Review: Sheaf St Cafeteria, Leeds

Date: 8th September 2016. Picture James Hardisty.
Little Oliver: Sheaf Street Cafeteria, Sheaf Street, Leeds.
Date: 8th September 2016. Picture James Hardisty. Little Oliver: Sheaf Street Cafeteria, Sheaf Street, Leeds.
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It may be a reflection of Little Oliver’s increasingly middle-aged existence, but life now seems to involve ever more frequent visits to the Crown Point Shopping Park on the edge of the city centre.

There comes a point where the task of traipsing around the aisles of various chain stores becomes too much - in my case after five minutes - and a place to grab some respite is needed.

Date: 8th September 2016. Picture James Hardisty.
Little Oliver: Sheaf Street Cafeteria, Sheaf Street, Leeds.

Date: 8th September 2016. Picture James Hardisty. Little Oliver: Sheaf Street Cafeteria, Sheaf Street, Leeds.

Luckily, such a sanctuary exists, a five minute walk over the road back towards town and onto Sheaf Street.

Sheaf St Cafeteria opened last summer on the former John H. King warehouse site as part of the arrival of Duke Studios, an open collaborative space for creative types.

The food menu is made up of around a dozen breakfast options and slightly fewer for lunch. But with both available for the most of the day (lunch from midday until 6pm and breakfast from 8.30am to 4pm) there’s plenty of choice.

A large proportion is suitable for vegans, with a smattering of meat options, and the whole lot is described as being ‘ethically sourced, organic where possible, local and fresh’.

Crucially, there’s nothing here to burn a hole in your wallet. On my most recent visit, a delicately-flavoured lamb hash, made with pieces of potato and squash, beautifully oozing poached egg, steamed greens and a tangy, chutney-like sauce, weighs in at £7 and is pretty much the most expensive thing on the menu.

The majority of the food, courtesy of Leeds’ ever-impressive Grub & Grog Shop, is £4 or £5 per course and cooked up in a tiny kitchen area in the corner.

Visitors come in via two shuttered entrances, which are left open or closed depending on the weather, before eating either at a long wooden table or smaller seating areas around the joint. There are cool, lampshade-less lights dotted around, and a steady stream of fashionable looking young people coming in and out of the studios next door. As such, it’s more informal and unhurried than the coffee shops or cafes you’d find in the city centre.

The coffee is excellent, mellow and almost chocolate-y, served in metal cups though not in huge quantities. The food, a high quality bacon sandwich and spiced squash soup with sourdough bread, also goes down well, after a slight delay in service while a bigger order is carried out. The soup divides opinion, with one of my dining companions detecting too much aniseed taste due to what we assume is fennel, but it tasted good to me.

All in all, coffee and main courses for three, as well as an unctious, glistening brownie to take home, comes to a shade under £25. Good value, and well worth visiting even for those forced into a shoppping trip across the road.

FACTFILE

Sheaf St Cafeteria

3 Sheaf Street, Leeds LS10 1HD

0113 245 9487

sheafstcafeteria.com

Rating: 4/5

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