The north’s independent food scene has never been stronger, with vibrant, hungry cities
leading the way across the region. Home to a burgeoning community of hip restaurants, a world-class craft beer scene and an innovative new food festival, Leeds is staking its claim as the country’s indie food capital.
A recent national survey found that, despite widespread fears about the homogenisation of the high street, the last three years have seen an unprecedented boom in independent dining. Newcastle and Sheffield are both on the up, but Leeds comes out king of the crop with a massive 12.8% growth in independent operators, double that of established foodie hot spots like Bristol, and outpacing London too.
So what makes Leeds so special?
What keeps diners and drinkers coming back for more? There’s a relaxed attitude towards eating out, a trail of casual dining hotspots stretching right across the city. Right off the train, you can drop into award winning beer and charcuterie bar Friends of Ham for a plate of artisan chorizo and a bottle of imported IPA. Round the corner, you might try Indian street food pioneers Bundobust for another swift half and a pot of their veggie chaat, spicy small plates that wowed food critic Jay Rayner. As your night winds on, you might end up in hip hangout Belgrave Music Hall for a slice of killer neapolitan-style Dough Boys pizza or an infamous Dirty Burger from Patty Smith’s. Down the road lies North Bar, arguably the nation’s original craft beer joint, surrounded by more indie breweries than you could shake a hop at. All that, plus Michelin starred dining courtesy of The Man Behind the Curtain. It’s a foodie heaven.
Such rampant deliciousness needs celebrating, and over the past few years Leeds Indie Food have built a vibrant, innovative festival around the city’s thriving food and drink scene. The festival gives indies the chance to really show off, with a diverse programme of events that looks more like a gastronomic Edinburgh Fringe or SXSW festival than a tired old farmers market. Fancy watching the Jon Favreau film ‘Chef ’ whilst eating the food he cooks, as he cooks it?
Leeds Indie Food has you covered.
Like the sound of dining out around fire pits in a secret urban garden? You got it. How about a five course donut and beer matching supper? Learning to make artisan chocolate truffles? The North’s biggest street food party? A banquet of made entirely with waste food? Committed diners can even pick up a Festival Passport, grabbing ink stamps and netting themselves priority tickets and discounts everywhere they go.
Leeds Indie Food is very definitely not your normal food festival. Come hungry.