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word on the str-eat

Simon Fogal takes a look at some of the new kids on the block in Leeds and the restaurants well worth a visit over the coming months.


Leeds’ influx and new found love of Indian Street Food is hotting up. South Indian and Punjabi restaurant Aarti recently made the move from Roundhay to Leeds city centre. With a fresh, new look to reflect its excellent Trip Advisor ratings, Aarti serves up a variety of delicious Indian street food during lunchtimes and evenings. They also offer takeaway, as well as vegan and gluten-free options.

Aarti’s new venue can be found opposite Malmaison hotel in Swinegate. Decked out with brand new signage and rustic benches, it’s the perfect place for a work lunch, family gathering or special event.


Famed TV chef Gino D’Acampo recently opened his new restaurant inside Leeds’ Marriott Hotel. This impressive space features a restaurant area, bar lounge, deli, terrace and fully-catered event spaces.

Not only do they serve a lavish menu of Italian dishes, but you can also enjoy the finest of afternoon teas, a two or three-course lunch, or take your pick from the ciccheti bar. With an open-plan design featuring one hundred and sixty seats, this restaurant offers a dining experience like no other. We recommend the lobster pasta or if you’re feeling very hungry, try take on the monster fried chicken, but go hungry because it’s multi gigantesco.


Founded by husband and wife team Alison and Alan Tang, Shokupan is a new Japanese-style cafe on Wellington Street and we think their amazing sandos are well worth a mention. These iconic Japanese sandwiches made with shokupan – a type of light, fluffy milk bread are to die for as are their range of delicious breakfast and lunch options including katsu sandos, tonkatsu rice and furikake fries.


Founded by chef Sam Pullan and his partner Nicole Deighton, the Empire Café on Fish Street, Leeds dates back nearly 60 years but it was only during its renovation the couple uncovered its historic signage and decided to give the cafe a new lease of life.

Previously the head chef at a gastropub in Knaresborough, Sam’s new restaurant has a rotisserie and open fire cooking and their amazing small dishes just keep getting better and better. The fresh ingredients for his daily specials come from the nearby Kirkgate Market from which he creates delicious works of art. Keep an eye out for social media discounts, such as the half-chicken, drink, and potatoes for £10 Friday lunch.


Leeds Dock feels alive once again, with the Royal Armouries, North Star, Canary Bar and now another exciting arrival on its way in the shape of Fearns, a new kitchen, bar and lounge celebrating the best of Yorkshire’s produce and due to open later in May. It’s a seven day operation too, so look foreward to Sunday Roasts brunches and lunches.

At the heart of Fearns is Head Chef, Jade Crawley, who’s renowned reputation in Yorkshire brings sustainable indulgence to seasonal menus, with creative influence from European kitchens. Formerly of Eat Your Greens and more recently Head Chef at The Tetley Bar & Kitchen, we can’t wait to see what she serves up.


One of Leeds’ hottest restaurants recently launched an exciting new menu inspired by the artist Joshua Van Leader’s work. MASK is the name of the new collection and it’s the second menu featuring his ‘Physiognomy’ illustrations that feature in the colouring book he created to raise awareness of and to support people struggling with their mental health. Impressive stuff.

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