Review: Sociable Folk, Wellington Place, Leeds

Sociable Folk. PIC: Tony Johnson

Sociable Folk. PIC: Tony Johnson

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There’s a new contender on the Leeds coffee shop scene.

And despite Sociable Folk being tucked away, it doesn’t seem to be short of clientele.

The cafe bar, which opened in July, is on the edge of the city centre between Wellington Street and Whitehall Road.

It’s location on the ground floor of the newly-constructed Shulman’s law firm building, part of the Wellington Place development, is a little off the beaten track.

Luckily though, it’s location is incredibly convenient for hundreds of office workers nearby. Another stroke of luck was the siting of the Tour de France media centre virtually next door, with hundreds of journalists from around the world descending soon after opening.

That started off trade with a bang, and when we visited a few months later, it looked as though that popularity had continued. On a sunny weekday, most of the tables on the plaza outside were occupied.

Ordering is done inside though, so we ventured into the rather minimalist cafe.

A wide counter runs down the right, with a menu above and food options within it.

There’s a fairly wide choice of sandwich options on the board, with the sandwiches pre-made below.

Choices were a little different to the norm, with tempting combinations and unusual breads.

Most featured several ingredients, which may mean asking for one to be specially made if you’re not keen on all of them, or going for one of the build-your-own salads.

After ordering, our choices were toasted and brought over to us within a couple of minutes.

Mine was mozzarella, marinated tomatoes and basil, toasted and served on granary bread.

It was simple, but deliciously light and fresh, with the flavour each of the ingredients being able to shine.

My dining partner went for the beef, mozzarella and pickle sandwich on focaccia, which also featured artichoke puree – although he struggled to detect that.

He said it was a combination he wouldn’t necessarily put together, but he liked the contrast between the sharp pickles and creamy cheese. The bread was delicious, but he would have preferred it warm rather than toasted.

After lunch, we couldn’t resist trying the cakes.

The cafe bar’s theory – according to their website – is that they are bitesized because “why have a slab when you can have a little more often?”.

We were happy to subscribe to that, with my companion describing his salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread as “sensational”.

I tried three of the smaller pick ‘n’ mix brownies, pistachio, malteser and raspberry and white chocolate, and all absolutely delicious.

Our bill – including two soft drinks – was a reasonable £12.25. If the already good sandwiches could reach the heights of the sweet treats on offer here, this could become the best lunchtime options in this part of town.

Rating: 3/5

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