Leeds is a great place for a weekend visit. If you are travelling from London, it is just over two hours by train with Virgin Eastcoast, or there is a regular coach service with National Express and Megabus.
Here are three of my favourite places to check out for food in (and around) Leeds.
Tharavadu is on Mill Hill and is just five minutes walk from Leeds rail station. It serves delicious cuisine from the southern Kerala region of India. If you want to eat here in the evening, then plan to book a table ahead of time. However, for Saturday lunch, the option I chose with friends visiting from London, just turn up. The staff were friendly and attentive, and we were well looked after during our stay. Drinks were ordered and arrived swiftly, and we set about deciding what to eat from the menu. For me, Masala Dosa and Idli were a must have, and we also shared Mutta Roast, a delightful egg dish. For mains we had tried two different fish dishes (sea bass and tilapia) and a poultry dish – all were terrific taste sensations and generous portions – so alas we had no space for dessert …. although we did have a plan for tea and cakes later in the afternoon at Salt Mills. Tharavadu is a great place for lunch or dinner with family/friends and is open for lunch from 12-2pm on a Saturday.
Salt Mills is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Saltaire, a 15-minute train ride from Leeds. We travelled there to see the David Hockney exhibition currently on in Gallery Three – The Arrival of Spring. Afterwards, we took a stroll along the Leeds-Liverpool canal towards Bingley before returning to Salts Mill for afternoon tea. Now, we were a little later than anticipated returning to Salt Mills from our walk and were not sure that we would still be able to get afternoon tea and cake. However, the lady working at the information desk took us up to Salts Mill diner and checked with the manager that they were still serving. Although the staff were clearly coming to the end of the shift, after a quick check to see that the coffee machine was still switched on (it was), we were made to feel entirely welcome for our late afternoon tea and cake. When people are kind, it makes your day. Thank you. Salts Mill opening times can be found here.
Laynes Espresso has become a bit of a coffee institution in Leeds. It opened in 2011 and is located on the road up to the main entrance to the train station. It serves beautifully made, high-quality coffee, delicious cakes and has a menu that moves seamlessly from breakfast through to lunch. For my friends, it was the perfect post-Sunday brunch coffee stop and then back late afternoon for cakes to eat on the train journey home. If you are passing by Laynes Espresso on your trip to Leeds, it is well worth stopping in. The location and opening times for Laynes Espresso can be found here.