Dining al fresco is one of those ideas which is fantastic on a sun-drenched holiday, but often less successful in the rainy UK.
Not that the weather acts as much of a deterrent to many, who are often determined to sit outside when the clouds loom ominously.
And so it was that we found ourselves taking seats in front of Haley & Clifford in Roundhay on a day exactly like that.
Though the deli-cum-cafe is on busy Street Lane, it’s set back on a parade of shops and so is actually a pleasant place to sit.
We hadn’t exactly chosen to sit outside, but the small number of seats inside were absolutely packed.
The small shop is crammed not only with tables, but also a cheese counter, shelves with dry goods, fresh bread and at the far end is a counter filled with savoury dishes and topped with cakes.
Orders are taken there, beneath a huge blackboard menu which explains the numerous choices available.
There are sandwiches, paninis, flatbreads and hearty, interesting salads – which are in bowls below.
Also in there are goodies like homemade scotch eggs, sausage rolls and Moroccan beef parcels, while the menu takes in breakfast dishes as well as options like the Yorkshire ploughman’s featuring local ham and Wensleydale cheese.
After some deliberation, we chose and ordered our food and took our seats outside, hoping to dodge the showers which were now threatening.
Our drinks – a latte and a delicious strawberry and rhubarb fizzy concoction – arrived quickly and the food wasn’t far behind.
I’d chosen the flatbread with mozzarella, basil and pine nuts, asking for the advertised fresh tomato to be replaced by the sunblushed variety, which it was without question.
For some reason I’d expected the sandwich to be toasted (my mistake) but in fact this cold version was probably nicer as without being melded together, the ingredients could really sing.
And sing they did, the creamy cheese, vibrant basil and toasted pine nuts creating a delicious combination with the super-sweet tomatoes.
My companion had gone for a scotch egg, accompanied by a huge chunk of Wensleydale and green salad.
The scotch egg was exactly as it should be, meaty and well-seasoned, and again the quality of the ingredients – a point Haley & Clifford prides itself on – shone through.
We couldn’t leave without trying some of those cakes from the counter, the unusual chocolate and lime was rich and zesty, while the coconut and lime was a taste of sunshine.
A chewy brownie we also tasted was heavenly, while the lemon drizzle cake was moist and tangy. In total we spent £25.01.
At the end of lunch, we congratulated ourselves on avoiding the rain – just in time to see a huge black cloud overhead.
We managed to rush inside before the heavens opened, but luckily the weather didn’t put a dampener on an excellent eating experience.