Yesterday I went to the Belgrave’s monthly feast – one of my favourite things to do in Leeds.
The Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen is located on Cross Belgrave Street, near Sandinista and across the road from Mojo. (Road names mean nothing to me – I have to describe locations based on bars and restaurants.) Apparently, the building used to be a recreation hall and nursery school, but I only know that from just looking it up now!
Belgrave has three floors. The first is where the bar and amazing food is (more on that in a minute); the second is their event space, but I’ve only actually been in there once on an evening; and at the very top is their amazing roof terrace. When it’s not raining (which doesn’t happen often, I know) this is one of my favourite places to enjoy a drink in Leeds. There’s fake grass, deck chairs, funky huts and great views of the city. (The only downside to the roof terrace is that you have to climb a bjillion stairs in the dark – hard for me to do at the best of times since I’m so clumsy, never mind after a few drinks.)
I always try and bring friends from outside of Yorkshire to the roof terrace at Belgrave, and they always love it. Yesterday wasn’t a day for sitting outside unfortunately though, so I’ll save gushing about the roof top terrace for another day.
The Belgrave Feast is held every second Saturday of the month from 11am. It’s free entry and family friendly. (Dogs are welcome too!) On feast days, the first floor and roof terrace are filled with amazing street food and the middle floor has children’s activities and art stalls.
We’ve been plenty of times before and sometimes visit for a quick lunch before doing some shopping or seeing a matinee, or we arrange to meet up with friends and spend the whole day there. This is always great fun but requires a careful strategy to ensure that we can try and eat from as many different vendors as possible during the day.
The Belgrave boasts the “North’s finest street food vendors” and yesterday featured Britto UK, Papa Ganoush, Dim Sum Sue, Soul Shack and Humpit, as well as regulars Noisette Bakehouse and permanent delights Patty Smith’s and Dough Boys Pizza.
After circling the room a few times to get an idea of what was on offer and trying to find a seat, we eventually managed to find a spare corner of a table and got drinks from the bar. (Be warned – Belgrave Feast is very popular so don’t expect to just turn up in a big group and find a table. We try and go there for 12pm normally and find we have better luck then. The vendors do run out of food as well quite often, so you might be disappointed if you wait until later in the day.)
I started with a slow cooked pork belly bao from Dim Sum Su which was so very tasty. I’d not had steamed buns before going to Belgrave a while ago and trying something from Fu-Schnikens. They were so good that James went out and bought a bamboo steamer to try it at home (something I strongly encouraged!) Dim Sum Su’s pork belly bao was tender, sweet and crunchy- a great combination.
James had a chicken shawarma from Papa Ganoush which he said was delicious.
We could have stopped there, but it wouldn’t be a proper feast if we didn’t overeat, so we also went to Fritto to share a panzerotti (fried pizza) with tomato, mozzarella, basil and pepperoni and have a cheesy arancini (stuffed rice ball) each.
It’s worth having a look on Twitter to see who will be at the Feast each month as some offer competitions. Last year I got a free Falafel from Filfil Falafel for retweeting one of their posts. (Food always tastes better when it’s free!)
I normally always try to make sure I have room for a brownie from Noisette Bakehouse – they do the best salt caramel brownies ever – but made a rookie mistake of getting too full up, and didn’t even get one to have later. Fool.
The only downside to the Belgrave Feast is if you come during winter when everything’s inside, you’re likely to come away smelling of chip fat oil. A small price to pay though for such a great event.
Even if you miss a Feast day, it’s still well worth going to Belgrave if you’re hungry. Patty Smith’s and Dough Boys Pizzas both reside on the ground floor. You can’t go wrong with any topping from Dough Boys, but my personal favourite is “Baa No More” – spiced ground lamb. You can get your first two slices half price until 7pm Sunday to Thursday, and 5pm on Friday and Saturday. They’re big slices as well – two is enough to keep you going.
And I know it’s a bold statement to make, but I’d go as far as to say a Patty Smith’s dirty burger is the best burger in Leeds. When the juice runs all the way down to your elbow, you know it’s a proper dirty burger. Their chips are also amazing – double cooked with the skin on – heaven. Again – look out for offers as they do a ‘buy one burger get a second for a £1’ and free chips when you order a burger on certain days and times.
The Belgrave Music Hall has been open for a couple of years now and is a favourite fixture in the city. The group behind it now has a new venture in Leeds – Headrow House – which contains the Ox Club, a restaurant that’s on the top of my “to try” list.
Tasty and varied street food, made by people who genuinely care about their product, served in a great venue – another reason why I love Leeds.