back café tucked five minutes walk away from the south side of campus. It occupies a brilliant light space (with plans to develop the large garden at the back in time for summer sunshine) at the end of Great George Street: quietly unassuming, there is no name on the exterior, we were drawn in by the modern but cosy interiors, and the visually pleasing brass light fixtures.
My friend and I were instantly charmed by owners Simon and Kamil, who are clearly both so passionate and wholeheartedly invested in what they do. They told us the aims of Fettle are simply to provide great quality food and a comfortable atmosphere for people to chat and enjoy breakfast or lunch. Not only do they run, cook, source and serve everything themselves, they built and furnished the interior of Fettle as it looks now in just three weeks. The result is a space that maintains that comforting café feel with just a touch of Scandinavian modernity.
Kamil told us Fettle pride themselves on having straightforward menus that combine elements of seasonal produce, and so change regularly to incorporate new ideas, maintaining their focus on freshness. There is so much on offer here, brunch stalwarts of halloumi and eggs, veg-packed salads, even a lasagne and a chicken stew for the still slightly iffy March evenings.
We sampled the Spiced Carrot and Bean soup (with a generous chunk of seeded sourdough, sourced from the Leeds Bread Co-op) and the Smashed Avocado and Poached Egg on toast. It arrived as I would like to see avocado – that is, brimming and smothering all evidence of the bread beneath, also coming mixed with salad leaves and the atop was the most perfectly cooked poached egg. Next came Chorizo Hash with tomato salsa: gorgeous roasted peppers with generous amounts of chorizo, and a silky delicious hollandaise over eggs and ham and toasted sourdough (Simon and I both agreed a far superior choice to the traditional English muffin!)
Despite not being avid coffee drinkers themselves the coffee – from a roasters outside Bradford – is smooth and delicate – we also tried the Chai Latte, which was a beautiful natural testing blend. Best consumed with one of Simon’s homemade chunky peanut butter cookies, which are gluten free.
You might be forgiven for thinking Fettle is a word of Scandi origin (maybe…), but Simon tells us it in fact hails from the phrase ‘in fine fettle’: traditionally denoting good form, wholeness and health. This conjures exactly the simplicity and modesty of the Fettle vibe, and reflects the lasting impression of their excellent food. I was overwhelmed by the pairs’ generosity and vivacious attitude towards creating the ideal café experience that I can’t wait to go back.
Fettle have worked hard at making this the perfect space for all – whether you’re a weekend brunch-er, a devotee of local produce, student, family or egg fanatic alike. If you’re after a relaxed, out of the way bolthole, this is your perfect solution.
And trust me, try the cookies.
Fettle, 73 Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3BR
(Image: Lara Groves)