IT was just a matter of weeks ago that we gave you the first look at new tapas restaurant Iberica.
But now a brand new venue is set to spice up the city’s dining scene.
City Buzz can exclusively reveal that Ricci’s Tapas and Cicchetti and adjoining cocktail bar 53 Degrees North will open in Leeds next month.
It will join the likes of nearby tapas neighbours La Rambla and Iberica after snapping up a site at Grade II-listed Goodbard House, on the corner of East Parade and Infirmary Street in the heart of the city’s financial district.
Speaking to City Buzz, restauranteur Michael Ricci, who owns three sites in Halifax, said: “It was the obvious next step for us and it felt like the right time to come to Leeds.
“Over the last nine months I have noticed more of a buzz in the city.
“It has such a vibrant social scene that is constantly evolving.
“You see other big names moving into the area and it gives everyone a bit of comfort knowing that it is on the up.
“This is where we need to be.”
He added: “The bars and eateries play a vital role in making Leeds the thriving city it has become – we want to be part of it.
“We are passionate about creating exceptional food and drink to create an unforgettable experience.
“We want to bring something fresh and new to the table which will surprise and excite the people of Leeds and we will do just that.”
The former Allied Irish Bank site will be split into two.
The 53 Degrees North cocktail bar, which takes its name from the line of latitude on which it was first founded in Halifax, will have a late lounge feel and will showcase artists and DJs who will be flown in from around the world.
It will have plush furnishings, with white leather and a marble bar.
The Ricci’s restaurant will be separate and there will also be a basement gin bar with a private dining room and boardroom.
The menu will include a twist on traditional tapas with dishes such as tempura of soft shell crab with harissa, tomato and ginger aioli and slow-roasted Iberico suckling pig with fresh herbs and lemon.
Michael and executive chef Mark Kemp have also come up with creations such as goats cheese churros with truffle honey and poached hake in beer with cockles, asparagus and nduja.
The restaurant will have a modern but rustic design, with reclaimed Yorkshire stone and reclaimed red bricks, as well as bespoke artwork from graffiti artist Ben Allen.
So far the Ricci empire has seen great success and even boasts restaurant critic Giles Coren as a fan of the venue in Halifax.
Yorkshire-born Michael added: “Giles can be brutal and very controversial but he came to visit us in Halifax and loved what we were about.
“So we are using a line from his review, which said ‘I can die happy’ on the banners outside and on social media.
“Hopefully Leeds will welcome us with open arms and enjoy what we are doing.
“The proof will be in the pudding!”
Michael, alongside partner and co-founder Olivia McGorlick, will open the venue to the public on July 11.
• Keep your eye on City Buzz for the launch details.